Friday, November 15, 2013

Grantland Article, Coach Who Never Punts and Almost Always On-Side Kicks, Applicable to the CFL

This Grantland article about high school coach Kevin Kelley who never punts and almost always does an on-side kick and how it should be applied at other levels of the game makes me wonder about its applicability to the CFL.

The on-side kick thing is probably the least likely in the CFL. I don't know the percentages of recovering an on-side kick in the CFL but I can't think they are that high. However, that said, I think the percentage would be higher if the kicker could consistently deliver an on-side kick in the right location with enough hang time. Then its just a numbers game charging the delivery area and potentially 11 versus 12, which isn't bad odds.

The third down situation is more interesting. CFL teams often go on a yard or less on third, even in their own end, especially if it isn't a full yard. The defence having to give up a yard on the ball makes this a no brainer. This quote from the article made me wonder:

"Cal professor David Romer concluded that teams should not punt when facing fourth-and-4 or less"

Some more teams do seem to go on third and two now then in the past, especially just past midfield. The longer CFL field may make a difference, it may not. How good your offense is should also make a difference. If you're the best offense in the CFL you probably should be going for it more often on third and short (especially if your defense is considerably worse), if your team's offense is the worst in the CFL, maybe not.

Certainly I think a case could be made for going on third and two almost always. Even in your own end, if you decide instead to kick, the other team is likely going to end up with great field position.

Maybe for Ottawa's team next year, with low expectations this is something they could experiment with. 

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