Matt Waldman’s RSP Boiler Room showcases a run by North Dakota State Bison runner Bruce Anderson, a 2019 NFL Draft prospect whose ball security provides ancillary benefits to his production.
Football fans regard ball security as a vital but boring topic. There are a lot of things I love now that I initially found boring because I learned to appreciate the details. Once you develop an eye for the details, whatever you’re learning becomes far more fascinating.
Even if the topic of ball security bores you, this run from North Dakota State’s Bruce Anderson isn’t sleep-inducing material. Anderson’s stance, pad level, knee height, and ball security all work in conjunction to yield a powerful run.
However, it’s the ball security and Anderson’s understanding of how to move with a defender’s attack on the ball that protects the rock and at the same time earns Anderson 5-6 additional yards on the play.
A lot of people — including fans, media, scouts, and former players — will say Anderson’s move is “instinctive.” This is a mistake — even when there are occasions where players exhibit a behavior that hasn’t been drilled or practiced repeatedly or learned over the course of hundreds of carries.
Most behaviors on the field are learned, even if not directly taught — and far more are taught than people realize. The problem is that people think about lessons in the realm of sitting at a table or desk with a teacher standing in front of them discussing something on a whiteboard, a film clip, a slide, or typed on a sheet of paper.
Anderson most likely learned this behavior on his own from an experience where he went against the momentum of the defender and lost the ball and realized if he went with the momentum of the defender’s pull, he would have maintained possession. Just because a coach couldn’t take credit for it or it isn’t discussed in a meeting room (and I bet it is with many running back coaches of value), doesn’t discount the lesson.
In fact, the lesson holds greater value because it was self-discovery.
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