If you simply read the vanilla flavour game reports on last night's Bowl game between Western Kentucky and Central Michigan you would think the underdogs from Michigan survived a dramatic late decision by Kentucky to go for it on fourth down to win the game. Basically that was it. That's certainly how it is being presented.
However, if you actually watched the game, there was a number of aspects that didn't sit well after the fact. Certainly not with this column anyway.
To summarize, Kentucky interim coach Lance Guidry watched as his team drove down field into field goal position with a minute left in the game, trailing by, you guessed it, three. Instead of kicking a relatively simple chip shot, Kentucky went for it on fourth and two, and didn't make it.
It just isn't as simple as that. If you saw the game, did you catch Guidry's self aggrandizing speech to his players pre game? Obviously it is a matter of perspective, however this column's 'take away' from the speech was that Guidry was playing to the cameras. If you recall it, he actually mentioned a previous bowl game with another team where he was also interim coach. Perhaps we are missing something, but how is that something that's going to energize his current squad?
Judge for yourself. I found this speech to be the worst kind of pandering, showboating possible, and I am pretty sure Guidry glances at the camera a few times. Don't worry coach, all eyes are on you!
The very first offensive play Guidry called was a trick play (that, it should be said, worked) and from that point it was clear Guidry was going to leave his mark on the game, whether it was for the best of the kids he was coaching or not.
Then the big play. Fourth and two. The commentators almost screamed at Guidry to kick the easy field goal and take the game and his team to overtime. You just don't mess with your players like that. Imagine the seniors on the team waking up today and realising their chance to win a bowl game was torn out of their hands by a showboating coach who may or may not have been auditioning on live national TV for a job at another college.
Kick. The. Field goal.
My stomach turned this morning when I read Guidry said post game that it was his players who basically demanded he 'go for it' on fourth and two. I am calling shenanigans on that. I was watching intently as the decision was made, and at no point whatsoever did Guidry consult with his players.
For him to throw them under the bus after the decision was made like that is disgusting, and indeed cowardly. They can dress this up whatever way they want, and no doubt some loyal players will claim they had an input, however those watching will have seen Guidry excitedly calling for the team to go for it, it was clear it was his decision, and it is also pretty clear why he made it.
If Guidry really did take on input from his players, he, as the head coach, should have instead made the logical and correct call to kick the field goal. Instead, he goes for it, fails, and then blames his kids! A final thought on that aspect, if the players did demand they go for it, Guidry should still have had the common decency to point at himself as the coach after the failure.
Instead, he threw his players under the bus.
"That was all the players. We were going to kick the field goal, but they told me that they were here to win the game. I asked everyone and they wanted to go for it so we took the chance."
Sorry Coach Guidry, with all due respect, that is absolute rubbish. Anyone who watched the game saw what happened, there was no democratic polling on the sideline, it is clear you went for the big splashy dramatic decision to try and get your name in the morning papers.
Now Guidry is just another coach who flunked a basic decision, and his players chances at winning a bowl game are gone up in smoke.
That's who you are left feeling bad for, the kids who worked so hard to get to the bowl game in the first place. They took a back seat as their camera hogging coach grabbed centre stage, to his own end.
Of course, in retrospect, this is exactly the kind of showboating, poor decision making that comes from a program that just hired Bobby Petrino.