As I watched the Rebels lose by twenty points to Louisiana Tech, I began looking for any reason to stick around in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium just before halftime, as I'm not one to leave games early. After quickly scanning the field and then the stands, and realizing that I would have nothing more interesting to do, I thought I'd watch the coaches call plays. I figured that maybe I could put all of those years playing EA Sports games to work to actually decipher what exactly our scheme is.
I casually glanced at the sign someone - a graduate assistant, perhaps - on our sideline was holding up at the moment to signal what I would presume was a play call to our players. At that moment, we had the ball on offense, and the signaler happened to hold up a sign that read "T.S."
I joked with the people unfortunate enough to still be in the stadium at that moment that I would bet that freshman wideout Tobias Singleton would be getting the ball.
"Ha," I thought. "Wouldn't that be hilarious?"
Then..... he did. On a speed sweep.
"No big deal, "I thought. "I just sorta lucked into that one, right?" Then we quickly noticed a pattern as we watched the playcalling signs for the rest of the game.
I should point out here that the only time a sign was held up on a passing play was when we had scripted a screen pass to a halfback. Aside from that, someone who looked like a student worker was holding up a sign on every running play with a few letters on it. Those letters would tell the offense (AND THE DEFENSE) who was getting the ball.
Here are the signs I noticed:
Brazz - Nick Brassell - This sign was used to show Brassell would go in motion though he never actually touched the ball.
B.B. - Brandon Bolden
E - Enrique Davis
T.S. - Tobias Singleton
J.S. - Jeff Scott
Speed - Speed option
Phillies logo - Bell formation triple option which always went to Brandon Bolden
I realize that to many of you this is unbelievable. It's so insultingly simple that I must be lying, right? Well I'm not. I didn't take pictures of the signs because that's actually against SEC regulations - I think - so just trust me. I wish I were kidding when I say that we hold up the initials of the player who will receive the football on running plays.
Let me say this: I guess there's a very small possibility that it was coincidental. Perhaps the signs just so happened to share the same initials of the involved player. Maybe it's just a wild circumstance of chance that each of the fifteen signs I saw held up matched the player who would get the ball.... even in times when it made no sense for that player to get the ball. If there's that much of a coincidence, they need to change the "random" letters on their signs because we somehow magically lucked into the most predictable playcalling system imaginable outside of the "Madden opponent who very slowly chooses which play he is going to run" method.
I for one was dumbfounded by this, and I know that everyone around me was too. Some of you sat with me and can back me up on this. It was absolutely absurd, and I'm surprised that nobody has noticed this until now.
But, what are we to do? Nutt's fired anyway, so, whatever.
[A side note: I didn't take any pictures because I'm pretty sure that's against SEC guidelines and could get us in significant trouble.]