Today is a Saturday, which means there is a scrimmage today for the Ohio State Buckeyes. It is the second scrimmage of fall camp, and each one becomes more important than the last.
These are the days when coaches can be convinced by players that they need to see the field when the Saturdays actually start counting in the standings.
The players who will be counted on once the season begins are the ones who make plays when the situation is as live as it can get.
But the Buckeye coaches aren’t just looking for a guy who makes a play in the first quarter. Anybody should be capable of that.
“You better be able to make plays or you shouldn’t play,” receivers coach Zach Smith said. “It’s more of can you make plays consistently and can you when tired make plays.”
After all, if a player can’t make plays early, then he probably shouldn’t be on the team. Not to mention the not-so-tiny fact that no game has ever been won in the first quarter. (At least not since the 2014 Big Ten Championship Game.)
“If you’re fresh and can make a play, cool, man,” Smith said. “We recruited you, I hope so. It’s not that impressive.”
When it does become impressive, however, is towards the end of a scrimmage, on the brink of exhaustion. When all a player wants to do is take a breather. If a player steps up when he can barely stand up, that’s when he becomes noticeable.
That’s the playmaking a coach is truly looking for.
“If you can do that after an hour-and-a-half practice, you’re exhausted, it’s hard to run, and all of a sudden you can grit your teeth, fight through it, and go run a good route, get open on a press corner that’s a good player and make a play, you show me, ‘Alright, this kid he might be ready. He’s almost there,'” Smith said.
“In 10 days we’ll know who we’re going to get ready. And then it’s still a matter of who’s going to be ready when the foot hits the ball.”
Almost all receivers can catch, or they would not be there. Can they make and sustain a block?
Nice piece. Great point about making plays vs. making plays when it’s tough to make them.
I used to get more tired running in & out of the game when we would rotate then I did playing the game. I HATED it!!!!
Why not rotate your receivers so that they are not sucking gas in the fourth quarter. Sounds like bad coaching to play a player until he can’t perform at his best. Could Smith be our receiver problem?
They do rotate. That doesn’t mean you don’t still get tired.
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