The Zookies  

Posted by Frazier

This Weeks Best In Shaky Coaching

Welcome to The Zookies. This is an opportunity to acknowledge terrible coaching decisions from the past week. It is, of course, named after the immortal Ron Zook who was the master of questionable decisions, and managed to run a proud program completely into the ground. Nice work. Anyways, here are the winners from the past week:

Bronze Medal:

Gary Pinkel, Missouri. His decision to go for a fake field goal in the 4th quarter was pretty boneheaded, and cost his team a chance to tie at the end. The classic example of out-smarting yourself. Take the three, play some defense, get the ball back with plenty of time to drive for a touchdown for the win, or a figgie and send it to overtime. It's even worse that the Aggie players say they knew it was a fake from the formation. Gotta disguise those better, but nice use of the film sessions by A&M.
Hey, Gary, maybe you shouldn't try to think? Ok, buddy?

Silver Medal:

Dirk Koetter, Arizona St. Normally he would win this prize in a blowout. His decision to punt down by seven with 1:19 left on the clock is one of the stupidest things I have ever seen. I literally did a double-take when I saw it. It's like he was totally unaware that the timing rules had changed. Either that, or he thought causing a fumble on a kneeldown had a better chance of success than converting a 4th and 22. Now, that's a pretty tall task, but he literally gave up on his team. So, either he's an idiot, or a quitter. I guess it's better to be an idiot. I can't even really describe how stupid this was. I'll let USC offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin have the final word on this one, "I was shocked. I didn't understand that. As long as we don't turn the ball over, the game was over. I was obviously very excited when he did it. I wasn't planning on it happening but I thought it was great." Um, when the other team is loving your decision making in the final moments of a close game, yeah, you're doing something wrong.

Gold Medal:

Larry Coker, Miami. Normally the NCAA calls this sort of thing, "lack of institutional control". In this case Coker is the institution. His team got into a brawl after getting destroyed by LSU at last year's Peach Bowl, and two of his players were knocked unconscious. Then his team has played terribly the entire year. Then, they almost incite a riot by stomping Louisville's logo at mid-field. However, Petrino's troops decided that instead of fighting they would embarrass the Hurricanes in front of the nation. Finally, the 'Canes have sunk so low that they get into a huge brawl with winless, and totally inept, FIU. I'm not sure what the worst part of the whole thing was. It was pretty disturbing that Coker had been concerned about this sort of thing happening and still was unable to prevent it. I think the low point was what happened after the brawl. While Larry Coker stood passively by his team rallied themselves together and started jumping around, waving their helmets, pounding their chests, and generally acting proud of their thuggery. On the other sideline FIU coach Don Strock was taking his team to task, ripping into all of them, and forcing them to sit down and be ashamed of their behavior. The incident was ugly, but Strock took control of his team while Coker let the situation get completely out of hand. Coker should be fired immediately. He can't control his players, and he simply can't coach to begin with. Imagine what Willie Williams would have done had he not been kicked off this squad? We're probably talking at least a manslaughter charge.
I tried to find the picture with the most cowardly stomping in it.
If a coach's job is to captain the ship, than Miami is officially one
of the All-Time Titanic teams this year.


Even if it be repetitive, I think it is worth noting the stark contrast between the manners in which Coker and FIU head coach Don Strock handled the brawl. Strock, perhaps known more as the quarterback who came off the bench to lead the Dolphins to the HUGE second half comeback in their famous playoff game against the Chargers (the Kellen Winslow game), really showed a lot of character and class in handling the situation. Strock's team is winless and he is probably going to lose his job at the end of the season, yet he still came out an immediately stated that the players involved would be punished severely. On the other hand, Coker, who is also likely to lose his job, came out and instead of holding his players accountable could only talk about how this incident would not be a "black eye" for the program. If my son wanted to play football in the state of Florida, after this incident I can tell you one thing...even if Miami wanted him he'd be playing for Strock and FIU.

I also have to mention the fact that FIU dismissed two players, and said that the others suspended would be reinstated later, not after a set number of games. THAT is real punishment my friends. The best part is that the two dismissed players will keep their scholarships. They might not be able to play football at FIU, but the University will encourage the young men to continue their education and graduate. Clearly that school has its' priorities in the right place.

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