Matt Waldman’s RSP Boiler Room shows how NFL Draft prospect Patrick Laird and former NFL running back Chris Johnson approach the same scenario.
NFL players offer an abundance of lessons for college players and would make them instantly more productive. Patrick Laird is a productive college back but he could take his game to another level with one footwork lesson from Chris Johnson: Point the toe where you want to go.
It’s a simple statement with a few steps underpinning it. Watch Laird attempt to jump-cut from the Oregon State defensive tackle penetrating into the backfield and you’ll see the runner leap more than a yard from the exchange point with the quarterback and land within range of the opponent.
Then watch Chris Johnson point his toe to the sideline as he takes the exchange with his quarterback and avoids the penetrator easily for a large gain.
Johnson may be one of the fastest and agile running backs to ever play in the NFL, but this move is elegant in its simplicity and Laird doesn’t need Johnson’s elite athletic ability to acquire it. If anything, Laird’s attempted solution is too athletic for the scenario.
One of the greatest mistakes improvisational performers make on stage is overcomplicating things. They automatically choose the most technically challenging path when they should be seeking elegance. Musicians or actors often try to fill up the empty space where leaving space has the optimal effect.
Laird has empty space between him and the defender but in his attempt to find a solution, fills up that space with a leap into a jump cut. If he can learn to process what he sees a step faster, that step will feature a toe pointed where he wants to go and his hips will be in the position to take the trip.
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