Morgantown, West Virginia – Sam James can catch passes, but not very well. The most talented wide receiver – and perhaps the most gifted athlete – on the entire West Virginia football team, really struggles with basic receptions that should be made easily by an elite college football player.
Today, James had several (three, four, five?) drops and one in particular stood out. In the 2nd quarter, James dropped a perfectly-thrown pass by Jarret Doege for an easy touchdown, but the ball bounced right off of James’ chest.
As a wide receiver, it’s incredibly important that you are able to catch passes. Remember, last season, James met with a sports psychologist multiple times to address his pass drops. James believes that his drops are purely mental and can be fixed with breathing exercises and positive thinking.
According to a MetroNews article, James is a perfectionist and mistakes – like easy dropped passes – cause him to overthink and affects his performance. “I see a mistake and I want to fix it. Even in high school when I messed up I was like, ‘I can’t do this anymore. I need to do something else. Just try and find different ways to be better. I have to tone it down and find a way to make mistakes a positive instead of negative.'”
James went on to say, “Stuff that happens in practice or a game, my psychologist told me to take a deep breath and say something to motivate myself. That’s the one I really like to use every time something bad happens. Just a deep breath, however long I want it to be.”
Make no mistake about it, the West Virginia Mountaineers need Sam James to excel for the team to be successful this season. He is not only the one of the fastest players on the team, he’s also the most dangerous once the ball is in his hands.
Perhaps Head Coach Neal Brown should get James involved in other ways – reverses, run plays out of the backfield, easy quick screens – instead of throwing it to him across the middle for a difficult reception. This would improve his confidence and make it far more likely for him to start a game on a positive note.
Sam James is obviously working hard and means well, but you can’t be the top receiver on a successful college football team and struggle with catching passes.