Only a fool of a head coach would go for it on fourth-and-long from deep in his own territory -- not just once, but every time, no matter what the situation.
Well, there's a coach at an Arkansas high school who does that, and the results show he is anything but a fool. He's a state champion, twice over.
Penn State hosts Kent State on Saturday, and visiting quarterback Spencer Keith played for that notable coach, perhaps the most innovative and certainly most peculiar one at any high school in the country.
Kevin Kelley, head coach at Pulaski Academy High School in Little Rock, Ark., is either a genius or a madman. Or both.
"I'm probably a dumb man if you ask a lot of people," Kelley said. "But as long as we keep winning around here, I don't care what people say. It's all about the win, and that's why we do what we do."
What Kelley's team does -- and what Kent State quarterback Keith did when he was in high school -- is pile up massive amounts of yards. Pulaski Academy has been the nation's No. 1 high school team in total yards two of the past three years, and in 2008 Keith led the squad to a state championship.
How do they do it?
"We don't punt the football," Kelley said.
To elaborate, the team NEVER punts the football.
It's a crazy philosophy, indeed, but Kelley figures, hey, they give you four downs to make 10 yards, so why give away one of those downs.
There is a method to his madness, but it's like listening to a math teacher. The long and short of it is Kelley says history shows punts generally net only 37 yards of field position, so instead of making that tradeoff, Pulaski Academy simply goes for it all the time.
The wacky system allowed Keith to throw for 5,310 yards and 70 touchdowns as a senior.
But if you think he's nothing but a system quarterback, you'd be mistaken. Search for him on YouTube and you'll find a video of some of his high school highlights. It shows a kid with a great arm making every throw a quarterback can make, either from the pocket or scrambling to his left or right.
"He's not a system quarterback," Kelley said. "He was in a good system and he made it fantastic."
Kelley's system has garnered him and his school tons of national attention and even a story in Sports Illustrated. He shares his strategy at coaching clinics around the country, and NFL and college coaches have picked his brain about the never-punt mentality.
In its simplest form, Kelley's players don't worry about whatever yardage they have to pick up through three downs. It's drilled into them, and especially to the quarterback, that third-and-8 isn't a big deal because there are still two downs to get those yards.
"Say we're on our own 35-yard line and we go for it on fourth down and don't make it, and they score a certain amount of time," Kelley said. "If we punt it and net 37 yards, how much more are they going to score from that spot on the field?"
He takes those odds every time, and it has worked. Kelley is in his seventh season at Pulaski Academy and, along with winning two state titles, his team has reached the championship game another time, the state semifinals five times and at least the quarterfinals every year.
When Keith's team won the state title in 2008, it had three 1,000-yard receivers, a 1,400-yard running back and led the nation with 7,800 yards of total offense.
The team had a streak of more than 20 games the past two years without punting once. Kelley admits there are some situations where it's beneficial, such as protecting a lead late, but added, "For the most part, you increase your chance to win a football game when you do not punt the football."
Also by onside kicking after almost every score, which is something else Pulaski Academy does each game.
Keith never flinched when he was running the wild formation in high school, but this isn't high school anymore. Kelley spoke with his former quarterback earlier this week and said the sophomore is nervous about Saturday's game at Penn State.
"He's a little mesmerized by it," Kelley said. "You're a high school kid and you see Penn State on television, [now] you know you're going in to play them. He's so excited about it. I told him, 'Look, don't be mesmerized.'"
Keith has completed 47-of-71 passes (66.2 percent) for 476 yards in Kent State's two games, tossing four TDs and three interceptions. He obviously can throw the football, but the Golden Flashes may not come into Happy Valley turning him loose on every play.
Kelley wishes they would.
"I hope Coach [Doug] Martin doesn't go in and want to play it conservative," he said. "I hope the coach says, 'Hey, we've got nothing to lose. Let's go for it and gamble a little bit.'"
Kelley's gamble clearly has paid off, and he said if he ever takes another job in high school or college, it will have to be with the understanding that he can run his system. He doesn't believe, however, that many other coaches will be so eager to try the cavalier approach.
"Human nature is such that, if you're going to do something as a coach, you don't want to do something that's different," Kelley said.
"People don't lose their jobs for punting the football," he added, "but they do lose their jobs for going for it on fourth down."
It would be fascinating to see more coaches follow Kelley's lead with this radical strategy, but don't count on that ever happening. The reward could be great, but the fear of failure, being ridiculed and getting fired is too great of a risk.
Cory Giger is the host of "Sports Central" from 4 to 6 p.m. daily on ESPN Radio 1430 WVAM. He can be reached at 949-7031 or email@example.com.