Captain's Corner: Depth And Confidence

Can too much depth make it difficult to keep every player happy and confident? In this week's Captain's Corner, 1998 OSU football captain Jerry Rudzinski talks about one of the issues that can arise with a roster filled with talent.

You would have to think OSU will have some positions that will rotate bodies throughout the game. They are jam-packed with defensive backs, there's the quarterback situation, and I expect some running back-by-committee. The list goes on. While it sounds so good in press conferences and in the newspapers to bring in these fresh bodies, the truth is that it can sometimes be difficult.

Players need confidence. Confidence will allow them to play fast. Confidence will allow them to have more fun and play with more emotion. It can be very difficult looking over your shoulder at the backup, thinking, "If I mess up, he comes in for me." That is a sick feeling.

Sure, it will make you concentrate on your assignment for that particular play, but it can take away from a player's playmaking ability. I sure am glad Will Smith came underneath some of those times for the quarterback sack as opposed to keeping his containment. I sure am glad Chris Gamble jumped some of those routes instead of playing his deep 1/3 during our National Championship run. It was nice seeing Ted Ginn run "east and west" a few times last year as opposed to following instructions to get upfield.

The reality of this world is that you sometimes can't succeed unless you put yourself in a position where failure is possible. These players sometimes need to take risks. Make a mistake, but make it going 100 miles per hour.

The coaches need to rotate players. The blue-chippers need to be on the field. We have too much talent to only play 11 on offense and 11 on defense. However, the coaches need to instill confidence in the players. They may say "We are rotating for fresh legs." or "We are rotating because so-and-so earned it this week in practice," but if OSU's starters are giving maximum effort, some of the more fragile minds need to be reminded that they are still "the guy." In the end, it makes your program stronger. It helped Vrabel by getting some reps in his true freshman year. It helped Germaine in ‘98 when he shared time with Stanley Jackson the two previous seasons. Pittman will be a better player because he relieved Ross and Hall last year.

Look for Coach Tressel to rotate confident bodies instead of insecure bodies.

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