So technically, it wasn't a clipboard.
Lane Kiffin really wants you to know it wasn't actually a clipboard that he launched into orbit on Saturday, prematurely (but correctly) celebrating a long touchdown pass to Elijah Moore.
That toss went off. Quite literally, Kiffin was able to throw his *not clipboard* what appeared to be 50 feet in the air (we'll get to that later) and it landed far enough into the stands of Vaught-Heminway that the staff had to send a grad assistant into the stands to receive the coach's *not clipboard.*
"Everyone keeps saying clipboard. That's kinda like really old. You don't have clipboards, well I guess Gus (Malzahn) does. Most of us don't have clipboards... They're call sheets," Kiffin said. "Usually you can't throw them that far, but that thing really travelled. It was a little like harder than normal. I've probably done that, but it's never gone into the stands, that's for sure.
I just get excited, like I said after the game, when plays work, and there are schematic plays, especially if you're audibling at the time, and you get them in a matchup that your audibling for a reason. And then, the players make the plays. I was nervous in that game. A lot of that's relief energy coming out. "
But there are more important things here than whether or not it was actually a clipboard tossed. How high did the play sheet go? What was the play sheet made of? How fast did Lane Kiffin run down that sideline? These questions need to be answered.
1. How high up did the play sheet go?
We're going to have to do a little math here – maybe some predicted physics. It won't be perfectly accurate but we're going to do our best.
On the SEC Network broadcast, the announcers predicted the play sheet landed 30 rows into the stands at Vaught-Heminway. Based on the video, and predicting a height of 6-feet for the graduate assistant, it's safe to assume row one of the Vaught is about 7-feet above the playing surface.
Now, Vaught-Heminway Stadium has two steps between each row of seating. Based on a standard Google search, the average step is 7.5-inches. This means, the play sheet landed 44.5-feet (over four stories) above the playing surface. (Math check: [30 rows x (7.5-inches x 2 steps per row)/12 inches per foot] + 7 feet to first row = 44.5 feet)
But, this is assuming the play sheet never went higher than row 30. For Kiffin to throw the sheet straight up from the sideline and land 30 rows deep, this is impossible by physics. We can assume wind played a decent factor in it getting 30 rows deep, which for this calculation we're just going to assume there's as much X distance as Y height between rows (15 inches). There's also somewhere around 10 yards (30 feet) from the sideline to the stands. So the clipboard had to travel roughly 67.5 feet away from the sideline to reach row 30.
It's trajectory would have had to look something like this.
Prediction: The play sheet hit at least 50 feet (five stories) off the ground, likely closer to 60 feet.
** Side note, for the sheet to hit 50 feet, Kiffin would have had to launch the sheet with an initial velocity of at least 40 mph. (This doesn't factor in wind or resistance and assumes a launch angle of 80-degrees, so it's mostly conjecture but it's fun to pontificate)**
2. What on earth was that play sheet made of, if it wasn't a clipboard?
Ok so this question Lane Kiffin actually answered.
It's not a clipboard, but Kiffin's play sheets are made from cardstock, and clearly a particularly dense brand of such. Player personnel analyst Michael Nysewander is actually the person who physically puts these together for gameday, and Kiffin admitted this one seemed a little thinker and heavier than usual.
3. How fast did Lane Kiffin run down the sidelines to greet his player and celebrate?
Not only did Kiffin launch his call sheet into orbit, he took off running down the sidelines. Starting at the Ole Miss 37 yard line, he's jogging until about the 50, when he tosses the play sheet. From the 50 until about the South Carolina 35, he's moving at what appears to be a pretty substantial clip for the 45-year-old head coach. So how fast was he going for that 15-yard stretch.
Hand timing the video three times using my iPhone stopwatch, I clocked 3.32s, 3.23s and 3.26s, for an average time of 3.27 seconds. So what is 3.27-seconds over 15-yards in football terms? It's a a 8.27-second 40-yard-dash...
I'd like to believe that isn't Kiffin's top speed, but it appears that he's putting in some real effort doing that 15-yard segment.
Prediction: Kiffin ran at a speed equivalent to a 8.27-second 40-yard-dash.
So what did we learn? Kiffin's arm is better than his cardio, but damn it's fun to watch this dude coach football.
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