Fleck on his decision to punt late in game

BleedGopher

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This is from the press conference transcript:

“Had all three timeouts left. If we were gonna get a stop, I needed to stop right there. If you don’t get it there, the game is definitely over, because then they’re gonna score anyway. What you hope for is a turnover, a fumble, three-and-out, use the timeouts. Got about eight minutes left, two scores. Make sense. If you don’t, they go score. It doesn’t matter your three timeouts anymore. So that was my thought process on that. There’s still enough time, plus three timeouts. You can get three possessions in that. So, to me, it wasn’t over. We needed a defensive stop; we obviously didn’t get that.”

Go Gophers!!
 
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He can say whatever he wants about the decision and why he made it.

The real reason he made the choice is he didn’t think his offense would get it. And if the offense wasn’t going to get it, punting was the right choice to improve the odds to win the game.

I wish he thought the offense was capable of getting it so that he went for it.
 

This is from the press conference transcript:

“Had all three timeouts left. If we were gonna get a stop, I needed to stop right there. If you don’t get it there, the game is definitely over, because then they’re gonna score anyway. What you hope for is a turnover, a fumble, three-and-out, use the timeouts. Got about eight minutes left, two scores. Make sense. If you don’t, they go score. It doesn’t matter your three timeouts anymore. So that was my thought process on that. There’s still enough time, plus three timeouts. You can get three possessions in that. So, to me, it wasn’t over. We needed a defensive stop; we obviously didn’t get that.”

Go Gophers!!
And I hope some day this guy decides to read a book on game theory. Your 3 things he listed all can occur from where you were on the field as well. It wasn’t your own 10
 

And I hope some day this guy decides to read a book on game theory. Your 3 things he listed all can occur from where you were on the field as well. It wasn’t your own 10
I will preface this by saying that I think they should have gone for it. I do think Fleck needs to start being a little more aggressive in certain situations. This was one that I think called for that.

But, I also don't find it a ridiculous decision to punt. 2nd half up to that point, the D made NC punt, held to a FG, and punt. If you don't make the 1st down, NC theoretically has to make half as many plays to put points on the board as going the full length.

I disagreed with it at that point in the game, but I think it is defensible.
 

I will preface this by saying that I think they should have gone for it. I do think Fleck needs to start being a little more aggressive in certain situations. This was one that I think called for that.

But, I also don't find it a ridiculous decision to punt. 2nd half up to that point, the D made NC punt, held to a FG, and punt. If you don't make the 1st down, NC theoretically has to make half as many plays to put points on the board as going the full length.

I disagreed with it at that point in the game, but I think it is defensible.
Problem is situational. 8 min with new clock rules. You have one play to get 3 yards versus you have to hold them quickly (at best min 230 off the clock) which leaves you about 5 min left needing 2 scores which about guarantees you need the onside even if you can go down the field quickly. You go for it and get it and go down to get one of those scores, you will have about 4-5 min with all your timeouts which gives you a couple sets of downs to make a stop.
You don’t get it, you still can get the stop and if you don’t, you are In the exact same situation you are in either way. When the clock is your enemy, maximize your possessions on offense when you’re down 2 scores. This isn’t the nfl with QBs who can throw sideline to sideline and the clock doesn’t stop now until 2 min left.

It’s just a bad decision in that situation, particularly when you’re giving it to a 1st round qb who aside from the turnovers has murdered you all day (they were over 66% on 3rd down against what is normally one of our defensive strengths).
 


I don’t think the punt decision was egregious, either. I didn’t sense we were going to score a 8+3 to tie with our offense, and probably had as good a shot trying to score on D/ST, or related TO. I’m certain they also consult win % probability given the time left/score. You go for it and don’t make it - it’s almost 0%. Maybe 10% by electing to punt? Just guessing on the numbers. A lot of focus on the punt, when I think the angst should be on the aggregation of poor execution and/or decisions in the 1st 50 minutes that put us down 11.
 

This is from the press conference transcript:

“Had all three timeouts left. If we were gonna get a stop, I needed to stop right there. If you don’t get it there, the game is definitely over, because then they’re gonna score anyway. What you hope for is a turnover, a fumble, three-and-out, use the timeouts. Got about eight minutes left, two scores. Make sense. If you don’t, they go score. It doesn’t matter your three timeouts anymore. So that was my thought process on that. There’s still enough time, plus three timeouts. You can get three possessions in that. So, to me, it wasn’t over. We needed a defensive stop; we obviously didn’t get that.”

Go Gophers!!
Agree with his decision.
 

Problem is situational. 8 min with new clock rules. You have one play to get 3 yards versus you have to hold them quickly (at best min 230 off the clock) which leaves you about 5 min left needing 2 scores which about guarantees you need the onside even if you can go down the field quickly. You go for it and get it and go down to get one of those scores, you will have about 4-5 min with all your timeouts which gives you a couple sets of downs to make a stop.
You don’t get it, you still can get the stop and if you don’t, you are In the exact same situation you are in either way. When the clock is your enemy, maximize your possessions on offense when you’re down 2 scores. This isn’t the nfl with QBs who can throw sideline to sideline and the clock doesn’t stop now until 2 min left.

It’s just a bad decision in that situation, particularly when you’re giving it to a 1st round qb who aside from the turnovers has murdered you all day (they were over 66% on 3rd down against what is normally one of our defensive strengths).
100% this.
At best, we hold them to a three and out, they punt the ball back to midfield and we have the ball in the same spot but minus 2 and a half minutes.
 

You can agree with the decision if you think we can stop them. What reason was there to believe that would happen?
 



There are some interesting dissertations on this.

Hindsight is 20/20, fellas.

In the fire of the moment, I think what Fleck was thinking is reasonable, even if not perfectly optimal.
 

We had literally just stopped them the drive before. They punted after 4 plays on offense.

AuXfAww.png
 

You basically have to stop them twice. Odds were super slim.
 

Then even if we go on to score a TD+2 on that drive, we wouldn't have stopped them the next drive anyway, with that thinking.

Not worth arguing about.


We had wayy too many mistakes yesterday to go on the road to a top 25 team and win the game. It was there to be won, wayyy too many mistakes and missed opportunities.
 



100% this.
At best, we hold them to a three and out, they punt the ball back to midfield and we have the ball in the same spot but minus 2 and a half minutes.
Which is much better than going for it, not getting it and getting the ball -40 yards but minus two and a half minutes as a best case scenario

If the coach doesn’t think they’re going to get the first down it’s a pretty easy call to punt there.
 

different point of view - IF the OC thinks he has a play that has a strong probability of gaining the necessary yardage, then you consider going for it. If the OC says "we've got this - we're going to run X-Waggle-Blah-Blah and it's going to work," then maybe Fleck changes his mind.

but either the OC didn't have a play he believed in that strongly, or Fleck didn't believe the offense could make it work. Last year with Mo, I bet they go for it, because Fleck trusted Mo to get it done.
 

He can say whatever he wants about the decision and why he made it.

The real reason he made the choice is he didn’t think his offense would get it. And if the offense wasn’t going to get it, punting was the right choice to improve the odds to win the game.

I wish he thought the offense was capable of getting it so that he went for it.
He thought the defense had a better chance of getting the stop than the offense making the first down. His thinking was correct and he made the right call at that particular moment.
 

different point of view - IF the OC thinks he has a play that has a strong probability of gaining the necessary yardage, then you consider going for it. If the OC says "we've got this - we're going to run X-Waggle-Blah-Blah and it's going to work," then maybe Fleck changes his mind.

but either the OC didn't have a play he believed in that strongly, or Fleck didn't believe the offense could make it work. Last year with Mo, I bet they go for it, because Fleck trusted Mo to get it done.
i mean we also last year wouldn't have decided to go outside our MO and run a play action pass that we'd run twice already that looked painfully scripted and would've run the ball where our lead TB was getting over 6 yards a carry.
 

You can agree with the decision if you think we can stop them. What reason was there to believe that would happen?
Not much reason, just more reason than thinking that offense on that day would make three yards.
 

Not much reason, just more reason than thinking that offense on that day would make three yards.
instead we gave it to the team who averaged 10 yards a passing play yesterday needing the ball back twice. if you weren't getting 3 yards you weren't going to win punting or no. we forced zero 3 and outs yesterday. If we're playing Iowa or Illinois, yeah punt that ball.
 


instead we gave it to the team who averaged 10 yards a passing play yesterday needing the ball back twice. if you weren't getting 3 yards you weren't going to win punting or no. we forced zero 3 and outs yesterday. If we're playing Iowa or Illinois, yeah punt that ball.
This!

We don't think we can get the 3 yards, but we think we can stop them twice and drive the length of the field twice. Ah, ok then!
 

He can say whatever he wants but my exact words when the punt team came out was there is no way we are going to score twice… and stop them twice in 8 minutes.

We have proved to have our difficulties on offense and have also proved that we are not a quick strike, fast scoring unit.

I love PJ and there are not many coaches in the country I would rather have but his style of in game coaching has lost us a few notable games - Bowling Green and Purdue recently. I don’t know if we could have beat UNC but we didn’t try to beat them either. That’s what is frustrating.
 

There are some interesting dissertations on this.

Hindsight is 20/20, fellas.

In the fire of the moment, I think what Fleck was thinking is reasonable, even if not perfectly optimal.
Wayment.

You think it was reasonable that we:
-punt
-hold them to a three and out and a punt
-score a quick touchdown
-kickoff and hold them to another three and out and a punt
-get another quick touchdown

All with the clock continuing to run on first downs.

Mmmm-Kay.
 

This is from the press conference transcript:

“Had all three timeouts left. If we were gonna get a stop, I needed to stop right there. If you don’t get it there, the game is definitely over, because then they’re gonna score anyway. What you hope for is a turnover, a fumble, three-and-out, use the timeouts. Got about eight minutes left, two scores. Make sense. If you don’t, they go score. It doesn’t matter your three timeouts anymore. So that was my thought process on that. There’s still enough time, plus three timeouts. You can get three possessions in that. So, to me, it wasn’t over. We needed a defensive stop; we obviously didn’t get that.”

Go Gophers!!
This just all seems like nonsense to me. I am pretty sure if one of the analytical sites looked at this situation it would be a clear "go for it". Fleck: "You hope for a turnover, three, and out , use the timeouts"
1. You kind of need two three and outs at this point if you don't get a turnover
2. What is more likely converting a single 3 yard play or getting consecutive 3 outs (or a 3 and out plus turnover) sandwiched between a must score from your offense?
3. Fleck teams have been incredibly inept running any sort of hurry up offense for his entire tenure. How many times have you seen Fleck teams fail to even record a single first down when given the ball say sub 2 minutes and needing a TD to win or tie? How many times have they even made it to midfield?

It's not like it's the biggest issue coming out of the game, but it is just concerning that Fleck seems to struggle with decision making on 4th down consistently. Going for the 4th and shorts inside his own 30 against Bowling Green and Purdue in the first half, attempting 50 plus yard FG's with unproven/backup kickers at Iowa twice. Not going for 4th downs in other siutations like yesterday or at home against Wisconsin in 2019 (I am sure others just off the top of my head). It just seems like it's a random wheel of decision making instead of a more data or logic driven approach...and in the past it's frequently lead to wasting timeouts to come to said random decision too.
 

This just all seems like nonsense to me. I am pretty sure if one of the analytical sites looked at this situation it would be a clear "go for it". Fleck: "You hope for a turnover, three, and out , use the timeouts"
1. You kind of need two three and outs at this point if you don't get a turnover
2. What is more likely converting a single 3 yard play or getting consecutive 3 outs (or a 3 and out plus turnover) sandwiched between a must score from your offense?
3. Fleck teams have been incredibly inept running any sort of hurry up offense for his entire tenure. How many times have you seen Fleck teams fail to even record a single first down when given the ball say sub 2 minutes and needing a TD to win or tie? How many times have they even made it to midfield?

It's not like it's the biggest issue coming out of the game, but it is just concerning that Fleck seems to struggle with decision making on 4th down consistently. Going for the 4th and shorts inside his own 30 against Bowling Green and Purdue in the first half, attempting 50 plus yard FG's with unproven/backup kickers at Iowa twice. Not going for 4th downs in other siutations like yesterday or at home against Wisconsin in 2019 (I am sure others just off the top of my head). It just seems like it's a random wheel of decision making instead of a more data or logic driven approach...and in the past it's frequently lead to wasting timeouts to come to said random decision too.
Data driven approach says to punt there if you can’t get the first down
 

different point of view - IF the OC thinks he has a play that has a strong probability of gaining the necessary yardage, then you consider going for it. If the OC says "we've got this - we're going to run X-Waggle-Blah-Blah and it's going to work," then maybe Fleck changes his mind.

but either the OC didn't have a play he believed in that strongly, or Fleck didn't believe the offense could make it work. Last year with Mo, I bet they go for it, because Fleck trusted Mo to get it done.
You watch that offense… they were not making plays that day, so matter what you called.


Heck they haven’t been making plays for most of 3 games.


Offense needs some player leadership.
 


PJ knew MN was going to lose and he thought punting would keep the losing margin respectable.
It turned out not to work.
Image is everything for PJ.
 

PJ knew MN was going to lose and he thought punting would keep the losing margin respectable.
It turned out not to work.
Image is everything for PJ.
In the grand scheme of things, Fleck knows that his biggest goals this year are to beat Iowa (something he's had no success at) & beat Wisconsin (something he's been successful with to the point where us Gopher fans expect it & it's not even that big a deal anymore).
 

@Replacement Gopher that's what Fleck said. I don't think I know better than the coach.

The drives in the 2nd half by UNC, we had mostly done pretty well against them on D up to that point.
 




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