Fourth-and-44 punt

Army coach Jeff Monken said he hated punting earlier this week and added he wished punting was illegal.

But, Monken said at his postgame press conference following a 62-7 win over Lafayette that he definitely called for a punt on a 4th-and-44 from Army’s 30 late in second quarter.

Punter Nick Schrage didn’t execute the call. Schrage ran to his right as if to attempt a rugby-style kick. He felt pressure and decided to keep the ball. Schrage was tackled and fumbled. Lafayette recovered at Army’s 11 with 41 seconds left.

“It’s not a run-first option,” Monken said of Army’s only punt attempt of the game… “We used the rugby punt for the first time last week against Duke. We’ve practicing it for three years. Today, I thought it was the right situation. There were 54 seconds left in the half. I didn’t want to punt it out there and give a guy a chance at a good return. I thought if we kicked it on the ground, that balls rolls and there’s more time ticking off the clock before we have to down it. Real smart on my part to try to be strategic.

“He’s just trying to do what he is told. The outside guy went really wide and as soon as he did that I thought for sure he would punt the ball because that’s what we tell him, ‘When those guys get out there, you have to get rid of the ball.’ We are not paying him to be a running back. I think he started to run the ball, then pulled up to punt. I don’t know if he thought he couldn’t punt it again.

“To crawl into Nick’s head and figure out what really happened, I don’t know. But, he’s a great kid and he feels terrible that he did it. Not as bad as I feel. He feels bad that he did. He’s a good kid. I’m sure he probably won’t do that again.”

Schrage posted a picture of himself standing on the field before a kickoff and wrote, “Looking down field and wondering if I should run it on 4th and 44. (I shouldn’t have.) (It wasn’t intentional).”


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