LAFAYETTE — The shortest distance between two points is a straight line, but Devin Scott found out there can be many time-consuming parts of that journey.
As a speedy receiver who typically runs many deep routes for the University of Louisiana at Lafayette football team, the junior from Harvey has witnessed during the past couple of years that even trying to run past a guy and catch a deep pass can take awhile to accomplish.
“There is even a technique to running a ‘go’ route, said Jorge Munoz, the pass-game coordinator and receivers coach for the Cajuns. “You are trying to allow space for the quarterback to have a margin of error on a deep ball.”
Scott and his peers need to leave enough space between themselves and the sideline so they are not leading their quarterback into rough territory. “If the receiver is on the sideline, the ball has to be perfectly placed in front,” Munoz said. “If it is thrown outside of that, it’s out of bounds. If it is thrown inside, it’s intercepted.”
Before getting to that point downfield, Scott also had to pick up some pointers about what to do before the snap. It is a two-part puzzle that required repetition and some planning.
“Last season, I learned how to play fast and to keep a vertical line on cornerbacks,” Scott said. “Now I have a plan before I go up there so I don’t get jammed on the line (by a defender).”
Those were a few things that Scott had to learn to play in a college-level four-receiver set. He played in some similar formations at West Jefferson High School, but the learning curve was still steep. “If you talk to 10 different receivers coaches, they are going to give you 10 different ideas on how things operate, and the terminology is different,” Munoz said. “Devin Scott is going into his third year here, and now we are really starting to see the benefits of him hearing the same things over and over again. Now, with one word or a phrase, he knows what I’m talking about.”
During those first couple of seasons, Scott was able to use his speed, but that translated to six catches on the other end of the route for 124 yards and a 20.7 yard average.
Seeing that speed pay off with deep pass receptions started to take shape earlier this year.
“This past spring is when he really started making some deep plays down the field,” Munoz said. “We were now seeing that speed that we knew he had show up during spring scrimmages and team segments and things like that. It has carried over. In our last scrimmage, he had two deep balls. He is coming down with those now, which are really tough catches to make. He is coming down with them on a consistent basis.”
The return of senior receiver Jamal Robinson from injury gives Scott another reason to believe he will have more room to operate downfield.
“That helps me out a lot knowing that we have other people who can be threats up the field,” Scott said. “The defense doesn’t really know what to expect, so maybe they hesitate a little bit.”
The Cajuns’ coaches now are able to add hesitation as another element to Scott’s speed game.
“(Scott) had to work on break routes,” Munoz said. “He gets to full speed fast. Getting to a breaking point, he can sell that vertical route and then break if off.”