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?
How do you learn to do that? Is that from live reps?
“Reps, practice, trusting yourself, and having confidence.”