The Player's Tribune is a cool website that allows college and professional athletes to tell their own stories with their own words. The site's guest columnist today is none other than our own Lamar Jackson, who writes about the first play of his college career, his struggles to learn the Louisville offense, and the high of the FSU win and the low of the Clemson loss this season.
Here's a snippet:
It wasn't until our practices for the Music City Bowl that I got a chance to really study the playbook.
I started getting to the facilities at 6 a.m. every day to watch tape. After I was done, Coach Nick, who's Bobby's son, would offer me feedback and guidance. The most daunting part about learning a complex offense is the feeling that you've got to understand everything all at once. What Coach Nick and the rest of the staff did was to break things down into tiny pieces, and help me learn little by little.
You know, before that, I'd never taken the time to really closely watch myself play. I didn't know what to look for. But slowly, as I started reviewing each of my plays from that season one by one, I started noticing little corrections I could make in order to turn a first down into a touchdown. That was exciting because I began to see, right there on film, just how much I could improve in this system. I could tell that once everything clicked we were going to be trouble for any defense we faced.
Getting a better feel for the offense not only helped me develop as a passer, but it also made running the ball a lot easier. The best thing for a running game is the threat of the pass. Now instead of just getting a play and running it, I started reading defenses and learning checkdowns. The great players — the ones who make a career out of this — spend a lot of their time focusing on the tiny parts of the game that can help them exploit the other team's weaknesses. Athleticism alone isn't enough. There's always something that a defense is giving you. A great quarterback solves that puzzle on every play.
In the Music City Bowl against Texas A&M — the first game after I really started hitting the film — I threw for more than 200 yards and ran for over 200 yards. The Aggies were a team with some serious talent. Once I saw the results of putting in the work in the film room, I never looked back.
You can read the entire column right here.