On Thursday, Kent State football coach Darrell Hazell spent over 30 minutes scouting new Browns running back Trent Richardson.
Here is some of Hazell’s running commentary as he watched the video of Richardson and the Alabama Crimson Tide in a 48-7 victory over the Golden Flashes on Sept. 3 in Bryant-Denny Stadium.
“We didn’t spy him, maybe in retrospect you probably do.’’
“The first play he has a chance to carry the ball, he makes contact at the 36, this is why he’s going to be a great back in the NFL, he’s a great finisher. Four yards after contact, running through guys. Low pad level. He’s patient, extremely patient to the hole. Look at him move the linebacker, he’s mirroring him. That’s why he’s going to make so many people around him so much better. He gives 73 (the center) a chance to block that guy, that’s just his patience.”
“He misses here on pass pro. He’s got to squeeze the butt of the tackle there because they’re cutting the front defensively, which means the tackle’s got to go down, which means he’s got to go closer to the tackle. He’s got to go hip-to-hip with that tackle right there. He’s a little bit too wide, he allows the defensive end to come inside of him.”
“(Pass protection) is one of his strengths. He’s very physical, you can tell he’s had a lot of work at it.”
“Great defensive play, 3 yards deep in the backfield and he manages to get a yard out of it.” (That was one of two where defensive tackle Roosevelt Nix lost his shoe.)
“Play action fake, making himself available.”
“That was a very good cut, bang. Watch him put his foot in the ground and go. Low pad level. That was plus 5.”
“This is a scary situation, give him the ball inside the 1. That was a great play by Luke Batton (a linebacker who got him by the ankle). You’re going to be assured he’s going to get the ball back to the line of scrimmage no matter where he gets hit.”
“He’s a strong guy. Very strong. Just look at his pad level. He keeps his pad level down, hip level down.” (Richardson’s body is almost at a 45-degree angle on a touchdown run)
“Hit in the backfield again, breaks the first tackle. That’s a great play, who is that Rosie? (Who’s losing his shoe again.) Look at the play here by Rosie. But again, he breaks that first tackle. That will make him so good.” (Richardson was swarmed and still got away).
“They brought the twist and he’s responsible for … I don’t know how they have it schemed up here, he might have C.J. (will linebacker C.J. Malauulu) But here’s something he’ll learn, being able to pick up some of this garbage when these guys are wrong, he’ll be able to figure that out.”
“There he is sticking his face in there, that’s the presence he’ll bring (taking on a defender head on in pass protection). Very physical. Whack. He’s got a good low base on contact, wide base, takes the guy right down the middle. Going to do a good job of protecting for the quarterback, I think that’s one of the strengths he’ll bring.
Most people don’t appreciate that kind of stuff, except this guy.”
“Look at him process what’s happened here. He realizes it’s a four-man rush, which allows him to get out. He makes himself available for a check-down for the quarterback.”
“Watch this, play-action fake, he gets a four-man rush with a corner blitz. Realizes it’s picked up by the tackle and lets himself be the check-down. That’s why his quarterback will love him. He’ll catch that at 3 and run through a tackle.
You can’t take that for granted. Young backs a lot of times they don’t recognize, ‘My protection’s out. I don’t have any responsibilities. They’re not bringing the extra guy.’ And they don’t get out fast enough.”
“Look at the physical presence again, chipping on the edge. He’s chipping on a 280-pound guy.” (Defensive end Richard Gray)
“Second and 4, he hits it, he’s getting grabbed at the 41, now he’s spinning out, gets hit a second time, bang. His yards after contact are crazy.”
“C.J. on an outside blitz, he stands in there and battles him off.”
“Tripped up by Rosie again. Here’s the thing you can’t put a value on. He gets hit pretty close to the line of scrimmage and you look up and it’s second-and-6. That’s a good play by Rosie.”
“This is just a little power play with a gap scheme, which I’m sure they’ll run some with the Browns. Pulling the backside guard in the front-side A gap, makes a guy miss in the hole.” (He cuts left)
“Look at that, look how quick he is here. Just running a little zone scheme to the left, he’s got excellent vision and look at the finish. Contact at the 3, bang, he’s got one guy on his leg and he’s running over another guy.”
“That’s not a good play fake, they’re too far apart from each other.”
(He breaks another tackle) “It’s unbelievable. You can tell he’s so strong.” (He picked up another 2 yards after being stood up.)
“Unblocked player in the hole, should make the play for no gain, and it ends up being a 1-yard gain.” (For his third and last touchdown)
“He’s a special guy. He’s different. He can change the whole program. He makes so many people around him better.”
“The Browns did a great job, I thought. They’re going to be happy with this draft. It’s a great job by coach Shurmur and the organization. Sometimes those guys get away.”
(On 22nd pick, quarterback Brandon Weeden) “I think him being an older guy is a huge plus. He’s so mature. He’s going to be another guy with a presence. It only takes a few guys to change a program around and they’ve got a couple good guys.”