So, you want to win a nail-biter?
There’s no secret formula to churning out victories in high-pressure finishes, of course. From home-run plays to big-time blunders, there are so many factors that go into a team winning or losing in these all-too-important games.
However, some SEC coaches have tips on what it takes to survive these sweatfests.
ESPN’s Greg Ostendorf collected comments from Florida’s Jim McElwain, Tennessee’s Butch Jones and Auburn’s Gus Malzahn about the topic. As highlighted by ESPN’s Phil Steele, 23 of the 56 SEC games last year were decided by eight points or fewer, representing nearly half of the conference’s games.
Here are snippets of the comments from each of the coaches:
McElwain: “I think a lot of it has to do with how you prepare for those situations, putting your guys in as many simulated ways as you can throughout the year.”
Jones: “I also think it’s making critical plays in critical moments of the game. It’s easy to point back and point fingers and blame at one thing. It’s never one or two things.”
Malzahn: “In our league, there are always two or three plays that usually determine a close game, and if you execute and you’re prepared, you have a chance.”
It stands to reason the team that executes the best late will come out on top. Still, that’s easier said than done, as shown time and time again.
Prepare for more memorable finishes this fall.