-- The city of Raleigh is already thinking about a new building as a part of its long-term plans. It's never too early to plan ahead, I suppose, but over the hill? Don't tell the recruits.
As head coach of N.C. State three decades ago, Monte Kiffin arrived at the student center to hype the spring game once by riding a white horse and wearing a red mask. He flashed a six-shooter while the "William Tell Overture" played.
Like I always say, if you're gonna go 6-5, at the least you should do it with panache.
-- It's unfortunate that the ACC has found a way to make the league even less interesting, though I do agree it is important to relieve the officials of as much potential confusion as possible. They have a hard enough time keeping track of who's giving whom the business and such.
-- N&O's Q&A with Dana Bible.
-- The Golf Channel checks out NC State's new golf course.
Pulaski hasn't punted since 2007 (when it did so as a gesture of sportsmanship in a lopsided game), and here's why: "The average punt in high school nets you 30 yards, but we convert around half our fourth downs, so it doesn't make sense to give up the ball," Kelley says. "Besides, if your offense knows it has four downs instead of three, it totally changes the game. I don't believe in punting and really can't ever see doing it again."
He means ever. Consider the most extreme scenario, say, fourth-and-long near your own end zone. According to Kelley's data (much of which came from a documentary he saw), when a team punts from that deep, the opponents will take possession inside the 40-yard line and will then score a touchdown 77% of the time. If they recover on downs inside the 10, they'll score a touchdown 92% of the time. "So [forsaking] a punt, you give your offense a chance to stay on the field. And if you miss, the odds of the other team scoring only increase 15 percent. It's like someone said, '[Punting] is what you do on fourth down,' and everyone did it without asking why."
The onside kicks? According to Kelley's figures, after a kickoff the receiving team, on average, takes over at its own 33-yard line. After a failed onside kick the team assumes possession at its 48. Through the years Pulaski has recovered about a quarter of its onside kicks. "So you're giving up 15 yards for a one-in-four chance to get the ball back," says Kelley. "I'll take that every time!" Why not attempt to return punts? "Especially in high school, where the punts don't go so far," he says, "it's not worth the risk of fumbling or a penalty."
I wonder how many college coaches look at this sort of data. If they realized that turning the ball over between your opponent's 30-39 yard line as opposed to punting the ball somewhere between your opponent's 10-19 yard line makes your opponent just 9% more likely to score a touchdown, it seems like we'd see the near-disappearance of punts from enemy territory.