Audio from the Monday press conference, Rich Rodriguez discussing the fake punt from Saturday:
Hate to beat this to death, but hearing Rodriguez go through this Monday didn’t make me feel any better. Rodriguez confirmed he called the roll punt and that it was an option, and there is a call where they simply roll out and punt (with no option to try to run for the first down):
Normally when we roll punt it’s just a true roll punt, it’s not a read like it was in the game.
Just to be clear, this isn’t a revelation to me—it’s just that I’ve heard some folks speculate that the coaches never called for an option. Not true.
You’ll rarely see me argue play calling on these pages but I’m obviously struggling with this one. I understand the reasons to try to the roll out punt (even a little better now after hearing RR talk about it) but I don’t understand including the option in this case. Rodriguez’s system is heavily based on reads but to do this for the first time this season, in the shadows of the goalpost, in the third quarter of a tight game, on your first game on the road, in East Lansing…I don’t get it. But whatever, it’s done and we move on.
But then I heard Rodriguez’s comments on Monday. People hear different things different ways, but to me listening to his words Rodriguez leaned too heavily on putting this on Mesko. He tries to apply the blame gingerly but he applied it nonetheless. I’d have preferred he’d of focused on the first and last thing he said, is that the coaches need to work on teaching “the parameters” of the punt option when explaining what happened, or better yet, to say something like “I made the call, it stops with me…” rather to put that on Mesko. I’m not saying that players shouldn’t be held accountable, but what does Rodriguez gain by talking about how he screwed up on Monday? It seems like he was more concerned about defending his own role in the decision.