Brady Hoke: I would not have punted at end of Michigan game
Brady Hoke did not have the most successful stint as head coach of the Michigan Wolverines and was run out of town in favor of Jim Harbaugh. Though Harbaugh is clearly a superior coach to Hoke, that’s not stopping the former Wolverines leader from playing “armchair quarterback” regarding the end of Michigan’s loss to Michigan State.
Simply put: Hoke did not like the decision to punt nor the formation.
“When you play armchair quarterback, the only thing I would say is you’ve got to play to the strength of your football team, and the strength of Michigan’s football team all year long has been their defense,” Hoke said on his SiriusXM College Sports radio show.
“There’s too many mechanical parts to (a punt). I think the one gunner to the field should have been in. If you are going to punt it, there is a way to protect a little better. But I as a coach, you gotta play to your strengths. And your strength is your defense. And if it’s a Hail Mary — because that’s all it would have been — so you open your playbook.”
Hoke then argued they should have run an offensive play with a handoff or play-action pass.
Hoke did acknowledge that it’s much easier to criticize from the sidelines than when you’re the man in charge making decisions, but he still offered his opinion of the botched play anyway.
I’m not sure how Hoke can criticize running a punt for all the “mechanical parts” to it but say calling an offensive play is a good idea. Can’t things go wrong there like a fumble or interception? You bet.
Like Hoke, I also did not like the play call because so many things can go wrong on a punt. You can have it blocked, fumbled, or it can be returned for a score. The odds of one of those things happening are higher than the odds of a Hail Mary being completed. I would have taken a snap from under center to minimize chances of a bad exchange and then had my QB take a knee at the first sign of a threat. The goal would have been to run as much clock as possible without losing control of the football, leaving the Spartans either no time left or just time for one play.
No doubt Harbaugh learned his lesson from this one: he’s not going to have as much trust in his team to safely get a punt off in dire situations like that in the future.