North Texas explains the (amazingly elaborate) FAKE FAIR CATCH touchdown trick

North Texas explains the (amazingly elaborate) FAKE FAIR CATCH touchdown trick

You've probably already seen the 90-yard punt-return touchdown that North Texas set on Arkansas on Saturday for a 44-17 destruction of the Razorbacks. And you'll probably smile when you see it for the 36th time because it's so wild.

You might also have questions about how the hell it happened. Equal.

So, on Saturday night, SB Nation talked to the two people involved in the game: UNT Special Team Coordinator Marty Biagi and Kevin Brewer.

This is the story of how the play became epic success story, explained by both.

Brewer did not become a rogue and tried it alone. The Mean Green had been working on this schoolyard trick since fall camp.

The piece needed weeks of practice. And just to get this far, it needed a buyback from the returnee. This is not the case with a play that compels the returnee to stand like a statue while oncoming reporting men oppose him.

"You can not just do that on a Wednesday and then" Hey! Trust me! "Biagi says.

So the coordinator said to the returnee in August, "Hey, we're starting to practice that while Fall Camp, and I need you to trust me. "

"And Keegan looked me straight in the eye and said," Coach, let's practice it until you know it will work. "So instead of practicing it once, my big thing is not practicing it until you get it right," Biagi says. "Practice it until you can not get it wrong."

In the film study, the Mean Green saw something that intrigued her in the way Arkansas encompassed the punts.

Biagi did not say exactly what Arkansas did, which convinced him to install the fake for this game. But it was about how the hogs tended their coverage.

"Make sure we watch everything at the end of the game," says Biagi. "It was just something we felt this week that was the right time to retire."

That would be it This Play, the second punt of the afternoon, was decided later. The first Arkansas punt of the day was out of control.

Biagi told Brewer seconds ago that it was time.

"He said," Keegan, we are leading it. "I said," Okay, we'll do it. "

The play was not just a game. It was a complete stage production with dozens of people making sure things went smoothly.

Let's start with Brewer, whose job was the easiest: catch the boat, play dead, as if he had just made a successful catch and then ran like hell when the coast was clear. "If you know, go," Biagi had told him.

brewer had a much more complicated set of tasks. At first, Biagi employees ordered her to jam immediately and block Arkansas' coverage people. This is not an uncommon task, though some repatriate units release gunners and direct them in certain directions. In this game, the persistent blocking leads to two things:

  1. Deflection. The longer the players of Arkansas were dealing with blockers, the less likely they were to see Brewer and find out the trick. "They thought the blocks were enough [Arkansas] not to see that I did not catch it fair, "says Brewer.
  2. Speed ​​control. The refusal to report, a chance to gain a full head of steam, made the game safer for Brewer, who was basically a sitting duck after capturing the punt.

The goal is not to stop them forever. In the end, wannabe tacklers have to get close enough to make it believable that a fair catch has been called out, and the further upfield they get, the easier they'll be to slip afterwards. UNT's blockers had to do it right to ensure both the lie and the safety of their teammate.

* It was not just the 11 players in the field. Continue reading.

Brewer held the ball so he would not fumble if someone hit him. And he accepted light defensive attitude, where he would protect himself if he were hit.

That's the answer to the question: Was not North Texas able to put Brewer in extraordinary danger?

And was not Brewer worried?

"I was definitely," he says. "But the punt they kicked was not high, so it was not one where I was totally scared, just surrounding me, and once I caught it, I had some time to protect myself, which was me was a little scared [about] before the game. But after that, when I had the ball, it was good. "

The piece almost collapsed before it started because an inquisitive Arkansas player had almost figured it out.

Here we are talking about this guy: No. 31, Grant Morgan.


"The guy in front of me was actually talking to me," says Brewer.

"Why are not they whistling?" Brewer heard Morgan asking him.

Morgan reached its climax on the video board behind Brewer. The returnee stared silently forward.

"I just sat there and waited," he says. "It was not too hard."

"You have to play it through to the end," said Arkansas coach Chad Morris later. "You have to play through the pipe, that was my message."

Back to the other guys in the field for North Texas. Later in the game, they had to relocate to their own sideline.

This part was important. The return would have to go along the North Texas Secondary. The Mean Green knew that Arkansas & # 39; players would jog to their own sideline as soon as they were satisfied that Brewer had caught the ball fairly.

While it was in the air, a horde of UNT blockers began to move their tasks away from their blocks. As Brewer moved to the left, an armored escort of eight teammates was waiting.


"And then it was just a way to build a wall," says Biagi.

This is where North Texas' entire staff – assistants, GAs, strength coaches – had a crucial role to play.

"It's almost like a movie scene," says Biagi with so many involved.

The staff on the sidelines did not have to ask anyone in a white jersey was also faked. If the offensive players of UNT thought the game dead, they could have gone crazy.

"You're talking about a big operation," says Biagi. "You have to keep your hands on the deck because you have to have the side line trainers, the steamer squad does a great job and keeps everyone out of the field, because usually the offense is ready to take over the field, keep running and everyone gets fired."

If someone does that in the middle of the game, it's a punishment.

Another group could have played a role: the officials.

North Texas could have told them not to whistle the game instinctively when Brewer was at a standstill. It is common for teams to communicate in advance with references to certain unusual situations.

"I can not tell you that if you do not mind," says Biagi.

The other thing that Biagi did not say is that if the returnee has an option at the game, do not just read to catch it fairly. Given the numbers, that would have to be a creative option.

UNT is not the first team in history to do a false fair catch. But it could take a while to get to the next one. (Or not.)

Perhaps the most famous example from the past: Terrell Buckley of Florida State made it to Syracuse in 1989 and stopped for a moment before bursting through the orange:

Football is so big that nobody can say with confidence when the last attempt was made before the UNT. But the mid-green was the first in a long time to make it successful at its level. Now everyone in sport has seen the band that should – should – make it unrepeatable for a while. But maybe not.

"I think it's like everything," says Biagi. "You have to know and make great films, it's like running around and closing the circle, maybe someone will try, and maybe someone will not try for 50 years after I've been away for a long time."

But North Texas has no reason to swear it permanently.

"You never know," says Brewer. "It could happen again, but I'm not sure when."

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