Lightning In a Bottle: Tavon Austin

I wanted to learn a bit more about our top draft pick. So the logical thing to do was start doing some research on how he got where he is today. I’m going to forget stats, and look at what the people who were around him had to say from as far back as his first days in college circa 2009.

Back in Morgantown, West Virginia there is a guy named Chris Beatty who happens to be the running back and slot receivers coach. Chris said that Tavon has some of the same qualities that Percy Harvin had at Florida. I guess he should know since he coached Harvin in high school. I think the best quote from Mr. Beatty is, "He can make you miss in a phone booth!"

These are some of Tavon’s quotes from an interview in 2009 that give us some insight how he thinks.

"Like Coach Stew says, ‘(Make) one move and then head north,’" Austin said. "That’s what I try to do."

"Before practice and after practice we do a lot of drills pertaining to our hands," Austin said. "It’s hard because I was never used to putting my hands up and now my hands are always up and always knocking the defender off of me."

"One thing that really helps me is the ladder drills," he said. "I really take the ladder drills serious doing the ‘Icky Shuffle’ and a lot of the footwork things that I do. I used to run a lot of steps at home so I think that’s why my feet are really quick."

"When I get the ball in my hands the first thing I’m thinking about is scoring," he added. "If not, then I just want to make a great play."

I think the Fish is working on the same plan WVU had for Austin. "The coaches there believed the further away you get Austin from the rest of the congestion on the field, the better the chance of him taking one to the house."

The OC Mr. Jeff Mullen believed in 2010 that his offense was to sideways. He wanted to go vertical with explosive players like Austin, Devine, and Sanders.

"They don’t know where we will hit them from," Austin explained. "We can hit them from the back field, from the slot or out at wide receiver now. Hopefully it just all works out."

I don’t know about you, but that sounds exactly what the Rams have planned for the near future.

Bailey brings another element, he was known as Mr. Outside, and Tavon was Mr. Inside. "He just makes plays," said Austin of Bailey. "He barely drops the ball. And he’s always positive in practice. He is always bringing me up."

John Antonik for WVUsports wrote this:

"Actually, Bailey brought up Austin in more ways than one. While Tavon did most of his work at the line of scrimmage and across the middle, mostly on crossing routes, it was Bailey who became West Virginia’s best downfield threat since Chris Henry, averaging 17.9 yards per catch with 16 of Bailey’s 67 receptions going for 20 yards or longer (seven of those going for touchdowns).

Having the two working the entire field means defenses can’t just focus on stopping one guy in order to slow down West Virginia's (Insert RAMS) offense."

A few more quotes:

"It’s helpful for me to be able to take the top off the defense and then you’ve got Tavon who can catch a lot of things underneath and make guys miss," said Bailey. "That keeps the defense on their heels."

"That’s what’s so dynamic about this offense," said Bailey. "He can put us in different spots and just pretty much put the playmakers where they need to be to make a play."

"Not only one person is getting the ball," Austin added. "It shows everybody can touch the ball and when you get it you’ve got to do something with it."

It sounds to me like the Ram’s are going to use the same approach. A lot of players that can line up anywhere and probably will. I think this is going to help our No-Name running backs as well.

It looks like this new Ram offense won’t resemble anything like we are used to and that’s just fine with me!

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