One-Play One-on-One: Chris Wormley

One-Play One-on-One: Chris Wormley Comment Count

Adam Schnepp November 22nd, 2016 at 10:02 AM


[Eric Upchurch]

I saw Chris Wormley on the list of players available to the media Monday and knew that I wanted to talk to him. I didn’t know exactly which play I’d talk to him about; it’s a heck of a luxury to have blind faith in a player’s weekly wrecking of a tight end. Sure enough, I found multiple examples of Wormley taking on a poor, unfortunate tight end after going through the tape. I picked this one because it allowed the opportunity to discuss proper technique when taking on a tight end as well as what a DE sees when he’s flowing down the line of scrimmage to make a tackle.

What did you see in their alignment as you were getting set?

“We knew all along that play set-up. We watched film on it. The tight end was off the line and I knew I was either going to get a reach block from the tackle or cut-off from the tight end. I got a cut-off from the tight end, and usually when a tight end’s on me usually it’s not a good thing for the opposite team. I saw the play and then being the guy that needs to make a play, I made the play.”

Were they tipping run/pass with the back’s alignment?

“You know, they were actually really good at the play-action pass, thinking it’s a run and then trying to get off and pass rush, so I think they did a good job at that. When it’s third down you kind of know it’s a pass, so we’ll be ready for it.”

You said the tight end was trying to cut you off. Technique-wise, what’s the proper technique when a tight end’s trying to do that in terms of your first step, where you want to put your hands, etc.?

“Especially for us, we’re reading the tackle and then depending on what he does your eyes shift to either the tight end or you get your hands on the tackle. My eyes shifted to the tight end, I got my hands on him, and there’s an escape drill that we do every day that comes in handy when you need to get off a block and then make a play.”

As you get your hands on him, are you able to see the mesh point in the backfield to see that the back’s getting the handoff or is the tight end too far in front of you?

“I think it all depends on the certain type of play, but for that play specifically you get your hands on the tight end, you extend, you escape, and then you try to find the ball. If the guy’s still on you it’s kind of hard to make a tackle, so you’ve got to get the defender off you first and then go make the play.”

When you dove into that gap it looked like you might have had it prediagnosed. Was that the case were you thought you knew where it was going to go, or was it more instinctual?

“Yeah. All through the week last week we repped that play. We repped the two different plays that it could have been. Just being a college football player for four years now you can kind of read a tackle and his stance, a tight end and his stance, and see what they’re doing. It’s a play I had to make and I made it.”

When you’re almost airborne like that and trying and make a tackle, what’s the most important thing technique-wise? Is it hand placement?

“I think getting a good base and a good shoulder on the guy. Wrapping is pretty key, especially now with people just trying to throw a shoulder in there or down at the legs. You’ve got to wrap up is the most important thing.”


One-Play One-on-One: Jake Butt

One-Play One-on-One: Jake Butt Comment Count

Adam Schnepp November 15th, 2016 at 10:01 AM


[Eric Upchurch]

When I was thinking about the plays Jake Butt made on Saturday, the one that immediately came to mind was a third-down conversion on a drag route that he caught with one hand and locked in with two fingers. That shallow route ended up being Michigan’s second-longest pass play of the evening, and as you’ll read below, a lot more went into that than just catching and running. As always, the video is at the bottom of the post and can be slowed down to 0.5x 0.25 speed if you open in Youtube and change the settings in the bottom right corner; I highly advise you watch the play slowed down.

What was the first thing you noticed when you lined up?

“I knew there was a wider guy outside of Ian [Bunting]. I was running a shallow route, Ian had a corner route, so first thing I’m thinking about is my release, whether or not I’m going to be able to get inside that backer or whether I’m going to have to take a longer route.

“Saw that, read I can get inside of him, but I saw I think they had two backers in the box; one of them kind of carried Ian vertically and I saw another linebacker that was eyeing the quarterback, and I knew he’d have to pick up my shallow, so I knew I was either going to have to sit it down or continue running. I saw he was flat-footed and staring at Wilton so I thought I could pass him up.

“I knew we had a post-wheel combination on the other side that was gonna carry those guys out of the way, so if I could just get past him I’d have a little bit of extra space. Did that, Wilton put the ball where only I could get it, and honestly, for a second there he put his hand in front and I couldn’t see the ball. I just kind of trusted where it would be. Caught it and then just tried to get as much as I could after the ball.

“I saw another guy running and I saw Desmond King down the sideline. I wanted to stiff arm him, and in the process of stiff-arming him I got my legs taken out a little bit. Big third-down play for us and big conversion.”

After you catch the ball and you’re turning the corner, as you said, you’ve got a guy trailing you and King in front of you. When you’re looking at King and trying to get upfield, what are you looking at? Are you looking at his hips or his shoulders or his pursuit angle?

“I could see his eyes, the way he stood up initially. Usually when guys stand up that’s so they can get ready to go low and take out your knees. But I had my hand on the one guy stiff-arming him, otherwise I would have tried to lower my shoulder and truck-stick him a little bit. I knew he was taking out my knees, but I just stiff-armed him and got as many yards as I could.”

Is that guy who’s trailing to the right a consideration or are you mainly looking at the guy upfield and trying to make a move on him?

“You kind of have to consider him just because they’re converging on you a little bit. I knew—I thought if King wasn’t there or came a little bit later, I would have shedded that other guy, but in the process of shedding him I had to lower and they kind of did a good little gang tackle there.”

To step back for a second, as you release and you’re getting into the drag, that’s when you know the middle linebacker is going to cover you? Postsnap?

“Yeah. The way their defense plays, someone’s going to have to carry a crossing route there. With him eyeing Wilton, he would feel me running across and I knew I could just reduce my route a little bit so he wouldn’t have an angle to intercept it and then Wilton just kind of put it on the money and I turned it up from there.”

Since this is an interview about one play, what’s the single most memorable play for you in your career here?

“Oh, shoot…let’s hope it hasn’t happened yet.”


One-Play One-on-One: Wilton Speight

One-Play One-on-One: Wilton Speight Comment Count

Adam Schnepp November 9th, 2016 at 10:02 AM



Sure, I could have picked one of the inch-perfect bombs Wilton Speight unleashed. Could have gone with one of the throws where he stepped up, spun away from a rusher, and unloaded on the move, too. Those plays, though technically excellent and certainly worthy of further analysis, don’t have the same panache as a 6’6” quarterback taking flight for his first career rushing touchdown. I had a chance to go in-depth with Speight on his 10-yard run at the end of the first quarter.

What did you see when you got to the line?

“I saw bracket coverage, so I knew that Jake Butt was gonna have to do something special to get open. I gave him a chance but they doubled him pretty well. Felt the rush there on the edge and realized there was nobody spying me in the middle because they were running the bracket 2-man, and then so I just hitched up twice and took off. I don’t know what I was doing when I got to the end zone. It just kind of happened in the spur of the moment.”

Oh yeah? So that wasn’t premeditated?

“No, not at all. Not at all, because I didn’t think I was going to have a rushing touchdown more than a QB sneak. That’s God’s honest truth. I don’t know. I just jumped up and everyone thought it looked like the Jumpman [logo].”

But that’s not intended?

“No, not at all.”

Have you seen that kind of defense before? With Coach Durkin having coached here before, was that familiar to you?

“Yeah, yeah. Coach Fisch always tells us the best checkdown versus 2-man defense is the quarterback scramble. So I was able to do that and it worked it out.”

Were you waiting to see whether they manned up Higdon as he split out to see if you’d have room in the middle to run?

“Yeah, I mean, I knew they were going to. I knew they were going to presnap, yeah.”

Is there a certain number of reads that you’re coached to make before you take off, or are you--

“That’s just a feel thing. Yeah, it’s just—obviously I want to go through all of my reads, but once that internal clock goes off and it’s time to take off, then so be it.”

As you get near the goal line after taking off, what’s going through your mind? It’s okay if it was the Drake song.

[laughs] “No, I was just so pumped. Fired up. Tossed the ball to the ref so I could go celebrate with my teammates.”


One-Play One-on-One: Karan Higdon

One-Play One-on-One: Karan Higdon Comment Count

Adam Schnepp November 1st, 2016 at 10:01 AM



In yesterday’s press conference, Jim Harbaugh said that Karan Higdon gets to the hole faster than any other back on the roster. He received more touches than any other player in the fourth quarter, and Harbaugh said that was in large part because of State’s edge pressure. On his longest carry of the game, Higdon showed that he, too, can exert some pressure on the edge.

In the third quarter, Higdon took a toss on 2nd and 11 and dipped and ducked from the edge to the inside for 11 yards. I had the opportunity to ask him about that particular run:

With the initial motion on the play and then motioning back across the formation to the right, do you think you got them out of their run fit?

“Yeah. Yeah, I definitely think the double motion threw the defense off. We have a lot of different plays that come out of that same exact type of motion and formation, so it definitely threw them off.”

It looked like a pretty vanilla front at first, just a basic 4-3. When you lined up, what were you seeing?

“I just look at the ‘backers, the ‘backers and the safety rotation because they’re trying to dictate where I go.”

As the ball’s pitched, what are you looking for?

“How the defense flows. If they flow over the top, I can cut under. If they underpursue me, I can outrun them.”

As you got to the edge you have Magnuson there and you cut off of him. How are you coached to do that? Is there a certain depth you’re supposed to be at or are you waiting for him to initiate the defender?

“Trusting my instincts. Just trusting my instincts and reading his key block.”

And as you cut there, a safety shows up in the hole. What do you remember thinking in that moment?

“I don’t think. If you’re thinking, you’re not playing, so I just react. Run to react.”

So for you, you’re in that moment just making a cut off instinct rather than knowing you want to go outside to inside or inside to outside?

“Yes, sir.”

How do you learn to do that? Is that from live reps?

“Reps, practice, trusting yourself, and having confidence.”


One-Play One-on-One: Ben Braden

One-Play One-on-One: Ben Braden Comment Count

Adam Schnepp October 25th, 2016 at 10:00 AM



If you asked me back in August where Ben Braden would play if he wasn’t at left guard, I probably would have told you tight end because, I mean, trains and things. I can guarantee that I wouldn’t have mentioned left tackle, yet that’s where Braden started on Saturday. He did a nice job in his first game on the outside, and after rewatching the game his smoothness working to the second level stood out. I found a play in one of the highlight videos where Braden flings a DE upfield before taking off and getting into a guy long enough for De’Veon Smith to get at least 10 extra yards, and I figured I’d ask him about it.

It’s hard to tell exactly from the camera angle, but it looked like he got his arm into you and then you were able to use that to push him past you. Is that what happened, and do you want him to make contact so that you can throw him upfield a little bit more?

“On that one I’m just trying to reach and get to him. It’s kind of whoever makes contact first but yeah, once you’re locked up with a guy you kind of feel how he’s moving and move off that. That goes for second level and the D-line as well.”

So there’s not one thing you want him to do so much as just feel the momentum and use it against them?

“Yeah. I mean, it depends on how the play’s designed, but yeah.”

What were you guys doing in the game that made that draw so successful?

“Practiced it a lot during the week. Tried to focus on little things. Like, talk with coach and say ‘What do I need to do to make this as fast as possible?’ It’s something we’ve had in our pocket for a while. Just working and trying to be the best I could during the week on it so when I got to the game it was natural.”

Conversely, what was their line doing that made it effective?

“They were a penetrating defense. We knew they were going to rush up the field and just kind of tried to play off that and use that to our advantage when we can, but you know, just try to prepare for it as best as possible.”

With them using the Tampa-2 as their base, when you released to the second level were you expecting that linebacker to be there, or when you were releasing were you just looking for a white jersey and somebody to hit?

“Well, that one I was kind of expecting him to kind of be in that general area, but it depends on our backfield and what we’re doing,”

What’s the most difficult aspect of blocking on the second level?

“Usually guys are quicker. You know, just trying to keep your feet moving up to the second level and staying on your block and moving your feet through your block once you make contact. A lot of guys like to kind of think about—they’re kind of thinking about it on the way up there and they’ll get there and once they make contact they’ll stop their feet. So, just trying to keep the little things moving once you get up there and practicing that and getting repetition at it so that way you can naturally do it.”

This is outside the scope of one play, but what’s the biggest difference between tackle and guard? Is it footwork or hand placement?

“Footwork’s a little different. Obviously things are on the edge. The speed is definitely different. Guys are defeinitely quick on the inside, but as far as general overall speed, you just see a lot more things that are going on [outside] as opposed to inside, where you’re working with the center or you’re working with a tackle. As a tackle you’re kind of more on an island.”


One-Play One-on-One: Wilton Speight

One-Play One-on-One: Wilton Speight Comment Count

Adam Schnepp October 4th, 2016 at 10:00 AM



If you watch the video at the bottom of the post, you’ll see very quickly that third-down plays had not gone all that well for Michigan to this point in the game. Now, facing another third-and-long in the middle of the fourth quarter, Michigan was faced with another convert-or-punt situation should they choose to pass. Michigan went five wide and spread Wisconsin’s defense just thin enough for Speight to both have time to throw and to get the matchup he was looking for to his left. I started describing to Wilton the purpose of these posts, and as soon as I mentioned which play I wanted to talk about he was ready:

“That was probably the biggest play of the game, bigger than that touchdown throw, because that set that up. We hadn’t been as successful as we’d like to on third downs, but motioned out the running back and bumped the linebackers out a little bit, and I knew I was going to my left. Didn’t know if I was going to the inside or outside slant, but their linebacker dropped underneath the inside slant and I just ripped the ball to Darboh and he plucked it with his fingertips and dove with it for the first down. That was big time.”

What do you remember about their alignment before the snap?

“Yeah, I knew to not judge anything until our running back, De’Veon, motioned out. As soon as he motioned out, I kind of saw them bump and adjust exactly how we wanted to, so that’s right when I knew I was going to work the boundary. My eyes kind of lit up and I ripped it in there.”

On that topic, once you move De’Veon out, you see a safety comes down to cover Grant Perry, you’ve got Cichy split out wide, do your reads change based on those matchups, or do you have a very rigid progression you’re working through?

“Well, presnap when De’Veon went out there I said, ‘Okay, I’m going to my left. I’m going to work these two guys.’ Then it was just the progression. I start with the inside slant, and if that gets taken away I go to my outside slant. Darboh ran an incredible route, got spacing off of the corner, and made a play.”

As far as breaking down a defense, as soon as you see they’ve set, do you have a way you do that every time? Has Coach Harbaugh taught you to work through a certain way, like first read safeties, then linebackers, etc.?

“Yeah, yeah. Harbaugh and Fisch teach me that it’s a three to five second max of decision-making of what’s the front, where are the linebackers, what’s the secondary doing, are the corners over, is it one high, is it two high, are the linebackers cheating up, does it look like they’re blitzing, where’s the shade, stuff like that. So there’s a lot that goes through on a presnap, and it helps, though, when you know what’s going on.”

What do you remember seeing immediately after the snap? Was it the off coverage on Darboh?

“Yeah, off coverage on Darboh. I immediately saw someone sink underneath the inside slant, but I knew that window was going to be open on the outside slant. Yeah, it was a good play.”

It looked like a perfectly placed ball. On a five-yard slant like that, walk me through where a perfectly placed ball would be in terms of what the receiver wants and what you want.

“A little bit out in front, depending on where the corner or the defender is. If he’s right on his back, you like to put it right in his gut, right on his numbers. It’s a chest throw so the corner or the defender can’t get around it. He had a little bit of space so I wanted to lead him, and he likes catching things with his hands, so just let him do that.”



One-Play One-on-One: Khalid Hill

One-Play One-on-One: Khalid Hill Comment Count

Adam Schnepp September 27th, 2016 at 10:03 AM

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This week I talked to Khalid Hill about his first-quarter touchdown, which came on fourth-and-goal from the Penn State one-yard line. The goal-to-go sequence was set up after Hill caught a pass from Speight on third down at the Penn State 17 and rumbled to the three-yard line. A one-yard loss on first down, incomplete pass on second down, and two-yard pass on third down set up Hill’s fourth-down carry. Check out the GIF at the bottom of the post to see exactly how the run unfolded.

Penn State’s defense had only faced one other fourth-and-goal this year, and even then they kicked it. I’m guessing with their personnel changes at linebacker and all there wasn’t a whole lot of film on how they were going to line up, especially with you guys split so tight. How tough does that make it when there’s not much film to refer to for what a defense is going to do?

“You kind of can figure out what they’re going to do as the game goes on. We do a good job of communicating to our coaches what we see on the field and what we might see, so our coaches do a great job of gameplanning and putting in what they think might be on the field so we have a similar image of what might be on the field.

“Like, on that goal-line play we ran the ball and we knew what they were going to be in. The one thing we didn’t know was that they were going to be knifing their ends in. When the thought went in to run the ball for the touchdown they were setting the knife on the edge, so I kinda knew once I got the ball I was going to press the line of scrimmage, make the linebackers bite, make the D-ends knife in, and then bounce to the outside, and that’s what I did and found a hole in the end zone. Coaches do a great job of trying to figure out what they might do, do a great job of finding film of what they might do and research on coaches and stuff like that.”

With the presnap motion and Asiasi going back and forth there, it looked like the defensive back might have overreacted after he ran to the middle. Did he get one gap too far outside?

“I wouldn’t say that. I think he moved right to where Asiasi wanted him, because he was able to kick him out where I could find a hole right inside of him. I mean, we have so much motion and stuff like that at the goal line that teams tend to do that. Certain teams tend to overrun stuff and have a hard time getting back, so we catch them in a mess-up and find a hole and get in the end zone. That’s what basically it does. We do motions to see what they’re in, to see whether they’re in man or a certain blitz or something. If that was a mess-up on his part it worked out for me.”

Related to what you were saying before, on this particular play the defensive tackle knifed inside and you were about to get engulfed. Before a play, do you know sort of ‘if X happens, I’m going to bounce to here’ or do you see a guy in front of you and just go wherever you see daylight? 

“Pretty much I was in my stance and they shifted. The D-tackle shifted outside, and I was going to hit it where he was. At first he was right over—inside, if there was hole in front of Kalis I was going to run at Kalis and just sort of push Kalis but he moved out, and I was like, Okay, it’s going to be either I run straight ahead or I’m going to bounce it.’

“Like Coach says, just follow your tracks and your tracks will take you where you want to be. But also following your tracks will put defenders in a spot that they don’t want to be in, because, like I said, if I ran straight ahead the backers came down and got Ty. Tyrone Wheatley Jr. did a great job of collecting the backer, and I was able to go around him and get in the end zone. Asiasi did a great job of kicking out the corner or whoever that was on the outside and I was able to find a hole.”

What’s harder: scoring on a dive or finding the right GIF to respond to Stribling or McCray or Dawson?

[/laughs] “Finding the right gif to respond to those guys, man. It was actually crazy. When we first found out GIFs were a part of twitter we just went on a rampage. It was funny. Actually, on the iOS10 I can have gifs on my phone, so we’ll just be texting them to each other. It’s crazy. I’ll show you. [/takes his phone out and opens a text chain] Like if you press this you got gifs already here like a message board. So yeah, it’s cool.”

I’ve gotta download this tonight. So, if you keep getting in the end zone, are we going to see a touchdown dance? As one of the original members of the running man challenge group [Michigan edition], it seems like--

“Yeah, yeah, yeah. So, I said it last week but on the first play of the game I gave up a sack for a touchdown and Wilton got hit pretty hard. I made it my business this week to come out and produce quick, off the bat, to get the first catch and take it down to the goal line. I thought we were going to score after that so I was like, I didn’t score but at least I contributed. Coach said ‘Hey’ and called me and I scored, and I was just so relieved that I was like, ahhhh, let me celebrate with my teammates. I don’t want to get flagged, but you got a dance coming soon. You got a dance coming soon. Everybody, my boys back home and everybody’s like, ‘Why you ain’t dancing? You love dancing!’ You’ll see something soon.”



One-Play One-on-One: Maurice Hurst

One-Play One-on-One: Maurice Hurst Comment Count

Adam Schnepp September 20th, 2016 at 10:00 AM



This week we’re talking about Mo Hurst’s fourth-quarter sack, which you may remember as the play a running back chose to take on a blitzing Jabrill Peppers and a quarterback ended up SO MAD that he included a towel as his accoutrement du jour.

What did you notice first when you lined up on that play?

“I think just noticing the offensive line. We had a [redacted] call—or no, we had [redacted (figure it out yourself, PSU football interns that report to Franklin)] on that one. It’s designed to let someone open. I think the person that was supposed to be open was Pep, but the running back ended up picking him up, so I had the opportunity to get free and made the most of it. Almost missed it, but glad his towel was in there tight.”

On something like that, was Colorado tipping run/pass or were they pretty good about that during the game?

“I think there were definitely some tips we got and picked up throughout the game, especially with their running backs and their guards. Changes in stance were a big thing for us. Yeah, it was something that we definitely picked up and would communicate during the game.”

On this particular play it was obviously 3rd and 12, so are you pinning your ears back for an all-our pass rush, or, because they use the screen game so much, do you have to wait, watch the guard, and see if he’s going to release?

“I think we were just pinning our ears back, especially at that point in the game. It was pretty certain that they were going to pass on third and long, so yeah, definitely pin our ears back and try to get after them.”

It looked like you feigned outside before going inside with the swim move to get over [the guard]. Is that something from watching film that you know you’re going to do before the snap, or is it a sort of muscle memory kicking in when the ball’s snapped?

“That’s part of the defense that we were running. Pep’s blitzing B gap so I take on the guard. That’s what I tried to do and it came free.”

On that play, you’re lined up at 3-tech. On the same series, one play before you’re at nose. Are you able to study each guy’s tendencies that you’re going to line up across from or is that just too time consuming and you rely on technique at some point?

“Being a nose and a tackle, which is where I played throughout the game—I played both—you study the center and both guards a lot. Not really the tackles; I’m not going against them. Yeah, we definitely study the interior guys.”

What’s more difficult to get: a sack where you have to grab a guy and rip him down by the towel or a 5-star Uber review?

“Probably the Uber review. There’s a little less in your control. I mean, there would be times where I thought I gave a great ride and I didn’t quite get the results I wanted and I was pretty frustrated. There’s times you want to call them and just be like, ‘Hey, what’s up? Why didn’t you give me 5 stars? What did I do wrong?’ But some people are just not in a good mood that day. That can change how your ratings.”

Are you able to still do that during the season or is that on hold for now?

“That’s on hold for now. Maybe it’ll come back in the winter or in the summer, but definitely was a fun experience over the summer.”

You mentioned what the call was earlier. Is that something that Don Brown brought or is that something that’s been here and you’ve worked with Coach Mattison on [in the past]?

“There’s a lot of calls that we have. I think—we’ve had a lot of blitzes since we’ve been here. A lot of them—I mean, there’s only so many ways you can blitz a team, so a lot of them is stuff that we’ve already done before. Maybe a slight variation to things, but definitely something that we’ve worked on before, especially going through three defensive coordinators. I think we’ve probably seen every blitz that could possibly be called in a 3-4 and a 4-3, so that’s big for us.”


One-Play One-on-One: Grant Perry

One-Play One-on-One: Grant Perry Comment Count

Adam Schnepp September 6th, 2016 at 10:13 AM



This is the first in what will hopefully be an ongoing series of one-on-one interviews in which I ask players to go in-depth about a certain play from last week’s game. This week I talked to Grant Perry about his touchdown catch that came on a nicely run corner route in the middle of the first quarter. Don’t remember it? Just watch the gif at the bottom of the post.

When you got to the line, what did you see?

“I actually saw a coverage that we didn’t get all week in practice. It was a bracket coverage where they had one guy outside of me and one inside of me, so pre-snap I was not expecting to get the ball. But ran a good route, Wilton saw it and lofted it right over the guy’s head. It was perfect.”

It looked like you faked the post to the inside before running the corner.


Is that something that is built into the route or are you guys allowed to improvise as you see different types of coverage?

“Yeah, we kind of just improvise on different kinds of coverage. Especially when there’s two dudes over you, you’ve got to kind of just give something one way, trick them out the other way, and then go back another way. So it’s really just about getting open. No real name to that. It’s just the art of route running.”

In the postgame press conference Coach Harbaugh said that was about as good as you can throw a corner route. As far as Wilton goes, would you say that’s one of his best-thrown routes that you saw through camp and whatnot?

“Yeah. I mean, I wasn’t surprised by it. We throw that during practice, after practice. Getting extra work, we’ll throw that route because that’s a route you run from the slot a lot. I wasn’t surprised by it. I’m sure he was very happy with the throw. Capping a 98-yard drive after an interception probably feels pretty good. Yeah, no surprise on that one there.”

You mentioned that you didn’t think you were going to get the ball. At what point did you know it was coming?

“Kind of when I broke him off outside and stepped inside. Went back to the corner and I looked back and he was trailing me, and I just saw the ball. So when the ball hit my hands I knew it came to me.”

So you turn to look as you get into the corner route?

“Yeah, step and look. Yep.”

What route would you say you’re most comfortable with and what’s your favorite route to run?

“I like running any route, to be honest. The corner route is a good route to run because you get to run deep and run away from people. Especially if it’s in the end zone. So that’s always fun. Really any route in this system is a good route to run.”

As we talked about earlier, you’re allowed to improvise here and there. Your route running is very precise; we can see that on film. What are some drills or other things you do to work on that?

“Coach Fisch, Coach Drew [Terrell], Coach Ryan [Nehlen], they put us through all these great drills. There’s a lot of cone drills we do working on cutting. There’s a tennis ball drill we do where we pick up the ball and work on getting low. And then stuff at the line of scrimmage trying to get the DB off you. Stuff like that really simulates and helps get the feel for it in the game.”



MGoExclusive: One-on-One with Jourdan Lewis

MGoExclusive: One-on-One with Jourdan Lewis Comment Count

Adam Schnepp August 30th, 2016 at 11:00 AM



Last week when we talked to you, you said one of the things you were working on was getting your head around at the right time. From a technique perspective, when is the right time to get your head around?

“When you’ve got a receiver under control. When you understand that he’s not doing any other route except for a fade, and that’s just going off your instincts, too. Just knowing that, okay, I feel like it’s time to turn my head around. Just being in phase, being in the hip, and going up and being a playmaker.”

So part of that is just experience?

Yeah, and watching film. Honestly, that helps a lot, just seeing if they like back-shoulders or if they just like the normal fade, stuff like that. So just going up there and understanding what formations those guys like to do that and when they like to do it.”

One question I have is about off coverage. I know you play press man most of the time, but from a fundamental perspective, in off coverage what’s the most important thing? When I was talking to Coach Zordich earlier in the year he said in press you look at the belt buckle, then--

“It’s still the eyes. Your eyes are the most important thing in football, and just to watch the waist because the waist doesn’t really move. It’s understanding where your end points are and your keys and stuff like that and just knowing what to do. Just watching him and then using your tools to succeed.”

Is the corner’s first step more important in press or in off?

“The first step? In press, honestly. When you talk about the first step, if you misplace your steps in press that’s the difference between a breakup and a catch. In off coverage, I believe that it can be the same thing, honestly, but it’s more critical in press.”

Hawaii has one receiver who’s 6’5 and some receivers who are 5’10. I know you can’t say who you’re going to be matched up on, but in general when you have some guys who are really tall and some who are shorter, does your technique change at all?

“It could. You could be a little bit overaggressive with the bigger guys because they have a lot more surface to put your hands on and then a lot of times they’ll be a little bit slower than the little guys. A smaller guy, you’ve just got to be patient and move your feet and stuff like that. Yeah, you have to gameplan and understand who you’re checking.”

With some of the younger guys on the roster, guys like David Long and Lavert Hill, what’s impressed you most about where they’ve come from the beginning of camp until now?

“The way they learn, honestly, and just how fast they learn and have picked up the playbook, and that’s really what it is. I think that’s helped both of them.”

What about other guys in the corner group like Stribling and Jeremy Clark?

“Just experience, honestly. Having those guys play last year a whole bunch of snaps that really helps them, and just getting a feel going out there and playing.”