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North Carolina

Tar Heels coin toss snafu explained

Posted September 9, 2013

— Larry Fedora has a reputation for game day surprises that no one expects. On Saturday, an inadvertent coin toss decision by the team captains placed UNC on a short list of programs committing pregame gaffes.

UNC’s game day captains - Quinshad Davis, Jack Tabb, Norkeithus Otis and Tre Boston – trotted out to midfield minutes before kickoff for the coin toss. What followed was miscommunication between coaches, players and referee Ron Cherry.
NCAA Rule 3-1-1-d states the following:

The winner of the toss shall choose one of the following options:
1. To designate which team shall kick off.
2. To designate which goal line his team shall defend.
3. To defer his selection to the second half.

Middle Tennessee State won the toss and elected to defer. Davis, according to Boston, had been instructed by Fedora on how to handle the situation. The obvious choice would be to take possession since the Blue Raiders would receive the ball to open the second half. That, however, is not what occurred.

"It happened fast,” Tabb told reporters following UNC’s 40-20 victory. “They deferred it and they looked at us and Quinshad said something. There was a miscommunication between him and the [referee]. Then Tre said, ‘Kick it anyways.’ I was like, ‘Hold on,’ but they were just like, ‘We'll kick it, it's fine.’ We just went with it.”

When asked if he had any communication with the referee, Boston replied: “No, no, I didn’t at all. It was something I was trying to help Quinshad with what to do. He was just fumbling with his words because the referee was confusing all of us.”

Quarterback Bryn Renner said he was “stunned” by the news that UNC would not receive in either half.

“I asked Quinshad about that and got a clarification, but I think he just misunderstood the referee,” Renner said. “I hope that doesn’t happen next week.”

Fedora, while visibly furious with Davis after the captains came off the field, joked about the incident during his postgame press conference.

“Well, that was our strategy going into the game,” the second-year UNC head coach said. “We felt like it would help them out and wanted to see if we could get more time with the defense on the field.”

Larry Fedora Pic Post MTSU Fedora: It was a miscommunication that won't happen again

All joking aside, North Carolina was fortunate Middle Tennessee State didn’t capitalize with a touchdown on its opening possession. The Blue Raiders had a 1st-and-goal at the half-yard line before Logan Kilgore threw an interception to Boston in the back of the end zone.

"I wasn’t real happy," Fedora continued. "I didn’t really listen to what they were telling me. I’m not sure exactly when I realized it. When I was talking to the guys on the sideline about getting ready and all of a sudden someone said we’re kicking off and I said 'Okay.'

"Then Ron Cherry was looking at me like I was an idiot. I didn’t know why he kept looking at me like that. Then I found out afterwards. It’s a poor job on my part.”

Fedora said he would make sure it never happened again before adding even more confusion to the situation.

“It happened last year, too," he said. "Y’all remember? Okay. Good.“

Except that no one remembers. There’s no record of it happening in 2012 and various Tar Heels talked about never seeing it happen before.

While rare, UNC is not alone in botching the coin toss decision.

In 2010, Nebraska won the toss against Missouri and elected to kick instead of deferring.

“That wasn't by choice,” Nebraska coach Bo Pelini said following the game. “Our captains made a little mistake.”

In 2007, Southern Cal lost the coin toss, but quarterback John David Booty elected to kick despite Nebraska deferring to the second half. Former USC head coach Pete Carroll later told reporters that the referee asked Booty if he really wanted to kick after the initial decision was made. Booty once again confirmed, “Yes.”

Neither blunder prevented victory, but that wasn’t the case for Virginia in 2003. When former head coach Al Groh elected to kick off after winning the coin toss against Maryland, the Terrapins promptly celebrated and received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

Maryland gained one extra possession in the game and won 27-17.

23 Comments

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  • tBeast Sep 10, 11:19 a.m.

    Liar. UNC has been punished and the coaches and players involved are all gone. We did not play in last years ACC title game and we are down 3 scholly's per year for 3 years. That is and was the punishment. Get over it. Just like the stupid attendance threads you start & cry about.
    I am happy you're back here TBK because you are so entertaining with your total hatred for UNC and UNC fans. You can make a joke out of anything and everything you can find about UNC. Some make you look really stupid like the one about Renner. That's so very childish and petty. You provide much more critter chatter about UNC than ncsuX.

  • TruthBKnown Banned Again03 Sep 10, 10:25 a.m.

    TBK - Why don't you just stay on the red rager side and make your comments there. Nothing you... View More

    — Posted by trueblue0100

    Methinks someone thinks pretty highly of himself. Lighten up, Francis! These team captains made a boneheaded mistake and we're giving you guys a hard time over it. That's how smack talk works.

    And why are you ripping me for doing the same thing that so many of your Hole cohorts do on an even more frequent basis than I, while letting them have a pass? Oh, that's right. They pull for the same team that you pull for.

    And if I ever have ignored you (sorry that you felt ignored), it was only because I didn't feel the need to respond to your post. I ignore a lot of people here (just ask your buddy JACOB about that...)

    And one more thing before I go... I don't wish ill will on Carolina. I wish for justice because they've been cheating their behinds off for several decades. If they were playing by the same rules as everyone else, I would only wish for them to lose on the field of play. To accuse me of wishing ill will on Carolina is like accusing me of wishing ill will on every human being because I want lawbreakers to be brought to justice and punished. When Carolina stops breaking the rules and cheating, I'll go back to just wanting to beat them on the field of play.

  • GunnyGoesArrrgh Sep 9, 10:12 p.m.

    I've never heard of this kind of mistake before, but I believe Fedora will make sure it doesn't happen again.

  • NEVER apologize for being white Sep 9, 7:43 p.m.

    Sorry but there is absolutely NO excuse for that kind of stupidity. Thank goodness it didn't cost them. There is no way in the world anyone playing college ball at any position, at any time, anywhere, no matter what the ref said, and even high as a kite, that shouldn't know what to do on the toss. Period! That just blows my mind! Was in the stands scratching my head when they kicked off to start the second
    half.

  • trueblue0100 Sep 9, 7:18 p.m.

    Guess there needs to be a class for team captains in what to say when the other team defers to... View More

    — Posted by lec02572

    Maybe that's what happened when your mom deferred to your dad!

  • trueblue0100 Sep 9, 7:16 p.m.

    TBK - Why don't you just stay on the red rager side and make your comments there. Nothing you say here really matters, because your comments are always anti-UNC which is always expected. You have more than often made a fool of yourself and you continue to do so. You've never responded to anything I've said and it's obvious as to why. I have your number and it's ZERO (0)! You once said that you didn't wish the worst for UNC and you are a liar. You rag on UNC so bad that that has to be your intention. Stop making a fool of yourself and spend more time worrying about what's happening at cow-paddy college. Don't you have a radio station or some other fictidious media stream to listen to? The cows are awaiting!

  • trueblue0100 Sep 9, 6:43 p.m.

    You can't fix stupid. LOL

    — Posted by TruthBKnown Banned Again03

    Exactly right! You heard it from the horse's mouth and who would know better? When you've been so stupid for so long, your opinion is accepted. Excellent self analysis clown-boy!!!!!! LOL, LOL, LOL

  • heelsforever Sep 9, 6:20 p.m.

    Never want to hear the "I'm amphibious" story again.
    UNC wins! Who flubs the coin toss... View More

    — Posted by NCSU72

    Who watches his player punch another player in the face breaking his nose and then later refers to his player (the puncher) as "the real victim"?

  • iron fist Sep 9, 5:57 p.m.

    Does it really matter? UNC won the game.

  • NCSU72 Sep 9, 5:42 p.m.

    Never want to hear the "I'm amphibious" story again.
    UNC wins! Who flubs the coin toss and then blames it on the ref?
    Seems the coin toss decisions should be Football 101 -- wait, maybe that's one of those classes with no attendance required. . . .

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