Fresno State quarterback Marcus McMaryion boiled down his spring and what comes next to an analogy that will make at least some sense to just about everyone of a certain age.
Given the keys to the car for the first time, the one thing that you don't want to do is crash it, so in the Bulldogs' 15 spring practices he made plays and took what was there. But in doing so, he left some big plays on the practice field, and he would hear about it from offensive coordinator Kalen DeBoer.
"Coach DeBoer, it's kind of weird, usually it's the opposite, but he's pushing us to check to a lot more deep routes and take stuff," McMaryion said, after the Bulldogs put a wrap on the spring on Saturday with a situational scrimmage that included a guest appearance by Oakland Raiders' running back Marshawn Lynch.
"We have the option to take deep routes and the quarterbacks are still being a little conservative here and there. He's kind of getting on us to where it's, 'You can take shots here and there.' Obviously, you keep the offense in good position, but he's definitely not hesitating to give us the green light to take a shot."
There are a number of reasons behind that, from KeeSean Johnson to Jamire Jordan to Derrion Grim to Michiah Quick, the Bulldogs' wideouts.
"He throws a really good deep ball and when you call those shots he executes them well," DeBoer said. "A lot of our plays have an aggressive throw built in them.
"It's just a matter of knowing the time and place to take advantage of the looks, the match ups and game flow and having him be confident that if he is aggressive and it doesn't work out, that I'm OK with it. I want him to know that I trust his decisions that he makes during the course of the game. He does a great job and I know he wants it bad, so it's fun working with him that way."
Fresno State last season was ranked seventh in the Mountain West Conference in pass attempts per game, but was second with 54 explosive pass plays of 20 or more yards. It also averaged 7.6 yards per pass play, which also it did in 2013 when Derek Carr was firing footballs all over Bulldog Stadium and the Mountain West Conference.
That was with McMaryion working game plan to game plan and without much base in the Bulldogs' offense after joining the program as a graduate transfer from Oregon State well into fall camp. As he melds those pieces together, the Bulldogs' offense could take a leap in 2018 after ranking only eighth in the conference last season in scoring.
"I think I played well here and there, but I'd definitely say there were plays that got left out the because I wasn't 100 percent confident in checking an entire play and going with what I saw and what I thought was there," McMaryion said.
"I showed it in spurts here and there and the coaches would give me a pat on the back. But it's definitely something I can take to the next step this year."
In the scrimmage on Saturday McMaryion made a downfield throw to Johnson for a 26-yard gain on a play that had multiple routes down the field. There also was a play in a 7 on 7 period before they went live where he had Johnson open deep as a secondary option on the play and he didn't take the shot.
"If you see space, sometimes they rotate to it and sometimes they don't rotate to it, but it's just making a decision and being confident in your decision and rolling with it," he said.
"I won't hesitate this year. If I see something I'll check to it and if I'm wrong, I'll bite the bullet and talk to coach DeBoer about it and tell him what I saw and he'll tell me what he saw. We're pretty in tune with our checks. "