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The third-down pass to Haskins: ‘Looks great if it works’

uva footballBrennan Armstrong was checking in and out of plays at the line of scrimmage all night. He didn’t check out of the third-and-8 call with the game on the line.

“It’s a play that it looks great if it works,” Armstrong said of the call from offensive coordinator Robert Anae, that had him rolling right and throwing a screen back to the left to offensive lineman Bobby Haskins.

I wrote in my game story that I saw that play work once, in the 2019 Orange Bowl. Now that I’ve had time to go back and look at the play-by-play from that game, yes, the play did work, sorta, kinda, but UVA was penalized on the play, so, not.

Anyway, it’s in the playbook, and coach Bronco Mendenhall would say afterward of the call, “I liked our chances,” because the play had worked in practice.

Well, OK, so, it worked against the UVA defense in practice.

The UVA defense is one of the 10 worst in the nation. A lot of plays work against them – in practice, in games.

Problem with this play call against a defense that isn’t among the bottom 10 in the country is, if that defense snuffs it out, you’re left with a 280-pound lineman with the ball in space, trying to make a play.

“If it doesn’t work it’s like, ‘OK,’ so, it’s one of those plays,” Armstrong said.

“I was confident, and I was actually excited to see what would happen, honestly. We haven’t ran it ever, but it’s always been in, and it’s one of those plays that in those games where if you make that play and it works, it’s incredible.”

So, it’s a play that’s “always been in,” it’s a play that if it works, it’s incredible, so, go ahead and call it on third down in the red zone with a minute to go down five against the in-state rival.

Because it might work.

You’ve got two guys with 70+ catches, another guy with 1,200 yards receiving, a 6’7” tight end, but use those guys as decoys to get the ball to Bobby Haskins to win the game.

It’s a shame that Brennan Armstrong was put in a position to have to defend that asinine play call after the game.

The guys who get paid big bucks and should know better shouldn’t be allowed to deflect it to the kids.

Story by Chris Graham

augusta free press
augusta free press