Hear Bob Shoop’s honest take on the last play of the Florida game

Take six minutes to listen to Tennessee Vols defensive coordinator Bob Shoop explain exactly what happened on that disastrous last play against the Florida Gators:

It’s really refreshing to hear such a thorough and nuanced explanation. He says it’s his responsibility. He says that it shouldn’t have happened. He says they did some things right and some things wrong. He feels bad, and he’s obviously learned from it. He is moving on.

It’s late Tuesday afternoon, and this is the first we’re hearing this. If you ever wonder why we at GRT are mostly silent or, if not silent, at least . . . gentle, after terrible events, this is why. (Well, that and the whole Chris Lofton thing, when everyone criticized him all season and only later realized he was undergoing chemotherapy at the time.) When you hit the publish or record button in the throes of passion, you run the very real risk of being overly emphatic while being absolutely wrong, and it’s extraordinarily difficult to admit being wrong after you’ve beaten your chest about it in front of thousands of people. Some don’t care because of the clicks it draws, but we do.

We try to speak the truth around here, but when the truth hurts, we take our time with it. And when the time comes, we try to speak hard truth with grace, empathy, and humility. We try to listen the same way. This sounds to me like an honest and reasonable explanation of a terrible thing that happened. I’m glad he took the extra time to address it, and now I’m moving on as well.

7 Comments

  1. Well said Shoop, well said Joel.

  2. “And when the time comes, we try to speak hard truth with grace, empathy, and humility. We try to listen the same way.”

    That’s what I can’t get from UT sports journalism anywhere else. That’s why I love this staff, this community, and this website. Thank you Joel, et al.

  3. Anddddd exhale, much better. Great post!

  4. I don’t get this approach at all. Shoop is responsible for teaching the DB not to get beaten deep on a long ball on the last play of regulation. This is basic high school stuff. If you are dumb enough to play straight up, please take the proper angle to the ball. Have the proper depth to begin with. Know how much time is left in the game. Call a prevent defense and adjust shorter instead of relying on a formation read and a timeout. This guy is supposed to be a genius coordinator but the fundamentals and basics are lacking. People give him a break because he confesses to a mistake for 7 minutes? Even drunk football fans on their couch know that our team blew it on that play. Great to know why it happened. Good that he understands everything in all its nuanced glory. Glad he feels bad about it. But that boneheaded play call and execution – along with several dozen other plays that day – cost us a winnable game toward the SEC East championship. I could have done without the video or this collective sympathy.

    • I will say this, Pete: I’m still waiting to see the fruits of our great-at-least-on-the-surface defensive coordinator hire. I’m still holding out hope that the poor performances of his defenses are mainly due to an unbelievable string of injuries to our most important defensive players (Derek Barnett excluded). But, the results, especially toward the end of last season, have sometimes been Sal Sunseri levels of bad. I wonder what last year would have looked like with Jancek coaching that defense again. I’m not saying it would have been better, but just wondering.

      On another note, prevent-style soft coverage defense was what we were running on the 4th and 14 play last time we were in the swamp, if I remember correctly. We had a QB spy and only rushed 3 on the play and dropped everyone back into coverage. It’s what got Shoop’s predecessor fired, wasn’t it? I know that those situations are very different, but I think there is some irony that two years later we are looking back at a Florida loss because a defensive call wasn’t soft enough. (I know that that loss was the result of 60 minutes of football, not one 9 second play, but you know what I mean)

      • Prevent defense does not equate to only rushing 3. The line should rush hard and limit the time the WR have to get downfield. Maybe even bring an extra LB, rather than the stupid QB spy, but get enough depth for your safeties and corners that they literally cannot be beaten deep for a touchdown.

        If I recall correctly, the 4th and 14 play also had at least 3 missed tackles along the way in addition to some bad angles. So it’s not just the scheme in that case but really bad execution on top of it. Shoop’s predecessor was fired for much more than the Florida play – it was a season of incompetence in both scheme and tackling.

        By the way, we don’t need a Hail Mary vs. Georgia if our DB doesn’t assume (as they did in the Florida game AGAIN) that the QB can’t throw it that far. Georgia’s QB hit a 50 yarder over our guy’s head. Florida goes for 60+ over our heads. It’s the SEC guys – assume the QB has an arm.

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