Home Blog The Impracticable Combine Test

The Impracticable Combine Test


Former O-State lineman Billy Price suffered a torn pectoral muscle doing the bench press at the NFL Combine. Really believe that he was a top two rounds draft choice. Guessin at guard and not center. But this blog is my take on some of the combine test that people use, including the all powerful NFL.

The  40 and the bench press have always been two of the most over rated physical test that we put football players thru to get some type of evaluation. But realize, I am just a guy and far from being considered an expert.

Yes, I did the 40 as part of my combine testing to get players exposed to college summer camp testing. I did not do the bench press.

The 40 tells me that a player is fast or that he is slow. Simple. More important, if you watch a player run, watch his face and you learn a lot. If he is grimacing, I worry. If he is relaxed, I am feel better. If a lineman finishes strong, I feel good.

The start in the forty is the key. You can train for the start. Sometimes too much emphasis is put on the finer points. But overall, training for the start is huge.

I have always wonder why we start to 40 from a 3point stance. I have seen very few WR or Corners line up in a 3point on the football field. Always seems that the only players to put their hand down are the OL and DL guys. And, in reality, their 40 times are irrelevant.

Any more, there are fewer and fewer pass plays that the ball is in the air 40 yards or more. Now corners with good hips can turn and run with WR’s who are 40 fast. Many of the really fast 40 times cannot get separation or are not excellent ball catchers.

Not so sure that 10yds and 20 yards should not be timed. Explosiveness – huge. Burst – huge. For me, I am more concerned about quickness off the line. Initial quickness! Do they have a burst at 20 yards. Is there more explosion at 20.

For OL/DL guys – that initial quickness is huge. The first step – huge. With the 10 yards, does the OL/DL bend. Where is he at 20 yards? I never wanted my OL guys 20 yards downfield, because they would either hold or clip or get in the way. Of course, that is what coaches wanted drills for. And we all did those drills.

Running backs the same- Do they have that initial quickness to get to the LOS and the burst once they clear they clear the LOS. Many backs are runners and have no 5th gear.

The best thing about the bench press for me as a coach was that it made for an excellent fun raiser. Donations matched the total bench press that a player did one time. The idea was good, but there was money to be made.

The players with short arms had the advantage. They did more reps. The long arm guys struggled. The problem is that college coaches want the long arm guys. People put so much emphasis on the number of times a player can a certain weight. The endurance factor is probably important.

I used the medicine ball throw, or the power ball, instead of the bench press. Safer and less time consuming. What does a power ball throw measure. Of course, IF done correctly.

1. Hip flexibility- Since a player is on his knees – strength comes from hips and back. Can he throw his hips? Does he have strong core muscles. I have had QB’s do well, because of strong core muscles.

2. Chest muscles – Chest muscles may include core muscles. But chest muscles must have some flexibility.

3. Follow thru – Does he finish. Is his body extended on the floor. And has he use both hands together as the in the chest pass in basketball.

4. Hands – How big and strong are his hands? Eye the size as he grips the ball to throw. If he is a DL, does he have quick hands.

5. Overall quickness and explosion. Huge.

The vertical jump will tell a lot about a player’s potential. Is he explosive? There is also some athleticism that will be shown. Can he control his touching the highest slat? Does he have balance? But, the most to learn, is he explosive in the first step.

Although, highly overlooked, but if done correctly, the broad jump tells a lot about explosiveness and power. Does he land properly. Are balance and body control evident?

In both the broad jump and vertical jump, I watch a players eyes. Is he competing? Is the “look” there on his last attempt? And, of course, the explosion is always the most important.

The two tests that I always try to watch are the 5-10-5 (pro shuttle) and the 3 cone drill. They are the two at the Cleveland Browns Showcase that will get most of my attention.

The 5-10-5 is really a good drill to watch change of direction. Also can measure a burst. It is important to watch a player finish the drill. What is the effort? Of course, the amount quickness and athleticism will be seen. Funny, but the ability to follow directions and to think on the run may be the most important. The drill can be coached by training guys. Ideally, players need to be trained to run the 5-10-5.

I love the 3 cone drill or we called it the “L cone” drill. Quickness is really seen. Watch the hips. Players run 5 yard burst. Change of direction information is huge in this drill. Again, just like the 5-10-5, the finish is huge. Finish the drill. Hard to get players to run it correctly. Emphasis should be on the hips and quick burst.

As I wrote earlier, I am far from an expert. No where near a trainer’s status. But sometimes we take the practicality out of what we are trying to accomplish. The tests need to more football related. Just like the “tip drill” for DB’s. A waste of time. No DB is going to tip the ball backwards. The passes are hard to tip. No DB is going to sit and wait for a tipped ball.

Bill Price lost a lot of money at the NFL combine. Torn pectoral muscle doing the bench press. The silly flat back bench press that has no real significance to a football skill.

OH well!





Load More In Blog

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *