It was the perfect teaching moment coming at the most opportune time.
With what looked like green grass being the only thing between him and the end zone, rookie wide receiver T.Y. Hilton had his sights set on scoring his first career NFL touchdown.
That’s just when Hilton’s concentration wavered and the ball caromed off No. 13’s body and into a Pittsburgh Steelers defender’s hands, turning a potential touchdown into a turnover.
Hilton’s frustration showed as he headed towards the sidelines but that was when offensive coordinator Bruce Arians put his teaching hat on in talking to his speedy receiver.
“What happened with T.Y. last week, he drops a ball that he never drops. He was trying to score a touchdown or get a first down,” Arians said.
“Right away you talk to him, tell him get over it, get to the next play and then we tried to get it to him right away. (It was) something I knew that would be successful for him, get his confidence back. Again, we’re going to need him, don’t know when, but we’re going to need him,” Arians said of Hilton.
As the Colts offense headed back onto the field for its next possession, Arians knew where the play call was heading.
Quarterback Andrew Luck found Hilton on a bubble screen that gained eight yards and re-established the confidence in the young receiver.
It’s times like these that are what the preseason is all about.
For Arians, guiding an offense filled with young talent has had its surprises from each day.
“They’ve had great days and then they have all awful days. The drudgery of camp got to a couple of them,” Arians said. “They are bouncing back now, had a good week of practice. I look forward to them bouncing back in this ball game and playing a little better than they did last week.”
One rookie in particular that has received numerous praise from Arians is running back Vick Ballard.
The running back leads the team in rushing through two preseason games and has shown that he can be a successful pass blocker, a trait that often separates which young backs see the playing field.
“I love Vick. I think he’s showing he’s got all of the tools to play every down, he’s running hard and he’s pass protecting well. He’s got everything it takes to be a solid back in this league,” Arians said.
Over the course of the next 10 days, Arians will undoubtedly see a few of his young players go. The Colts roster will be trimmed from 90 to 75 by Monday and then again down to 53 by the following week.
Some of the new faces will continue to have critical roles in Arians offense, but after 20 years in the NFL, it’s this week that is the most difficult for the Colts offensive coordinator.
“To me it’s the hardest part of football. It’s the bad side of the business,” Arians said of cuts. “You work with the guys for so long and normally the guys that get cut are overachievers, they are the easily coached guys and their ability isn’t going to match up.”
“You build a bond with them because they are smart, intelligent. The guys that don’t get it, they don’t hurt you as bad. But the ones that get it, work hard, are there every day, it’s really hard when you cut these guys.”
Tags: bruce arians, T.Y. Hilton, vick ballard
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