Who had the Most Pete Carroll Moment in Kentucky sports?
By Eric Crawford and Rick Bozich
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — What were they thinking?
After Seattle Seahawks' coach Pete Carroll elected to throw the ball instead of hand it to Marshawn Lynch from the one-yard line in the Super Bowl against New England Sunday night, the bewildering move got us thinking:
What were some of the biggest blown calls for local coaches and athletes? What were the calls that left you with your head in your hands, wondering what just happened?
Second-guessing coaches is virtually a constitutional right in Kentucky and Indiana. Here's what Eric Crawford and Rick Bozich came up with when we exercised our rights (and memories). No doubt, others will have their nominees. You're welcome to share them in the comments section. You can also vote in our poll above the story.
1. RICK PITINO NOT GUARDING THE INBOUNDS PASS AGAINST DUKE IN 1992 EAST REGIONAL FINAL
ERIC: Pitino, to this day, says his bigger mistake on that fateful play was warning his players not to foul the shooter. That made them more tentative when Christian Laettner went up for his famous shot in what many call the greatest college basketball game ever played. Still, if you ask Pitino for his biggest regrets in coaching, you'll likely hear putting a defender on inbounds passer Grant Hill on that fateful play, if only so he wouldn't have to listen to people complaining about it for the next 30 years.
RICK: I didn't have to look up how many seconds (it was 2.1) were left at The Spectrum in Philadelphia that night. I'll never forget. All Kentucky had to do was make Grant Hill throw a short pass from the baseline near the UK basket and the Wildcats likely advance to the Final Four. But Pitino chose not to use a tall defender to harass Hill, who had a clear shot to throw a 70-foot strike to Christian Laettner, who caught the ball and then had time to fake and pivot before Laettner made a shot that was easier than it needed to be. If you've noticed, Pitino puts a man on the ball these days.
2. JOHN CALIPARI LETTING HIS TEAM TAKE 32 THREE-POINTERS AGAINST WEST VIRGINIA WITH DEMARCUS COUSINS AND PATRICK PATERSON INSIDE IN 2010 EAST REGIONAL FINAL
ERIC: When they missed their first 20, it should've been a sign. In hindsight, looking at the kind of NBA player DeMarcus Cousins has become, it's easy to second-guess a guy who didn't absolutely ride him through the NCAA Tournament. In the emotion of a game, however, it's not as easy. WVU packed its zone so far in that UK couldn't help itself when it got one open three after another. And Bob Huggins got just what he wanted -- and a trip to the Final Four.
RICK: That Kentucky team had two guys who will play in the 2015 NBA all-star game -- John Wall and Cousins -- as well as two others who are solid players in the league (Patterson and Eric Bledsoe). Nobody from the Mountaineers is currently in the NBA. So how did West Virginia beat Kentucky? By playing a 1-3-1 zone that left the Wildcats looking as if they were playing 4 against 7. Instead of pounding the ball into Cousins and Patterson, UK launched 32 of 67 shots from distance, missing the first 20. They made only four – and the Wildcats lost a game they should have won.
3. KENNY PERRY WATCHING MARK BROOKS FINISH HIS ROUND ON TV INSTEAD OF GOING TO THE PRACTICE TEE AT THE 1996 PGA CHAMPIONSHIP
ERIC: We all remember Perry watching from the television tower as Mark Brooks tied him to force a playoff that he eventually won. As often happens, however, we forget what led to it. Perry had been brilliant in shooting what would be a final-round 68. All he needed was a par at No. 18, which had played the second easiest of any hole on the golf course. Instead, he got a little too pumped up, swung too hard and pulled his tee shot into the weeds, leaving the door open for Brooks. Then instead of going to the practice tee, he watched instead of keeping himself warm. “I probably stayed up in the tower too long," he said after losing on the first extra hole. "I probably should have gone down there and hit a few balls to stay loose. I probably got caught up in the moment."
RICK: The crowd at Valhalla was hoping for a Kenny Perry coronation at the first major championship played at the course in Eastern Jefferson County. But Mark Brooks made a late surge – and Perry was in the CBS broadcast booth above the 18th green to watch. In fact, Perry told the TV viewers that Brooks was a “terrific bunker player,” before Brooks made a brilliant shot from the sand. By the time Perry realized he'd be in a playoff and tried to rush to the practice area, PGA officials informed him it was too late and time to begin the sudden-death playoff. Perry needed five shots to make the 18th green – and second-guessed his decision to join CBS. As he should have.
4. BOBBY PETRINO SPIKING THE BALL AT CLEMSON LAST OCTOBER
ERIC: I know what Petrino was thinking. He had an inexperienced quarterback. He had a play that he wanted to run. But when he had Will Gardner spike the ball to stop the clock on third down and two at the two-yard line at Clemson, he set off a round of second-guessing that continues today. The play Petrino wanted to run was a play Clemson was ready for. But again, the play I look to here was the huge catch by James Quick that set up the late dramatics. If he carries it in, we aren't having this conversation.
RICK: Two is better than one, right? Not to Petrino and his offensive coordinator, Garrick McGee. The Cards had two cracks to get the two yards they needed to beat Clemson last October, but strangely threw one play away by spiking the ball. That energized the Tigers' crowd in Death Valley. It put pressure on the U of L offense to be perfect on its one shot at glory. Oops. The Cards could have used the extra snap they gave away.
5. BILL CURRY RUNNING THE OPTION WITH TIM COUCH IN 1996
ERIC: A good example of the importance of flexibility in coaching. It's not as bad as, say, running the wishbone with Peyton Manning. But it's pretty bad.
RICK: Tim Couch was the best passing prospect the state of Kentucky has produced. He eventually started his pro career as the first pick of the NFL Draft. He was the recruit that Bill Curry had to get to save his job. Everybody knew that Couch could do great things given the chance to throw the ball. Even Curry knew that. But Curry let Elliot Uzelac, his offensive coordinator, talk him into using an option attack for part of the 1996 season, which resulted in Couch sharing time with Billy Jack Haskins and not playing to his strengths. Silly. Kentucky went 4-7. Goodbye, Bill Curry, hello, Hal Mumme.
6. TUBBY SMITH BENCHING RAJON RONDO IN FAVOR OF BRANDON STOCKTON IN THE FINAL MONTH OF THE 2006 SEASON.
ERIC: I have to say, I had no inkling Rondo would become what he ended up becoming in the NBA. At the time this happened, it seemed to me an attempt by Smith to get Rondo's head right. Turns out, Rondo's game was fine. It just didn't fit the game that Smith wanted to play.
RICK: Benching Rajon Rondo for one game? Sure. I've heard NBA folks criticize Rondo's attitude. Two games? Maybe. But four games late in the season, in favor of Brandon Stockton, who made 38 field goals in four seasons at Kentucky? Tubby Smith has never been able to explain why he went with Stockton over Rondo, who has an NBA championship ring and four all-star game appearances on his resume.
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