The last week has brought us some egregious fake punt and kick attempts, wherein coaches have asked specialists to run long distances for first downs or touchdowns on plays that never had a chance. Army, BYU, and now Michigan State have all been guilty.
But we’ve finally found The Good Fake – with a wrinkle, maybe – courtesy of SMU punter and native Australian Jamie Sackville:
SMU was facing a fourth-and-9 against Houston, with Sackville standing 14 yards behind the line of scrimmage in a punting formation. He got the snap, and he started stepping to his left for an apparent rollout, rugby-style punt.
As Sackville got moving, Houston’s coverage team didn’t move toward him. The Cougars’ perimeter blockers let SMU’s gunners drag them all the way up the field, and Sackville found himself with green ahead. He needed to get 23 yards for the first down, counting the 14 behind the line of scrimmage.
And he did it, because Houston never came toward him. This is a good fake, but it wasn’t necessarily designed as a fake. Sackville might have had the option to read Houston’s coverage unit and either keep the ball or boot it (that’s what one SMU player says happened).
Either way, it worked.
We’ll never stop lampooning coaches who ask their specialists to run too far on fakes. But this was a measured, effective way to deliver a blow.