Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Posted: 09/4/2014 1:00 AM | Comments: 0
Second-guessers might want to save some breath -- Blue Bombers head coach Mike O'Shea is yielding no inch on his decision last Sunday to kick a late-game field goal on third and one at the Saskatchewan 34-yard line.
The points put the Bombers ahead 30-28 and that, above all, was the biggest factor, O'Shea said Wednesday.
"Take the lead," O'Shea said when asked what went into his decision, one that eventually didn't pay off when the Roughriders marched back down the field for the last-minute winning major in a 35-30 win. "Let the defence go out there and stop them and win the game.
"It depends on the day, in terms of the wind, what I saw from Lirim (Hajrullahu, the kicker) in warm-up. It's taking in a global picture of the game, what's gone on and from my standpoint, taking in information and hopefully having a good gut feel for what the answer is."
The topic has raged for a few days since the Bombers fell to 6-4 with the defeat. O'Shea said he didn't mind the discussion -- in town and around the league -- about his choice.
"That's good," he said. "Creates a buzz. No real reaction. The information in the discussion only helps me get better. Maybe there's something I didn't think of. That's quite possible. But given those sets of circumstances again, I'd kick the field goal. You're in a position to take the lead with under four minutes (remaining). That's long enough to stop them and get the ball and go score again."
O'Shea also said the decision to kick the field goal was no reflection whatsoever on his faith in the Bombers offence gaining the yard for a first down in order to keep the ball.
"That really didn't enter into it," the coach said. "I wasn't not confident about getting the yard. I thought the prudent thing to do was kick the field goal and take the lead. There's a little more urgency when a team's behind. I know there was time on the clock but there's more urgency to make plays whereas if something untoward happens and we don't get the yard, and I'm sure we could have, then their (Riders) mindset is just go into this run mode and try to run the clock out."
Did O'Shea think about scoring a touchdown in that situation?
"I weighed that out," he said.
Any regrets now?
"No. Every decision like that is going to be dependent completely on that game," he said. "You just don't repeat that decision. You repeat that process of making that decision and see how that comes out in each individual game. Every game's going to be different."
The teams meet again Sunday in Winnipeg and the Bombers' decision-making might take a back seat in importance to stopping Saskatchewan's run game. The Riders ran for 160 yards last Sunday.
Again, the coach seemed confident in his process and the team's preparation in this area. O'Shea said it will include plenty of study.
"Show them film, show them how (Jerome) Messam had three big runs, one down the stretch where we were in the wrong gaps," O'Shea said Wednesday. "They know right away. They come off the field and they'll tell you exactly what went wrong. It's not like they don't understand it. It's like they get caught in the middle of a situation where they're in the middle of making a mistake and it's difficult to correct it right then and there but they know it right away.
"When a run makes yards, they know exactly what happened. You don't see our team defensively in a lot of panic. When they give up a run, there's not a lot of panic. You see a little conversation going on, a guy says he missed a tackle and the rest of the guys are OK. They know, which to me is that they've been coached well."
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 4, 2014 D3
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