Oregon's 66 yard fake punt from their own 26 yard line got a lot of buzz over the weekend, and rightfully so (see video below).
According to Mark Helfrich, the decision to call it didn't come down to field position, it was more about the confidence they had in executing the scheme that special teams coordinator Tom Osborne had been drilling all week.
"Coach Oz did a great job all week and our guys did a great job of executing it. That's what it's all about. If you have confidence in it in practice, if it's the 7 yard line, it's on the 7 yard line. If it's there...execute it." Helfrich explained in his post game presser.
"When we went into the game, Oz was kind of asking me beforehand 'Hey what if this,' and 'what if that'. We believe so much in our guys, because of the demonstrated preparation, that we have a ton of confidence in them and that was something that, basically wherever the ball was, we were rolling."
Normally, when thinking of faking a punt there are so many different thoughts and situations running through your head as a head coach or special teams coordinator, that you often lose track of what may be the most important; the confidence in your scheme and players.
While that is an easy thing to lean on when the play works, Helfrich's comments do serve as a good reminder for coaches everywhere looking for a momentum swing with some special teams trickery over the next few weeks; gauge your confidence before you pull the trigger.
Here's a great look at Oregon's fake punt against UCLA. The Ducks are down 7-0 at this point and it's fourth and 14 from their own 26 yard line. This one took plenty of confidence (and some big stones).