After the win over Minnesota, Iowa football player Nico Ragaini had a quote that struck a chord with me. It also explains a lot about his playing time.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been wondering about Iowa football player Nico Ragaini. He’s had some issues with drops recently, and he was demoted from the team’s number one punt returner to no longer being an option at punt returner.
After a 2 catch for 30 yards and 1 touchdown performance against Minnesota though, he made a quote that started to put things into perspective for me.
When asked about his first-quarter touchdown catch where Ragaini caught the ball along the sidelines before making a nice move to juke out the defender and go in for the score, he had this to say according to Mark Emmert:
"Usually, I don’t get the ball on that play. So sometimes in practice, I’m a little lazy, I don’t really run it hard. But today something told me to run it hard. I ran it hard and Stanley threw me the ball. So I’m pretty happy I went hard on that play."
Um, excuse me, what?
I read this quote a few times, and before I provide my opinion on it, I realize quotes can get taken out of context.
The first time I read this though I thought it was a bit immature to be running this route lazy in practice. I know practice isn’t always the most fun and if you’re just doing a walkthrough you know the ball is going to the first read, but that is not what the Iowa football program is about.
Do you think former wide receiver Nick Easley took it easy during practice? My guess is no, and that’s why he stood out after joining the program as a junior college walk-on.
I read the quote again though, and something else stuck out to me. He said, “something told me to run hard today”.
Again, I know these things can be taken out of context, but are you saying if that play ran during a game that you were going to haphazardly run the route because you likely weren’t getting the ball? What happens if the first read isn’t there or if Stanley sees something in the defense and he realizes you are the best option?
I’m sorry, I don’t like to rag on young adults or college players like that, but that’s the one thing I have come to expect from Iowa football players. .You may not be the most talented or the highest recruited player on the field, but your work effort will always beat everyones.
That quote doesn’t scream that to me, at all. Nico, if you are the hardest working guy in practice, my apologies for the judgment in this article, but you need to understand how words can be manipulated very easily. And if you aren’t, let’s go, man. You’ve got too much talent to not put in the effort to accompany it.
That being said, at least he did run it hard yesterday and got the touchdown for the Iowa football team.