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As I've read and responded to comments on this article, I've come to this conclusion regarding Dooley's decision-making in this game. You don't have to agree with me. That's the great thing about this country and this anonymous internet thingy.
Where the end of regulation call goes, the only thing I really don't get is why he chose to let the clock run out after the no-gain on 2nd down. He could have called a timeout and then run another play on 3rd down. That play would need to be a run play, because if you don't get the 1st down, then (THEN) you want to run the clock out. You aren't going to go for it on 4th down and risk giving Mizzou back the ball with even enough time for one play left. A pass play would be ok only if it was complete (first down or not), but an incomplete pass would leave you forced to give Mizzou the ball back. So I would have run the ball on 3rd down, and if it didn't break for the 10 yards, let the clock run out.
Where the final OT series was concerned. I'm just totally puzzled. My belief is that when you have an O-line like ours and experienced, serviceable backs like Lane and Neal, you should pound the ball at them when you only need 3 yards and you have 3 plays to get them. I don't mind the pass on 2nd-and-3, but I'm pounding it down their throats on 3rd-and-3, and it doesn't matter what match-ups I see on any of the receivers. Lane or Neal, or Johnson, is most likely going to get the 3 yards, or at least some part of it. Then, on 4th-and-less-than-3, you can call whatever you think is best, because it's all-or-nothing. In a situation where you aren't going to go for it on 4th down, it's different, but Dooley knew right from the start that on any OT period when the Vols were on offense first, it was either TD or nothing -- no confidence that the defense could prevent a Mizzou TD, and rightly so.
I guess the bottom line is that I puzzle over part of Dooley's decision-making in both situations. He wasn't completely wrong, but certainly - in my opinion - could have done better.
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