Today’s Topic: Why Practice Can Only Do So Much For Quarterbacks
Being an elite college quarterback is a full-time job.
The amazing part is that those 50 weeks per year are spent on preparing for just 13 or 14 Saturdays per year, and the irony is that those 36 or 37 weeks can only prepare a quarterback so much for the games that he will be playing.
While this spring’s 15 practices and countless meetings were a positive experience for Ohio State quarterbacks Matthew Baldwin and Justin Fields, nothing will have them ready for game two like game one.
“I think that when you’re in the meeting room and you’re learning the offense, it’s one thing to say it, it’s one thing to see it on film, it’s another thing to do it on 7-on-7 when there’s no rush, and then when the rush is going,” head coach Ryan Day explained.
“It’s all a progression. You can’t simulate all that. There’s nothing you can do. You have to play the game. So there’s so many things that go into it. The protection, and it’s reps. It’s experience. It’s going through it all. The more you know when you step on the field, the more you’re prepared, the better off you’re going to be. But there’s nothing that replaces experience. So the more these guys get a chance to play and run the offense, the better they’ll be.”
Both Fields and Baldwin found that out in Saturday’s spring game. For Fields, he saw game action a dozen times for Georgia last year, but has only simulated it with the Buckeyes.
For redshirt freshman Matthew Baldwin, however, all he has known has been practice. While the scrimmages like the spring game are a good simulation, it’s still a pretty controlled environment, and nobody is out to hurt the quarterbacks.
And when you see some inaccuracies in the spring game, it should not come as a surprise.
“Getting your feet in the ground, the timing of everything. How fast it’s moving. Maybe there’s a defensive lineman that flashes in front of your face and being able to move your feet,” Day said. “We have to drill that, and we have to get better at that, so those things don’t happen. But again, if you’ve never done it with a real guy rushing at you, it’s very, very different. So the more times they get it, the better they’ll be.”