Cathedral players learn fundamentals through film sessions
Published 12:03 am Saturday, August 9, 2014
NATCHEZ — Imagine performing a job and later having to watch your performance on a large screen in a classroom with your fellow colleagues. Chances are you’d perform at a higher rate.
That’s the idea behind Cathedral head coach Ron Rushing watching practice footage with his Green Wave players. Of course, it also serves as an opportunity for Rushing to teach concepts and basic fundamentals.
“We always want the best effort out of them, and you can tell them until you’re blue in the face, but if you show them, they’ll see their mistakes better and understand what you’re asking them to do,” Rushing said.
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As the Cathedral football team gathered in a small classroom, veterans occupied every desk and younger players stood or sat behind them. Together, the team visualized their effort.
The first practice footage Rushing showed his team involved the “mesh drill,” where wide receivers and quarterbacks were supposed to read the defense and decide whether they were facing man coverage or a zone. When the wide receiver gets to the “mesh point,” they decide whether to sit down in the zone or to keep running in stride against man-to-man coverage.
“Look, we’re facing man here, so you have to keep climbing,” said Rushing, turning his head to watch the film from a teacher’s desk placed in front of the classroom. “We’re still climbing, right?”
“Right,” answered Cathedral skill players in unison.
The second of four practice drills focused on the linemen blocking and leading with the proper foot. Rushing called out his top linemen, asking them to perform at a higher rate.
“Look and see if you’re going full speed linemen,” Rushing said. “Are we giving maximum effort? I know it’s hard to do it without shoulder pads, but what can you do? Get your butt down a little more and drive a little more into the drill. Look, watch this. I’m not mad at y’all, but I want you to see it.
“I want you to see what I see everyday. That’s why we have this camera.”
Moving on to the “phase” drill, Cathedral players defended against the deep ball. Being in phase means the players are in position to turn around and deflect the pass, while out of phase simply represents “you’re beat.”
“Does everybody understand the purpose?” asked Rushing, as he skipped ahead to a drill offensive line coach Kurt Russ instructed. “I don’t know what y’all were doing over there.”
The room erupted with laughter.
“We were getting after it, man,” said Russ, describing his players running through the cones and tackling a dummy.
“I love that drill,” Rushing said. “I love the effort.”
Before watching a few good licks on a tackling dummy that solicited loud responses from the team, Rushing moved over to his last practice drill.
After evaluating defensive play last season, Rushing has implemented defensive drills this offseason that he learned at various coaching clinics.
“I think our defensive backs are starting to understand the concept,” Rushing said. “I’m very pleased where you’ve all come from the first day we put this in.”
The final drill focused on defensive backs getting “three-read shuffles in” before breaking on the ball and trying to make a play on it.
“Good shuffle, good position,” Rushing praised. “I love your stance.”
The read drill morphed into players in the secondary opening their hips up, planting and breaking on the ball in the open field.
“What routes can (the wide receiver) run from seven or eight yards deep?” Rushing asked. “If I’m turning and reading his route and he puts that foot in and comes in, I know it’s dig or post (route). Beat him there. Starting to understand that a little better?”
Rushing complimented his team and said he believes the drill is carrying over to their defensive play, which he gets a better look at in 7-on-7 competitions.
After Rushing finished reviewing the drill, he turned off the screen and asked his team one last question.
“Does everybody understand what we’re trying to do here?” he asked. “Alright, let’s go to practice.”