The kickoff return safety was a good play call

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    • #5510

      Ute Fan

      It’s easy to look at a trick play that failed and criticize it as a stupid decision, but let’s stop a minute and think logically about it. Is there anything in life where you can really predict the outcome? You can look at film and you can compile statistics based on historical performance, but no one can predict whether or not an individual play is going to work. Does that mean you should never attempt a trick play?

      What would have happened if that play had worked? If Covey makes that pass, Bubba probably takes it to the house. Think how demoralizing that would have been to ASU. If that play works, the Utes probably go on to win in an Oregon-style rout.

      It stinks that the play failed, but I don’t care. I love that our coaching staff has the cajones to throw in the occasional trick play. It beats the heck out of conservative, predictable play calling. I give Coach Kyle my permission to keep dialing up the wacky special teams plays.

      • This topic was modified 3 years, 10 months ago by  YodaUte.
    • #5517


      Permission accepted.

    • #5527


      At that point in the game I would have rather just let Covey try to run it out and take my chances with his skills as a runner.

    • #5540

      Ute Fan

      i’m ok with it but in bad weather, it’s probably best to save that for another day.

    • #5573

      Matthew Thomas Castleton
      Ute Fan

      If Covey would have thrown the ball backwards like he should have, the play would have worked great actually because the entire left side of the field was wide open.

      • #5578

        Tacoma Ute
        Ute Fan

        Yep, he should have ran a couple steps forward so he was in front which would have drawn everyone to his side even more so, then thrown it backwards across the field.

    • #5604

      Ute Fan

      I’ve rewatched that play a few times and it appears the ball slips out of Covey’s gloved hand and goes forward instead of backward. I’m not sure they practiced that play with a glove on… the pass looked really weird coming out of his hand and I think if he didn’t have a glove on there’s a good chance it goes backwards, or he just kind of let his adrenalin take over.

      But I agree even though the pass failed, I think this will cause teams to rethink how they cover Covey on kickoffs which may open up some running lanes.

    • #5607

      Ute Fan

      I liked the idea, but the execution was somewhat lacking, Poole( I think he was the other returner) was never in position behind Covey. Covey should have seen that and just taken a knee.

    • #5617


      Look at this play from a statistical point of view.

      Probability and Expected Value of Success:
      This season Utah has had 7 kick off returns, one was taken to the house for a TD. That’s one in 7 chances for the possibility of 7 points, or an expected value of 1 point.

      Probability and Expected Value of Failure:
      If the play fails, you know there’s 100% probability of a safety which yields an expected value of 2 points against Utah. Then there’s the repeat possession for the opponent with relatively good field position. Up to that point, ASU had 9 possessions (not including KO return for TD) and had scored one FG on offense. So there was a 1 in 9 chance that they would score 3 points on the next possession for an expected value of 0.333 points against Utah. ASU had not scored a TD and did not score a TD on offense the entire night, so there was no expected value for points from a TD, solely based on stats in this game up to that point in time. Total expected value from a fail on this play was 2.33 points against Utah, or -2.33 points.

      Conclusion: Expected value from success on this play was 1 point. Expected value from a failure on this play was -2.33 point. The expected value of the two outcomes did not justify the play. Actual result was a fail and a 5 point swing against Utah. That is how they should use analytics to look at risk/reward trade offs in play calling. It was a bad call.

      • #5622

        Ute Fan

        “Never tell me the odds!”

        Stats was never my strong point, I only bring this up for discussion, but it seems like the 100% probability for a safety isn’t quite right. Isn’t there still some probability for a touchback if the play fails. Also there was some probability for a ASU touchdown based on recovering a backwards pass (considering all alternatives).

        Also, you assume that the only way it is a success is if we score a touchdown on that play, I would argue that if we didn’t score a touchdown on that play but moved into better field position to increase our chances at a touch down or even a field goal on a subsequent play that return was a success.

        I liked the play, I thought it was aggressive and creative. Two things this team has lacked in recent years.

      • #5655

        Ute Fan

        I’m not buying your logic. You say we have a 1 in 7 chance of touchdown on a kickoff return based on the one TD scored to date. Those were straight up returns with no gadgetry. You have to ask what is your success rate on a trick play. I believe it’s much higher. You have to take the surprise factor into account.

        Look at onside kicks, for example. When done in desperation at the end of a game the success rate is very low. But when done completely out of the blue it works a lot. Think the Wyoming, coach flipping off the crowd game and the Utah State 2013 game.

        Success on the endzone lateral play would be defined as any return beyond the 25 yard line. I would put odds of success at better than 50%. Risk of giving up a touchdown is there, but I really don’t think the odds of failure are as high as you suggest. No way is it 100% probability of a safety on a failed play. Not if he throws it backward as the play was designed.

        • This reply was modified 3 years, 10 months ago by  YodaUte.
    • #5625


      Take the forward pass off the table as that leads to 100% probability of a Safety. Assume they attempt a backwards pass. There are just a couple outcomes: 1) Success and results in a TD, 2) Success and results in a return with unknown field position, 3) Success and results in runner taking a knee for a touchback, 4) Fail resulting in a fumble, either recovered by return team or going out of bounds > Safety and 2 points, 5) Fail resulting in fumble recovered by kicking team > touchdown and 7 points. It’s hard to pinpoint the exactly probabilities for each possible outcome, but given there’s 100 yards to go for a TD and 70 for a FG, the odds and expected values of the play working are far less than the expected values from a fail. Again the risk/reward ratio was way off on this play choice.

      • #5627


        You could say the same thing for any play other than handing the ball off and running up the middle. Statistically, there’s no reason why a team should ever do anything else other than run the ball straight up the middle 4 times in a row if necessary. How many teams average less than 2.5 yards per carry? Probably none.

    • #5630


      Here let me put it more simply. You run a risky play for which the best successful outcome is a TD and the worst outcome in a failure is two scores against you. Risk/Reward not balanced.

      • #5638


        That’s way better than a routine 5 yard out to the WR where the reward is 5-10 yards and the risk is a pick 6 for -7 points. You’re not being consistent in your logic.

        The trick play was worth a try, throwing it forwards instead of backwards was not expected, nor should it have been.

        • #5649


          What are the odds of the Pick 6 on the pass wide to the Receiver? How many Pick 6 INTs has TW thrown this season? Answer is Zero. How many Pick 6 INTs has Utah executed on defense this season? The answer is Utah has 1 pick 6 out of 13 total INTs. How many wide out passes have been thrown by Utah? A lot. How many by the opposition? A lot. So the probability of a Pick 6 INT on a pass wide is very, very low.

          The probability of a Safety being called on a forward pass in the End Zone is 100%. The probability of the opposition getting the ball after a safety on a free kick is near 100%. Chance of a TD off a successful lateral in the endzone unknown, but presumably, very, very low and purely speculative. Utah has only had one TD out of 7 KO returns this year.

          Yeah, I guess my logic is not consistent. Your logic is simply “it was worth a try.” I’m sure that logic has worked well for you.

    • #5647

      Ute Fan

      If Covey puts that pass on point there’s a very good chance its a touchdown. ASU had their entire kick team on the other half of the field, behind a wall of our blockers.

      If we execute it better, it probably gets the attention the fake punt return got against Oregon. Looks great when it works, awful when it doesnt.

      • This reply was modified 3 years, 10 months ago by  rbmw263.
    • #5660


      Saw the replay of the play on The Drive. Receiver wandered forward as Covey was moving forward presumably to sell the play. There was nothing there as evidenced by how fast the defense was on the receiver as he was trying to pick up the dropped ball. Bad idea plus bad execution. Covey needs to know when to suck it down and not try to make something out of nothing.

      • #5661


        That’s enough. This play has been discussed enough. Drop it.

    • #5663


      Funny, when then Moose can no longer support his idiotic stance with sound logic, ha asks that the discussion be dropped.

    • #5665


      Easy now.

    • #5682

      Ute Fan

      Poor weather. Huge defensive stop that kept momentum status quo. Those two alone would tell me it’s the wrong time to make the call. But okay, call is made, let’s take a chance. But when the kick went that deep into the endzone, Covey would already have had to run 5-10 yards to get in front of Bubba, even if he didn’t move. Covey didn’t audible out (or whatever options might exist) and he should have just taken the knee. But a true freshman with all the emotion running, I can’t fault him for making the bad decision to continue to follow coach’s order. Not sure what Bubba could have done to limit the risks – if he took a few steps back so he’s behind Covey again or just stood still, it may have tipped off the special teams and result in a safety or s**tty field position.

      I’m just glad in the end it didn’t matter and we still won. But can you imagine the heartache if we lost that game by less than 5 pts, or if their ensuing FG was the final score of the game!


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    Utah Utes Message Board Forums Utah Utes Sports Football The kickoff return safety was a good play call

    This topic contains 21 replies, has 13 voices, and was last updated by  UTAuley 3 years, 10 months ago.