Reporting Daryl Ruiter
BEREA (92.3 The Fan) - As Trent Richardson cut left, then right, through defenders and up field Sunday morning, coach Pat Shurmur, offensive coordinator Brad Childress and running backs coach Gary Brown just watched and smiled.
Nothing needed to be said between the 3.
After being teased during OTA’s and minicamps watching Richardson in shorts, they got their first glimpse of the future in full pads.
No. 33 tucking behind the line, finding a hole and bursting into the secondary.
“I really get to do what I do best when I get to bounce off guys, get to run guys over, break tackles,” Richardson said. “It’s different when you’re in the pads. I think when I get into full pads, it’s a whole ‘nother me. But not to be cocky or nothing, that’s just my confidence in my game and that’s just what I was blessed with.”
His field vision is uncanny for a rookie and something that can’t be taught.
“I really just let my eyes do the work,” Richardson said. “I’ve been blessed with good talent. At Alabama they used to make us do a lot of cutback drills and see beyond your pads, as they used to tell us. I just [remember] how I’ve been coached everywhere I’ve been, even here, and just put it all to my game. And so I just play football.”
And that what makes him special.
Talented, yet humble enough to realize he still has a lot of work to do.
“I’ve got to improve on everything,” Richardson said. “I’m not just working on one thing. I feel like I can get better in all things, so when it comes down to it I’ve just got to get mentally right, get into the playbook, and picking up all my pass protections, catching the ball, like I said it’s everything.”
Shurmur was impressed with how the Alabama rookie, who dropped 5 lbs following June’s minicamp, approached and prepared for training camp.
“I think he’s in better shape,” Shurmur said. “Guys come in when they are drafted that high and as you might expect they are visiting a bunch of clubs, they end up going to New York for the draft, they get caught in that kind of whirlwind of being drafted. So when you see them initially, even though they did a lot of preparation up to the draft, they are a little bit out of shape and I don’t sense that now.
“I think he is in very good shape”
Richardson prides himself on being a student of the game as well as in his preparation on and off of the field.
“It’s all on preparation,” Richardson said. “Every day, every minute we’re in doing the playbook stuff, and every minute we’re in the weight room, every minute we’re out here doing something extra before practice or after practice, just being a person that’s off the field doing stuff for the community. Everything is getting ready mentally for the game so the game is 80 percent mental and 20 percent physical.”
The physical is something that he is built for.
He looks like an battering ram that’s ready to bulldoze defensive lineman, linebackers and safeties.
“It’s a contact sport and I love contact,” Richardson said. “You’ve got to expect that—especially when you’re the first pick of the draft. There’s a lot of tradition here as far as running backs and just the whole football program. So defensively, they were all turned up so when you’re getting checked by them every time [in practice]. That’s going to make you better on game day.”
The Browns offense could start 4 rookies, including Richardson in the backfield. He’ll get plenty of work but he is confident that the offense will be balanced because of a strong run game – not dependent upon it.
“I just think our offense is going in a good direction as far as being a balanced team,” Richardson said. “But as far as being focused on the running game, I think we going to be strong. We’ve got a good running back core, and we’ve got a good running back coach, and we’ve got a good offensive line coach. Our offense is prepared for anything. I don’t think we’re just going to be a running team, I think we’re going to be a balanced team.”
Hall of Famer Jim Brown might think he’s ordinary, but not the Browns.
Richardson is out to prove it too.