The question is all too often asked after the fact. Today I’m going to pose an incredibly difficult situation, one Mark Stoops’ staff has likely already discussed, to ask, “What would you do?”
Kentucky and Florida are tied with 41 seconds remaining in the game. The Cats have the ball and one timeout. It’s fourth and three on the 31. Stoops has a decision to make.
1. Go For It — Three yards is usually one yard past the comfort zone for coaches on fourth down. That changes when you have a running back line Benny Snell (even though everyone in the stadium will know Benny is getting the ball).
2. Kick a 48-yard Field Goal with Miles Butler — Stoops opted not to let Butler kick a 49-yard field goal against Central Michigan because 48 is Butler’s pre-determined limit. Do you push it to the limit?
3. Call in the Rookie — Chance Poore is the freshman with a big leg who is on the travel squad just for situations like this.
In an ideal world, Snell keeps the drive alive to make it an easier field goal attempt for Butler. It also chews up more clock that Florida could use to get into field goal range. But if Benny does not get the first down, fans will say that Stoops had a chance to win and didn’t take it because he does not trust his kicking game.
Calling Butler onto the field might be the safest option, even though that distance is even more uncertain without much in-game experience. If you put Poore into the game and he doesn’t make it, that’s an awful heavy burden for a true freshman to carry. But if either makes it, the Cats are almost certainly leaving The Swamp with a win.
We do not know what Mark Stoops would do in this hypothetical scenario, but what would YOU do?