After reflection, Redblacks’ Rick Campbell would’ve punted instead of giving up safety

Redblacks head coach Rick Campbell has reflected and analyzed his late-game safety decision during Ottawa’s Week 7 loss to Calgary.

“Looking back I should’ve trusted my gut and I would’ve punted. I always evaluate myself. There were two options at that point,” Campbell said on TSN radio 1200 in Ottawa.

“One is to punt the ball and you’re probably going to have to end up defending somewhere around 35 to 40 yards of field position, and obviously not let them score a touchdown. Or you give up the safety and you kick-off and you hopefully can cover it, which we had earlier in the game, get ’em down somewhere around the 30-35-yard line and again defend a similar amount of field position and try to keep ’em out of field goal range.”

Campbell opted to give up a safety after the sputtering Jon Jennings-led offence couldn’t managed a first down following a key turnover forced by the defence. That cut the Calgary deficit to two points and meant the Stamps needed only a field goal to win.

“Looking back probably would’ve punted and just tried to make ’em score. They had just gone down on us and we forced a fumble on the two-yard line, which is a great play by one of our players,” Campbell said.

“It’s still not a cut and dry thing to me, but probably at the end of the day I’ll make them punt and make them drive all the way down and have to score. But it’s not one of those no-brainers to me.”

Terry Williams returned the ensuing kick-off 28 yards to the Calgary 50-yard line. Nick Arbuckle led a short drive to put the red and white in field goal range for the most accurate kicker in CFL history, Rene Paredes. He calmly split the uprights from 31 yards giving Calgary a 17-16 last-second decision.

“It’s thought of and talked about, I didn’t do it as some irrational decision,” Campbell said.

“I will say thinking back about it, it didn’t work out obviously, so it looks worse, but I probably would’ve punted and counted on our punt team to get a good punt and cover it.”

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