Tuesday Tape Room: Robert Woods takes care of the 'small things'
Tuesday Tape Room is Pac-12 Networks football analyst (and former USC assistant coach) Yogi Roth’s chance to break down tape in search of details worth focusing on — similar to what’s happening in team meetings throughout the conference today.
Over my career as a player, coach and analyst I’ve heard many coaches say, "The way you do small things is the way you do all things."
Each Sunday when coaches across the Pac-12 break down their previous game film and begin preparation for their upcoming opponent, they seek to find out who was accountable and who was not. They watch to see which student-athletes aligned properly pre-snap, read their keys, and finished through the whistle. From those evaluations the coaches build their game-plans on both sides of the ball.
On offense, coaches strategize to get the ball to their playmakers. One of USC's most dynamic weapons is junior wide receiver Robert Woods.
This past weekend against Syracuse, Woods reminded the nation that he is not only a dominant player with the ball in his hands but also extremely aggressive when the ball is in the air with his hands and his body. Woods understands how to attack the football. When the ball is in the air he does not wait for it to come to him. Rather, he violently snatches it out of the air, tucks it away from defensive pressure, and quickly transitions up field.
On 3rd and goal in the third quarter this past Saturday vs. Syracuse, after more than an hour-long weather delay, USC senior quarterback Matt Barkley dropped back and threw a strike to Woods over the middle on a basic 'sit' route. While it may have been routine, the way that Woods positioned himself was picturesque:
He used his body to create space by "boxing" out the defender. By doing this he was able to create more space for himself and force the defender to go through him if he wanted to break up the pass, which would have resulted in a pass interference penalty.
Here's the play again in slow motion:
The second-ranked Trojans enter Pac-12 play this weekend at Stanford, which is a very physical team. Study Robert Woods and his approach to each snap and each reception, as he is mastering the 'small things' in all aspects of his game.