At the end of an old Old Spice commercial, Bruce Campbell offers the following opinion on experience. “You can’t fake it. Wanting it, needing it, wishing for it. The point is if you’ve never had any of it, ever? People just seem to know.”
Trey Lance will finally get some of that experience this weekend, and how he responds to all those new situations will be a huge factor in his development into the starting quarterback. So on today’s Niners Nation Gold Standard podcast, Levin Black and I wondered how he’d handle that adjustment.
Lance himself mentioned having to get used to the radio in the helmet but also acknowledged the other things that he’ll have to get comfortable with as a professional.
“Everything from the hotel the night before the game to pregame warmup. Everything’s going to be new, but at the same time, football is football. So I feel I can do everything I can do it feel as prepared as I can on Saturday.”
Based solely on his press conferences and some of the practices we’ve seen, Lance appears to be a pretty even-keeled guy. If that’s the case, however, Saturday is still going to be a lot to handle.
Imagine being Lance and getting inserted into the game. You’re running out to the huddle. You haven’t played in a game with fans since 2019. A voice is reading the play into your helmet as you step into the huddle. You’ve then got to: call the play yourself. Break the huddle and walk to the line while reading the defense. Make sure everyone is lined up correctly. Keep your eye on the play clock. Begin the cadence. And finally, receive the possibly sopping wet football from between Alex Mack’s legs. That’s at least seven different things all before the play officially begins.
Now that the ball is snapped, there’s a whole new set of things to think about. Fade back. Remember the footwork corrections the 49ers gave you after OTAs. Go through your reads. Avoid the pass rusher that has inevitably gotten past Mike McGlinchey. Look downfield, and fire an accurate pass to the receiver.
Needless to say, it’s a lot.
The snarky commenters among you will point out that Lance has done much of this before, which is true. That said, he’ll now have to do it faster than he ever has, against the best competition he’s ever faced.
That isn’t to say he can’t do that, of course. Clearly, the 49ers think he’s capable of all that and more. With so many eyeballs fixated on him two days from now, I thought it was worth actually articulating everything that Lance will actually have to go through in his first preseason game.
And when he does it, people like me are going to lose their minds. How much fun is this going to be?