But for the most part, the kicking specialists who came to the Combine, dealt with these adverse conditions. Due to morning showers even the snappers had to make adjustments and snap on a hardwood floor instead of a turf field.
As someone who has been teaching kicking for over 35 years -including 13 years as an NFL Special Teams Coordinator- I have coached and evaluated kicking specialists in all weather conditions and workout scenarios.
For me, evaluating the talent in this Combine in the midst of the inclement weather, is still evaluating talent, regardless of the weather or venue. Difficult weather conditions are simply part of the game. Those who play professional football already know this. Those aspiring to play professional football need to realize and accept it. And that is simply a fact.
However, what is most important to understand is that cloudy or rainy skies -or any weather conditions for that matter- cannot, and will not, obscure true talent. Not the kind of talent it takes to get into professional football.
I was very pleased during this event, that a number of kicking specialists proved their ability regardless the temperamental weather conditions. Kicking specialists who I believe have the talent to be signed as a Priority Free Agents in the NFL, CFL or UFL. Specialists signed for training camps and given an opportunity to compete for a roster spot.
I have posted their College Senior Specialists Combine workout videos and stats to my web page; www.coachzauner.com.
In addition to posting their workouts to my website, I have taken a DVD, which includes the results and a highlight video of these top specialists to the NFL Combine, and have delivered them to all 32 NFL Special Teams Coordinators. I also gave copies to General Managers and Directors of College Scouting in addition to other team personnel on Friday and Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium during the players workouts.
I will also be sending the DVD and results to teams and representatives of the CFL, UFL and Arena League.
The Three Levels of Evaluation:
My evaluation of the participants of this College Senior Specialists Combine was based on their performance in a competitive format. I also factored in how they handled the adverse weather conditions. All of the specialists competed in the same weather conditions. This made it a level playing field. The weather factor also gave me the opportunity to gain insight in evaluating their ability to adjust to challenging conditions. A players’ ability to adjust to the unknown reflects the importance of the ‘mental side of the game’.
I created three Group levels of evaluation results for this event: I categorized the specialists into three groups:
Group 1) Specialists I believe currently have the skills and talent to be in a NFL, CFL or UFL training camp and compete for a roster spot.
Group 2) Those Specialists I believe need to improve their technique, consistency or increase their size and strength, but have the potential to eventually be in professional football. However for these specialists to achieve their potential, it means they need to take the correct steps to improve, and not just any steps. As Legendary Hall of Fame Coach Vince Lombardi once said “Practice Doesn’t Make Perfect, PERFECT Practice Makes Perfect.”
Group 3) Specialists who would have a very difficult time making an a professional football roster. This does not mean these specialists could not make an roster. That is not for me to say. It just means that these individuals will have to be especially committed to reach their goal, and will have to work especially hard to achieve it. However, this does not mean they should not continue to pursue their dream. As -an legendary NCAA Basketball Coach and motivational speaker- Jim Valvano so aptly said, “Never Give Up! Failure and Rejection Are Only The First Step to Succeeding…”
As I said earlier, I have posted the results and videos of specialists from Group 1 to my website; www.coachzauner.com and to the DVD, and I have taken both to the NFL Combine. I will not be posting any information -video or stats- of Groups 2 or 3.
Also,it was my goal to all the specialists who attended this Combine to discuss my evaluation with them.
As a final note, I would like to say I know what it is like to be a young man pursuing the dream of being in the NFL. And I know what it is like to experience both the joy and the pain of that journey.
For some, the results of this Combine will bring feelings of joy and satisfaction. For others, it will yield a sense of frustration and pain.
Tomorrow I will be attending the kicking specialists workout at the NFL Combine and will be evaluating the individuals the NFL invited and compare them to the 63 specialists that attended my College Senior Specialists Combine. It will be very interesting to compare the two groups.
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