As the Broncos head toward training camp, DenverBroncos.com is taking a detailed look at several members of this year’s rookie class. And aside from Denver’s coaching staff, who better to call than their college coaches? These players honed their techniques while at school, and their coaches know better than most what to expect from these rookies.
The series continues with former Oregon head coach Willie Taggart and Boston College head coach Steve Addazio, who reflected on Royce Freeman and Isaac Yiadom, respectively.
Former Oregon head Coach Willie Taggart on running back Royce Freeman:
AD: Can you give me a scouting report on Royce?
WT: We all know his size and all that, but he’s a smart football player. Athletically, he has everything you need from the running back position. He does a great job reading the blocks, making the jump cuts that you need. I was more impressed with the way he studied the game. I thought he took a leap forward that we were there just studying football and understanding the blocking schemes. I’ll tell you one that really helped him: He spent a lot of time in the offensive line room, learning who they were taught to block — whether it’s pass or run. I really think it helped him understand the game a little better.
What was it like to coach Royce on a personal level?
WT: It was great to coach him, because he was always willing to learn. He wanted to be the best at what he did, and he was a great team player. It’s always easy to coach those type of guys. He was always willing to learn.
AD: If there’s an area of his game where he needs to improve, where do you think that is?
WT: I think just running behind his shoulder pads. He’s a big guy, and sometimes I think he takes some unnecessary hits running up high. I think the more he runs behind his shoulder pads, the more he’ll protect himself. He’ll get more production by doing that. He’s a big, strong kid. Some of the tackles he breaks, it’s just natural ability. But the more he runs behind his shoulder pads, the better it’s going to be for him, career-wise and production-wise.
AD: Does he remind you of anybody else that you’ve coached in the past?
WT: If there’s one, it would be Toby Gerhardt. They’re both big kids, both are very athletic. Both are big guys that have feet like little guys. If there’s anyone, it would be Toby.
AD: He’s already impressed some people out here. Does it surprise you that he’s picked things up this fast?
WT: Not at all, because he’s always that type of kid that wanted to learn [and because of] the way he picked up things with us so quick. It says a lot about who he is and what he wants to become. I’m not surprised. When I saw that he got drafted by the Broncos, I thought that would be a great fit for him and that he could become one of the next great backs that the Broncos have.
Boston College head coach Steve Addazio on cornerback Isaac Yiadom:
AD: What would your scouting report on Isaac be?
SA: I think Isaac is a tough guy. He’s got tremendous straight-line speed. Big guy. I think he’s still growing in the sport. I think he’s still got some of his best days ahead of him. Very, very competitive guy. Tremendous person. Fun to be around. Has a good sense of humor but approaches his work seriously. He’s obviously a good student, graduating here from Boston College. So I think he’s a real bright guy. I think he’s going to do well. I think he’s got the physicality [you need] at that level, the length and the physicality and the speed to continue to grow and become one of the better corners I would think in the league.
AD: What was Isaac like to coach?
SA: Isaac was a real student of the game. Watched him grow. He never redshirted. He came in as a freshman and he continued to grow and get better every year. He was fun to coach because he was a fun guy to be around. He’s a really good person. We’re into really good people here and he’s a good guy. Good character — makes it fun to be around. … Isaac handled his business in the classroom. Worked hard and continues to develop as a player.