Northwestern May Have Used Wrong Wristbands in First Half Against Cal

Submitted by Bambi on September 2nd, 2014 at 11:16 PM


This may be a terrible indictment on Fitzgerald and his coaching staff. Or it's an awful excuse and makes NU seem like a team that can't accept that maybe they're just not that good. Either way just wow.



September 2nd, 2014 at 11:36 PM ^

These were the DEFENSIVE wristbands, and apparently only a few players had the wrong wristbands on.  If just one or two DBs had the wrong wristbands on, they would just have been in the wrong coverages.  If you had 9 guys running the right play and 2 DBs running the wrong coverage, it might take you quite a while to figure out WTF was going wrong because at first it would just look like they were blowing their coverage assignments.  You would have to specifically ask them what the hell they were TRYING to do to figure out what was going on. 


Which of course, should have happened, but every time you run the wrong coverage on a play it doesn't result in a completion against that defensive player.  It might have taken several plays for the mistake to actually have led to something bad. 


September 3rd, 2014 at 6:25 AM ^

Sure, less obvious than if it were the offensive wrist cards and if it were the entire team.  But if you were the defensive backs coach and one of your DBs ran the wrong coverage on a play, wouldn't you, first, notice, and, second, talk to them about it, even if it didn't lead to a bad outcome?  At which point, the player responds, "Coach, I thought you called Cover 2, not Cover 4," at which point the mistake is noticed.  Or, if your player, and you run one coverage but everyone else is running a different coverage, don't you wonder what happened?

If it happened once and then was immediately corrected, it's an unfortunate equipment error.  If it happened more than once, then that's a remarkable display of poor coaching and, to a lesser extent, poor awareness on the part of the players.


September 3rd, 2014 at 12:49 PM ^

It really depends on who had the wrong wristbands and HOW they were wrong.


It may not have been obvious that the players in question were not patrolling the proper zones.  Yeah, someone in the booth should probably have noticed.  But from field level it wouldn't have necessarily been obvious at all, depeding on how the call was wrong.  I mean, if guys were supposed to be in man and they were in zone then it would be obvious, but if they were just in the wrong zone coverage it wouldn't necessarily stick out immediately.  They would still be jumping on receivers in a "zone' they would just be trying to pass them off to people at the wrong time and not patrolling the right area of control. 


I'm not saying someone shouldn't have noticed it.  I'm just saying I'm not stunned that no one did.


September 3rd, 2014 at 12:14 AM ^

Did their offense wear the wrong ones? They still only managed 7 points in the first half. Even if the defense should have been better, their offense was brutal for large stretches of that game.


September 3rd, 2014 at 7:08 AM ^

Inside NU has a more detailed breakdown (in addition to what the OP's linked article quotes) on an instance where there was some rather obvious confusion right here - LINK

You can look at stills from the sequence in that article as well. I remember watching this part of the game and agree with the formation assessment - Cal was running 2x2 spread formation, Northwestern goes with Cover 4 with seven in the box and some untimely mid-play assignment switching left a receiver in the flat with all day to make a catch basically. 


September 3rd, 2014 at 7:40 AM ^

Mike Hankwitz, a Michigan Man. A senior and tight end on Bo's 1969 team. He was DC for Colorado when they won the National Championship in 1990. He was still the DC for Colorado when he and the Buffalos came to Michigan Stadium for the Kordell Stewart Hail Mary game in 1994.