Many people were shocked by the outcome of Thursday’s Sugar Bowl game, when Ohio St. upset heavily favored Alabama 42-35. I was too, but I was more shocked by the opening kickoff.
If you missed the game: OSU kicked off to Alabama. The Alabama kick return man, standing in the endzone, dropped the ball, and let it roll around on the ground. The ball was live. There was no whistle. The Alabama returner then started walking away. The Ohio St. players, meanwhile, jogged slowly down in the general direction of the ball, but seemed to be in no particular hurry.
Fortunately for Alabama, the other kick return man realized it was a live ball, and downed it just as the OSU players were moseying towards it. So, the Tide narrowly avoided giving up an embarrassing touchdown on the first play–thanks only to the fact Ohio State’s players also didn’t know the rules.
This was supposedly a clash of the two top coaches in college football, and yet apparently their players don’t even know simple rules? Meyer may be great at recruiting top-tier speedsters and an endless army of superstar quarterbacks, but he might want to make sure they actually know how to play football. He himself apparently has some work to do learning clock management. Meanwhile, as good as the Alabama punter was on Thursday, Saban’s kicking squad has been a generalized mess for years now; and been solely responsible for two major losses in the last four years.
When you have four guys around the ball in the endzone, and only one of them knows what to do with it, I say you have a coaching problem.