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Midweek Musings: Death By Thinking

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In a sport where thinking too much can be a player's downfall, is the new tempo helping Boykin by keeping him from over thinking?

Cooper Neill

You've heard it plenty of times. "He's over thinking it."

It's a death knell in sports. Over-thinkers are typically slower players, and if you're not relying on instinct to carry you through the high speed nature of athletics, you probably won't last very long.

It's the key reason to why Trevone Boykin has been so successful through two games this season: He doesn't have time to over think. Instead, thanks to the increased tempo, Boykin is relying on instinct and all those reps to get him through drives and into the endzone.

He's even admitted it himself, sort of. After the Samford game, Boykin was asked about the large number of receivers who caught passes, to which he replied, "When we go so fast you don't really pay attention to it. Whoever is out there, all these guys make plays so whoever is out there I'm throwing the ball and they're going to make it. I really don't pay attention to who I'm throwing it to."

Whoa.

At first, that seems somewhat alarming. "What if you're throwing it to a safety, Tre?!"

But the more I thought about it, the more I liked it, because over thinking can kill drives and lose games. The tempo and rhythm of the offense, and pre-snap reads of the defense, are what dictates where the ball will go, and Boykin has become well versed in making those reads. He's also become aware of when he needs to run. This doesn't mean there won't be breakdowns in the blocking that lead to sacks, but what it does mean is that he's being instinctual about his runs, rather than working through strategies in his head (Sidenote: I really wish he'd start sliding more though, those big hits he takes at the end of his runs are going to catch up with him).

Have you noticed when the offense starts to stall? It's because the tempo has slowed down, giving Boykin the chance to over think and make bad throws (which he has still almost eliminated to this point).

What this doesn't mean is that he doesn't have time to make his reads, however. An up tempo offense still needs to pass block, and when he's had time, Boykin has made some incredible throws, flashing, more consistently than in past years, his arm strength and accuracy.

There's a reason he's completing over 64% of his passes, compared to just 59% a year ago. There's a reason he already accumulated 578 passing yards (or as I like to think of it, 48% of his passing yards from a season ago), as well as 121 rushing yards (39% of his rushing yards from a season ago). Sure, some of that is a lack of Casey Pachall, but it's also a signal of vast improvements.

You may hate on-pace stats, but here they are.

Boykin is on pace to throw for 3,468 yards and 24 touchdowns, and rush for 726 yards and six touchdowns. That's over 4,000 yards of offense and 30 touchdowns.

So keep doing what you're doing, Deuce. Don't over think things.