Insiders: A Question On Instincts

I would like to know how hard you believe it is to evaluate the football IQ, coachability and instincts of potential recruits?
I am starting to think that that might be the single biggest thing lacking with this football team. There are too many athletes that were thought to be good talents that lack the ability to learn and adjust both during games and in practice.
It is hard to discuss this without naming names, but I will try.
This roster is dotted with players who not only can’t start, but can’t even get on the field. Some were highly regarded prospects that just cannot learn to a level to even get on the depth chart. They just can’t get it. They can’t even get through a single practice without making a mistake that makes the coaches lose faith in them.
Then there are the positions where there are so few options that players have been playing for years and still cannot even do the basics consistently. Tackling? Really? They cannot learn to tackle in four years? The sport is often called “Tackle Football”.
And the secondary is weak in every aspect of the game. Yes they make plays here and there. But overall they cannot recognize, react, look where they are supposed to be looking or even turn around to find the ball is pass coverage. Watching these guys the last three years has almost ruined watching games. And as bad as this group is, and I had such high hopes for them when they signed, there are others on the roster that can’t even get on the field because they are so much worse!
So back to my original question of, is it traditionally hard to evaluate the above stated areas? CBB prides himself in development, but too often the raw materials don’t seem to be being brought in.

The LSU depth chart shows no seniors on the offensive starting 11 (if not including Allen and Williams) and Paul Ramirez along with Jake Raulerson being the only seniors on the 2nd unit.

Defensively, there’s four seniors on the 1st team and three on 2nd team. Not always, but experience often equates to football IQ.

A lack of a pass rush can make any secondary look bad. A good pass rush can make a lesser talented secondary look much better.

Regarding pass rush…I would say that’s a top priority in this year’s recruiting class…I have been disappointed in Randy Ramsey to be honest…Sosa is playing well but is easily doubled on pass downs…when we blitz they don’t get there…need better pass rushers pure and simple.

Evaluation is critical. To me the hardest to evaluate is the offensive line. The really big kids dominate at the high school level. What you often can’t tell is how they will do against players their own size. You should be able to evaluate intensity. Seeing a practice to me is much better than anything else to judge that. But you still are unlikely to see that big kid play against someone who can match him in size. You won’t know if he can sustain that intensity against another big person until you get him in one of your own practices.

With all due respect this is not what I am talking about. I am talking instincts, reaction time, recognition, quickness rather than pure speed. I am not talking whether an O-lineman can manhandle someone.
While I agree that experience is important, Scoota Harris, as a sophomore shows far more instinct than half the seniors on the team.
I do not think this is an age or class issue. It is what they say Grant Morgan has and that his brother had in spades. Drew had the instincts that after securing the ball he knew just the right move to make to avoid on coming tacklers and get 15 extra yards.
I am talking about the number of dead spaces on the roster filled by players that do not get it and can’t get on the field. It is not that they don’t have talent, but they can’t learn the offense or can’t recognize things on the field or can’t see and react.
So my main questions concerns whether it is very difficult to tell while you are recruiting a player, watching film, talking to his coaches, etc to tell if they have these very important traits? I ask this because these traits plus leadership seem to be the key ingredients missing in this team. Ken Hamlin would add internal fire to the list. The true things that separate champions from players.

Great post Clay. I have always asserted skill players are MUCH easier to evaluate that linemen in high school. For the exact reasons you listed. You can evaluate speed, agility, balance etc with a skill player even if he is dominant. But lineman…all the big guys are dominant. I think this is precisely why you see more 2-3 stars succeed on o-line than any other position area. And more 4-5 star busts. It will always be that way.

Hamlin was a really great safety. The best do’ers
don’t always make the best teachers.

My reading skills aren’t the best, especially at 2:20 in the morning.

When it comes to evaluating high school and Juco talent, Bielema is the worst we’ve had since Otis Douglas. Broyles was great in that aspect, Petrino may have been the best at it but unfortunately he also liked to evaluate blondes.

Sour grapes?

Raw metrics in recruiting suggest if you beat other power 5 teams for recruits you are doing something right. Beat teams that get to 10 wins a lot, or make the playoff and you are doing something even better. CBB has done that. Petrino rarely, Nutt basically never, save maybe Tony Ugoh and Lawrence Richardson (and LR had a side issue that made him unrecruitable by UT).

When talking about instincts, I think about Urban Meyer making a big deal about players playing other sports. It isn’t just for conditioning or skill acquisition. It is about learning to compete. You can’t see OL get after it in most games, let alone practices. But, if they play hoops you can. Can the kid dunk? Can he run the court? Can he dribble?

I remember well watching Austin Beck in HS. As a DT, teams might have 3 or even 4 guys block him on pass plays. (I think he had a couple of fullback carries in short yardage, not sure.) It didn’t matter. He played 2A HS football, but his district sent all four playoff teams to the final 8. That is impressive. So, he was good, really good, but it didn’t matter at UA. Nothing more than a special teams blocker. Tough to translate that size/skill combo.

Wrestling gives you some undersized pit bulls. Butu from GA was a HS wrestler. Bua played like one. They tend to be short armed and short of stature but they are strong, wiry, and fearless. Might be time to grab one or two of those.

To quote Lee Corso, not so fast my friend. I lived in Galveston at the time and I was in the Ball High library the day Lawrence Richardson signed with the Hogs. There was an unopened FedEx envelope on the table while LR was signing. I walked up there and looked at it afterward. It was from Mack Brown, University of Texas. The papers to become a Longhorn instead of a Hog. He picked us because we had a better program for students with learning disabilities than EOE-A did, but they were absolutely recruiting him.

of recruiting are figuring out the ceiling of a kid, how much he will grow, how his level of play against other high schools in his own state translate to those playing in Texas, Florida, California and the like.

As for instincts - those to me are most easily readable in skill positions, tough on DL, extremely tough on OL

Swine is right about this.

Dudley thanks for getting my thread back on track.

One would think they could evaluate them vs guys their own size when they see them in a camp …that would be interesting to see if kids that came to our camp and we offer— were any of them misevaluated and can’t play at an sec level?