This High School Coach Should Change Pro Football

Kevin Kelley never punts; pro teams shouldn't either: Mallory Rubin
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Nov 16, 2013 3:35 PM CST
A screen grab from Grantland video featuring Kevin Kelley.   (YouTube/Grantland)

(Newser) – In 2008, high school football coach Kevin Kelley took his team to a state championship without punting a single time, and he still doesn't do it. Pulaski Academy, in Little Rock, Arkansas, nearly always opts for an onside kick, writes Mallory Rubin at Grantland. Statisticians acknowledge the benefits of avoiding the punt; in a Grantland video, Kelley cites a Harvard professor's analysis among his reasons for the strategy. So why is no one else doing the same? Because "coaches are afraid," Rubin writes. "No one wants to be the guy who gets fired because he stopped punting."

After all, those who have gone for it on fourth-and-whatever—from Bill Belichick in 2009 to San Diego State's Rocky Long last year—have gotten an avalanche of grief from fans and just as many questions from the media. What's more, it works for Kelley because he's relentlessly consistent in his approach. And "we can't expect" college and NFL coaches to do the same "if they're lambasted whenever they give it a go," Rubin writes. Sure, fans say they'd like things to be more exciting. But "maybe we're not ready for what we think we want." Click for the full piece.

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