Home > What high school coaches can learn from Colts’ botched fake | USA Today High School Sports

What high school coaches can learn from Colts’ botched fake | USA Today High School Sports

The Colts' botched fake punt play in all its glory (Photo: Associated Press)

The Colts’ botched fake punt play in all its glory (Photo: Associated Press)

Many are calling it the worst, most bizarre trick play of all-time.

If you were tuned in to the Indianapolis Colts game against the New England Patriots on Sunday night, chances are you know exactly what we mean.

If you weren’t, chances are that you still know exactly what we’re talking about.

And if by some chance you don’t:

In the much-awaited Deflategate rematch of the 2015 AFC Championship game, the Patriots were the heavy favorites on Sunday night. But to the surprise of many, the Colts managed to keep the game close throughout the first three quarters.

OK, a lot.

The Colts were faced with a fourth and 3 on their own 37-yard line, down by six points with 1:14 left in the third quarter. This would generally be your typical punting situation, right?

Instead, Colts head coach Chuck Pagano sent Griff Whalen, a receiver, and Colt Anderson, a safety, to the line of scrimmage to act as the center and the quarterback — or the punter — or whatever he was supposed to be.

The other nine Colts  lined up on the right side of the field.

At this point, it appeared to clearly be an attempt to confuse the Patriots. It was a tactic used to draw them offsides or at the very least make them use a timeout. We’ve seen crazier things happen in sports.

Once Whalen snapped the ball, all of that changed. He handed the ball to Anderson, who was immediately tackled by a gang of Patriots.

New England scored a few plays later, ending any hopes the Colts had of winning the game.

So in an attempt to cure our confusion that was caused by the already-infamous trick play,  we called Kevin Wright. He’s a head football coach at IMG Academy and former head coach of Carmel High School in Indiana, a school that he led to the state title in 2011 and state runner-up finishes in 2013 and ’14.

Wright is also a lifelong Colts fan.

What did surprise him, however, was the the same thing that surprised everyone else.

“Something wasn’t communicated along the way. Obviously the ball should have never been snapped,” Wright said. “That’s the first thing as a coach; you should never snap the ball [in that situation].

“Your football IQ tells you, ‘hey they didn’t jump, they’ve got two guys right there, there’s no way,’ so somebody made a mistake. And it’s one of two people.”

Looking at the bright side, Wright is using the play to his advantage — something that hopefully every football coach will do so that we’ll never have to witness something like this again.

“There was a lot of emphasis in our practice today on special teams,” he said.

“For me, as a coach, we showed it and it was a great coaching point, especially in regards to detail and execution.”


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