Clemson coach says it has its values, but it does not make a football player a football player
Seven-on-seven football is a fast growing sport in America. As many of you know, it’s a faster paced game then regular American Football. There is no tackling or hitting or anything like that makes regular football dangerous.
Parents, especially mothers, like their kids to play it because it is a safe and fun activity that gets their children off the sofa and away from playing video games and being on social media all day.
Those who play seven-on-seven generally play quarterback, wide receiver, running back and tight end on a regular football team, while linebacker and defensive backs usually play from the defensive side of the ball. High Schools, colleges and pro teams have used seven-on-seven drills for years in practice and during summer workouts.
It’s a way to keep players’ minds sharp on the playbook, while sharping their routes and skills.
“We do seven-on-seven every day. It’s called skelly,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said. “It is a great way to teach your team and to see who can process things.”
Seven-on-seven has gotten so big in the last 10 years, it has become football’s version of AAU basketball and that concerns high school football and college coaches in a lot of ways.
For one, there is concern with what is going on in AAU basketball with the shoe companies corruption and the FBI Investigation into college basketball could work its way into college football as well if they are not careful. Coaches are also concerned playing in so many seven-on-seven tournaments in the summer can take away from a young man’s ability to work on other areas of his game such as strength and conditioning workouts which are vital to the development of every football player.
Seven-on-seven can also take away from a player getting used to what is really happening in a real football game.
“It is a challenge for the quarterback because it is unrealistic. It is a challenge for the DBs because it is unrealistic because there is no pass rush and there is no running game. There is no play action,” Swinney said.
Swinney, who has seven-on-seven competition in his high school camps called “Swinney Ball,” says he does not take away too much from seven-on-seven football when it comes to evaluating high school talent.
“It depends on if they are a wideout or a quarterback,” he said. “I think you can take a little bit away from that. You can see ball skills and things like that.
“At the end of the day, (football) is a contact sport. You are not going to last very long if you are making all your evaluation based on seven-on-seven tape or combine and all of that stuff. You better see who can play between the lines.”
Swinney uses guys like former Clemson wide receiver Adam Humphries, who is now playing for the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, as examples of why you cannot evaluate a player simply based on seven-on-seven and combine measurables.
“They get overlooked by the combine stuff and all of that mess … at the end of the day you have to be a football player. So I look way more into that,” the Clemson coach said. “What type of player are they? Sometimes people have a lot of measurables, but they are not very good football players. Some people don’t have great measurables, but they are very good football players.”
Swinney says there are a lot of things they can evaluate that is very helpful when they see their players on the practice field getting seven-on-seven reps. He says they can see if they are learning the concepts, what they quarterback’s eyes are supposed to be on, accuracy and the same thing with the secondary and how they evaluate those players.
“That is all good, but it is one thing to catch that ball over the middle when a guy is out there with a t-shirt on, but it is another thing when he has some pads on. It is a different mindset,” Swinney said. “If you are not using football tape to evaluate, then you are probably going to make a lot of mistakes.”
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