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Pulaski Academy Bruins Receive National Publicity on SI.com

Posted by Adam Butler on September 16, 2011

The Pulaski Academy (Little Rock) Bruins are once again receiving national attention for their head coach, Kevin Kelley’s extremely unconventional football philosophy, which helped P.A. jump out to a 29-0 lead over Cabot last week before the Panthers ran a play from scrimmage. PA eventually won 64-34 in a “remarkably close” (SI’s words, not mine) game after the initial outburst.

The funny thing about Kelley: He’s not a mad scientist or an iconoclast, zigging where everyone else is zagging, for the hell of it. Rather, he’s a relentlessly rational sort whose methods have backing in data.

The decision not to punt? According to Kelley’s statistics, when a team punts from near its end zone, the opponent will take possession inside the 40-yard line and will then score a touchdown 77 percent of the time. If it recovers on downs inside the 10, it will score a touchdown 92 percent of the time. “So [forsaking] a punt, you give your offense a chance to stay on the field,” he said. “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.”

That’s all good and fine, but what I do not understand, and have never heard a valid explanation for, is why Kelley continues to opt for onside kicks and deep passes late in games (often with starters) in which his team has built a clearly insurmountable 30 or 40-point lead–just as it did against Cabot  (although the decisions were not mentioned in the article).

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One Response to “Pulaski Academy Bruins Receive National Publicity on SI.com”

  1. Onside Kris said

    I think PA throwing deep while up 40 is ridiculous. If I were Cabot’s coach I would have grabbed the defense and said to put that QB on the ground EVERY play. As far as onsides, they don’t ever practice kicking deep. They only practice onsides. I can see not kicking deep if you don’t have a kicker who can kick it deep and you never practice coverage.

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