Warren Central battled Lake Central Wednesday night for a scrimmage. Four Cincinnati Bearcat verbal commitments competed and BearcatReport.com Publisher watched intently.
Prior to the scrimmage/practice I had some beliefs and evaluations completed on Deionte Buckley. Afterwards those evaluations were tinkered, altered. What did I learn?
What I thought? I have seen Deionte Buckley several times dating back to May 2010. I have seen him at combines, camps, and in games. Before Wednesday night I believed him to be a powerful, bowling ball of a running back.
Buckley was built like a linebacker as a sophomore and continued to tack on the muscle. He was probably the biggest, baddest of all skill position players a year ago. I likened him to a T.J. Duckett, possibly even a Ron Dayne.
His weakness was definitely high end speed. Buckley's footwork was accurate, technical but not overly elusive. I thought Buckley was a fullback or a third-down back honestly. He had the power, the tenacity, strength, and ball security of a short yardage solution.
And he worked harder than everyone else. He outworked flashier backs on every drill, demanding your attention.
What I think?
Buckley has shed some pounds. He still runs hard, but I didn't get many glances at his speed. Warren Central broke very few big runs out.
Buckley's change of direction is slightly better. He was not asked to block much and I did not see one pass thrown to a RB. My favorite play was a dash down the left sideline. Finding himself alone Buckley shot a glance towards the oncoming safety. Angry that his teammates were sunk in a funk Buckley planned a steamrolling.
Lake Central's safety absorbed the Deionte Buckley pounding poorly, trampled by the rushing train. WCHS teammates uproariously followed Buckley into the endzone shouting ecstatically.
"I saw a quick glimpse of him," said Buckley. "As a running back you don't see much, only colors. I just put my head down and ran him over."
The play underlined the battering ram authority with which Buckley hits. He invigorated a whole sideline, sending the Warriors into a frenzy.
"To start that series off, as you could probably see, our offense was doing pretty bad," said Buckley. "We weren't working as hard as we should be. I put it in my mind that I am going to run this ball hard. And I kind of hyped up the offense."
"WC football, that is what it is all about," said Buckley.
Wall of protection
Buckley benefited in 2010 from a outstanding offensive line. Right now both he and I noticed the need for O-line improvement. Too often Warren Central blockers allowed rushers into the backfield.
Several times Buckley had to evade a tackler as he received the handoff. It has to get better and probably will over the summer months.
On the offensive line…Last year they were more hungry. They knew what we needed to know and when there was a fourth down we were going to get it. Right now our O-line is still progressing and we still need to get hungry, get better.
You got big Freeman, Bond, Cincinnati Bearcat. We all were looking kind of dragging. We weren't prepared. We thought we were going to win just on our talent. What Coach Hart always says is 'If you want to be a great team you have to put in the work.'
"Last year they were more hungry," said Buckley. "They knew what we needed to know and when there was a fourth down we were going to get it. Right now our O-line is still progressing and we still need to get hungry, get better."
He does have a favorite side, the left, and it shows. Almost 75% of Buckley's runs were behind a UC verbal commitment Deyshawn Bond.
"You got big Freeman, Bond, Cincinnati Bearcat," said Buckley of the left side. "We all were looking kind of dragging. We weren't prepared. We thought we were going to win just on our talent. What Coach Hart always says is 'If you want to be a great team you have to put in the work.'"