Bungling the Coin Toss- It CAN Cost You the Game
I thought only youth football player screwed up the coin toss, but I was wrong it happens in Division I College football too. In this years Nebraska Missouri game, a game matching two Top 20 teams, it happened. Nebraska won the toss, yet ended up kicking off to start both halves of the game. “That wasn’t by choice,” NU coach Bo Pelini said. “Our captains made a little mistake.”
Nebraska sent Prince Amukamara, Roy Helu, Mathew May and Keith Williams to midfield before the game. The Huskers won the toss. But instead of opting to defer, as instructed, they said Nebraska wanted to kick. “For me, the day started pretty bad,” Pelini said. “That was what I was greeted with today when I walked on to the sideline — that we were going to kick off to start both halves. I take responsibility for that because obviously I didn’t give instruction well enough.”
In youth football, I ALWAYS PRACTICE the flip with my captains. Only 1 player is allowed to speak to the referees. He is instructed to only say the following- we want the ball. If we win the toss, we want the ball, if we lose the toss, we want the ball. Even if the referee says he can’t have the ball, we tell our spokesman to say “We want the ball.” Only after the referees tells him for the second time we can’t have the ball, the player looks over to me and I will instruct him on which end we will defend. After all of these instructions, we actually practice the coin flip, who calls it and what our designated spokesman will say to the referee.
I talked to the referee crew last week about the Nebraska- Missouri coin flip fiasco and asked them if they had reffed any games where something like that happened. All 4 guys said “All the time.” One referee even talked about a High School State Championship game he worked where a team blew the coin toss, even after he asked them, “Are you SURE that’s what you want to do?”
Practice the coin flip when you are coaching youth football, because if your kids blow it, it is on you. It can easily be the game, especially when you factor in most of us play only 10 minute quarter games. Most fiascos can be avoided by being pro-active, that goes double for youth football coaching.
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