Last week against Michigan State, Kirk Ferentz and the Iowa Hawkeyes had a bit of a special teams blunder. In the beginning of the fourth quarter, and up just 20-14, Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio decided to see if the Hawkeyes’ punt return team was paying attention. Backed up on their own 37 and facing a 4th-and-7, the Spartans went with this play call:
As you can see, they would end up converting the fake, and would go on to win the game in the end, 26-14.
For Ferentz, that play had to bother him quite a bit as it was a pivotal point in such a close, crucial conference game. It’s plays like that that can turn around someone’s fortunes automatically.
So, how can you prevent something from happening like that again? Well, according to Ferentz in his weekly press conference yesterday, it’s as simple as never returning a punt again:
“If you pressed me today, I’d say we may never return a punt again, just because when you do that, you have to turn and go with those guys to shadow them,” he said. “When you do that, you open the door (to a fake). Michigan State did a pretty good job of taking advantage of it, to their credit.
“What helped us a couple of weeks ago we paid for on Saturday and cost us a field goal and a possession. So, yeah, I may be leaning towards where you never see us try to return one again. We may just try to catch it and keep it off the ground.”
Seems simple enough, right? Oh, and for those of you that don’t know coach Ferentz, he really doesn’t have a Spurrier-type personality, so he’s not joking. GO BIG TEN!