by Douglas O’Connor
follow on Twitter @Ren_Daxt
Buccaneer fans were all up in arms about Head Coach Dirk Koetter’s play calling during Monday nights narrow victory over the Carolina Panthers. No play received more attention from the Twitterverse than a 3rd and 9 run call late in the 4th quarter.
The game was tied with under 4 minutes to play the Bucs had the ball inside the Panthers 40. Jameis had just thrown into what appeared to be double coverage and given the season long struggles of placekicker Roberto Aguayo, fans really wanted a first down. What they got was a run play to the right that produced little to no gain. Followed by another Aguayo miss and the tweets started to fly.
First I was right there with the armchair quarterbacks. Fantasizing of being outside of One Buc Place with my pitchfork. Screaming for Dirks head due to his lack imaginative play calling. Then I remembered something Chris Myers said while doing the TV coverage for Buccaneers preseason games. “Aguayo likes the ball on the right hash mark”. The skies parted, the sun shined and I was okay with the play call. In fact I think it was the right call.
Coach Koetter was putting his team, our team, in the best position to win the game. The run to the right main objective wasn’t to pick up a first down. It was to put the ball on the right hash. Giving his kicker the best chance to make the kick and take the lead. Handing the game over to his defense to get one stop and essentially win the game.
We all know that Roberto missed that kick, but Dirk put him in position to succeed and the plan almost worked out the exact same. The defense did get a stop. The Bucs did put the ball on the right hash mark and Aguayo did make the game winner. Just 3 minutes and 35 seconds later.
Kudos to you coach Koetter. Your play calling proved to be spot on and your team executed for you. Well, at least the second time.