Steve Clarkson

Sep 02

My Takeaways Of Saturday’s SoCal Football: USC & UCLA

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USC

In one word…Wow!  I loved their sure dominance in how they handled all the distractions of this week.  They pretty much dismantled Fresno State…I know, after all it was Fresno State we’re talking about, but opening games are usually the easiest to struggle with.  Just ask Alabama, Florida State and UCLA!

Game Poppers:

The biggest thing about USC that jumped out at me was their team speed!  As only Robert Dinero would say…”This team has great Ju Ju!”  AKA…Ju Ju Smith, one of a handful of true freshmen who have tons of speed to burn.  The speed on this SC team was evident everywhere!  Cody Kessler was simply brilliant in his new coaches’ offense, and showed great ability getting the ball off quickly and accurately to 9 different receivers.  

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 UCLA: 

I know it’s only one game, and some may be concerned about what they witnessed Saturday playing against University of Virginia.  I want to tell you all to pump your breaks on the panic button!  This is the first year in my lifetime of 53 years that UCLA has come into a football season with so much hype and expectation. 

Bad: 

The obvious bad news is a very ugly win…and I’m being kind with that!  My biggest concern for this UCLA team is a lack of real speed at the WR position.  Also, the fact that your QB Brett Hundley remains your best and leading rusher?!  

The Bright Side: 

I’m going to give UCLA a pass on this one, and so should the supporters/hater, this is why. 

  1. For about 4 weeks now they’ve been hearing on ESPN and other media platforms how they are the best team in college football, and how they now own the city of Los Angeles.   
  2. Jim Mora is exactly what the doctor ordered for UCLA. This will be a great teaching aid for the coach to get after his troops for expecting just to show up and have their opponents roll over.
  3. UCLA’s defense was outstanding, and adding 3 touchdowns to the board!  Myles Jack is a lock for the Butkus award, and if he continues to play like this they may have to change the name of this award to…The Jack ‘N’ the Box Award.  Yeah, I know that was a cheap plug!
  4. A few things to consider for which this game was played. 

A: UCLA played a game at 9am!  PST!  

B: They had to travel across the country and play on the road in extreme humid conditions, which usually takes days to get used to. 

C:  On the other side Virginia was really prepared and certainly was tired of hearing how they were just road kill on the way to Dallas. 

D: There is a whole season ahead of you to turn things around…

Jul 08

Meet Mater Dei Highschool’s Quarterback Jack Lowary

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Jack Lowary or Captain Jack as we all call him around here.  Captain Jack has always impressed me with his larger than life persona.  The highly charismatic quarterback will have a major impact on the Mater Dei’s football program this year.  Jack reminds me of a cross between Matt Leinart and Carson Palmer.  Jack may be one of the Nation’s best kept secrets…but trust me he won’t be for long!  As his quarterback coach, I can’t wait for him to show everyone what I have seen for years!

Back in May at our San Diego Quarterback Retreat, Greg Biggins-National Recruiting Analyst for FOX Sports/Scout.com was able to sit down and meet with Southern California’s powerhouse Mater Dei Highschool’s upcoming QB 1 Jack Lowary.  See below for full article breakdown:

Very few programs anywhere in the country have the track record of

producing next level quarterbacks like Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei.

Jack Lowary will be the guy for the Monarchs next season and he has

all the physical tools to play at the next level as well.

Jack Lowary was one of several talented quarterbacks who attended the

Steve Clarkson QB Retreat in San Diego over the weekend. Physically,

Lowary has everything you’re looking for in a college quarterback and

just needs game experience.

He’s a big, strong 6-4, 230 pound kid with a huge arm and the ability

to make all the throws. He’s a pocket passer but has some mobility and

can throw on the run with plenty of velocity and accuracy.

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“I’ve been working out with Steve since the 5th grade and it’s always

fun to come out and get together like this,” Lowary said over the

weekend. It’s a time to catch up with some of the guys and talk to

Wilton (Speight) and Max (Wittek) and learn from them.

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“The Retreat is more about family and having fun. We put in a lot hard

work on Sunday’s training with Steve but this is more about having a

good time with the other guys. Steve has been great for me though and

I’ve learned a ton.

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“He has really helped me with my foundation and not using my arm so

much. Now we’re just fine tuning some things, using my base and lower

half more so it’s not just all arm.”

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As a junior, Lowary played a backup role to Chase Forrest who signed

with California. He’ll be the guy as a senior and said he can’t wait.

-Greg Biggins

Some Jack Lowary HIghlights:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxqUNjBYWQg

Since the retreat in May Jack had been working hard and preparing the best he can.  We were able to catch up with him and get some final words on his upcoming senior season.

"What I’m looking most forward to is the opportunity to finally play and be at the helm of the offense.  It’s such a honor to be the starting quarterback at a great high school like Mater Dei.  Mater Dei’s  quarterback legacy is 2nd to none.  I’m very excited to be able to show everyone what I can do and I have great teammates and a coaching staff to support me." -Jack Lowary

GOOD LUCK CAPT!

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Jul 01

Ducks All In A Row for Travis Waller

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(Travis Waller and the Downtown Los Angeles City Scape)

To begin this piece I would like to go back to where it all started…Just another example of a parent (his mother Bridgette) wanting the best for her quarterback.

 The search to prepare my son to compete with other top QB’s brought us to the group training program led by Steve Clarkson.  As I sat and observed I noticed that there was about 8-10 QB’s out there that appeared to either be headed to the next level or had already secured a QB position in college. My son had a challenging task to rise up and compete with these guys. As the weeks passed his confidence and willingness to learn brought him the results he needed to compete. Between the on field workouts and classroom sessions he is now aligned with some of the other top QB’s. There’s still more work to be done and he looks forward to it. The entire program is run professionally with a sincere focus to transform all the players who attend. I was impressed that all players were treated the same and that many of them created new friendships. Though they have tremendous and tedious workouts the players all walk off the field like they had a good time.” – Bridgette Waller (October 2013)

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(Travis and his mother)

The first time I met Travis Waller I was amazed how a kid so new to the quarterback position could already be so dominant.  Travis currently plays at Servite High School, which happens to have an SEC type schedule for their level.  Travis was always the best player on the field.

In a very short time Travis made himself a national top-flight recruit with his ability to show how accurate he was in the pocket, and even more his dangerous ability of extending plays outside of it.  A lot of times in my business evaluators are always looking for comparisons instead of believing that he might just be what others will some day be compared to.  Travis is the very definition of what it truly means to carry the moniker of Trendsetter.

One of the things I value most when it comes to evaluating a quarterback is the player’s work ethic.  I’ve been training quarterbacks for 30 years, and rarely have seen a player with Travis’s desire to be the best.  Each Sunday my program offers training sessions year round.  Every session, even during the season he was relentless in his pursuit to being greatness.  At the same time he became a role model for my young aspiring quarterbacks.

 “It is very difficult to attend every Sunday training session because I have to wake up very early.  Which means I have to go to sleep on Saturday night at 10:30 or so.  What teenager goes to sleep at 10:30pm on Saturday night?  I believe this is what separates me from a lot of people.  I dedicate everything towards training.  Sometimes in life to get where you want to be, you have to give up some things.”

- Travis Waller 

From my experience, to be a successful quarterback you must have the unique ability to balance the personalities in the huddle, and the expectations of those who aren’t.  You must be able to demand respect by your play on the field and be willing to take the blame when others don’t quite measure up.  Travis has that special gift.  He has the ability with his simple approach of looking at each game as an opportunity to conquer impossible odds.  Southern California’s, Servite HS was an underdog in most games during the 2013 season.  However, the mere presence of number eleven made the opposition less optimistic about their chances for victory.  Travis has that special thing they call the “it factor”.  You get the feeling that there’s nothing Travis couldn’t do, and that’s what makes him so special, because there really isn’t.

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When it came down to where Travis should play his college days the choice was simple.  Right from the beginning Travis saw himself as an Oregon Duck.  Their offense was well…..Trendsetting!   So it was only fitting that the two would eventually come together, and today on July 1st, 2014 Travis decided that the (school that NIKE built was the perfect place to showcase his off the chart skills set.)  Oregon!!!…

 For all you Ducks….You may possibly  in fact be losing Marcus Mariota to the NFL DRAFT, but you got yourself a new LEADING MAN!!  Yes, Oregon you’ve lined the Ducks up in a row just perfectly!

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(Proud Coach!)

 Greg Biggins- National Recruiting Analyst for FOX Sports/Scout.com comments on Travis and his offer to Oregon.

"Waller would be an ideal fit in Oregon’s offense. He’s a mobile quarterback who can run around and make plays but he has the pocket presence and arm talent to make plays with his arm as well. Oregon’s offense has always worked best with a quarterback who can stretch a defense as a running threat combined with being able to make throws down the field.

Waller can do both, he’s a very good athlete and can run like a deer but has made huge strides as a pure passer and can make all the throws on the field.  He’s a natural leader, very likeable and should be able to attract plenty of talent to play with him at Oregon.”

I had the chance to ask UCLA’s quarterback Brett Hundley his own thoughts on Waller…

"I had a chance to get to know him at the the Steve Clarkson Quarterback Retreat this year, and he is a natural born leader.  The first thing I noticed was that the other QB’s gravitated towards him.  He is an amazing passer who just so happens to be a great athlete.  Which is a major plus in today’s game!  Travis is a defensive coordinators worst nightmare!”

-UCLA’s QB Brett Hundleyimage

(Travis being coached up by Brett Hundley, May 2014)

I am very excited to see how this #trendsetter’s journey unfolds, and I am certain it will be too bright for anyone NOT to notice.

The “O” is going to be very happy! image

(Travis with his mother Bridgette and brother Austin, and his new Oregon Family)

Check out Travis’s Trendsetter page and his 2013 highlights!  

http://steveclarksondreammaker.com/trendsetter/travis-waller

Jun 30

One on One with Wilton Speight at Steve Clarkson Quarterback Retreat

Each year we are lucky to have our college quarterbacks attend our Quarterback Retreat as college counselors. What works perfectly is that they are able to give the younger players their insight on the game, and being at the next level. We also welcome Greg Biggins-National Recruiting Analyst for FOX Sports/Scout.com who was able to sit down with the following gridiron #trendsetters.

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Wilton Speight:

Michigan quarterback Wilton Speight has been a regular at the Steve
Clarkson QB Retreat three years running now and two weeks ago, the big
signal caller took part but this time as a camp counselor.

It has been an amazing transformation watching Wilton Speight over the
last few years. From a player who barely looked like a legitimate Div
I prospect three years ago to a player now playing for one of the
nation’s premier programs, it has definitely been fun watching Speight
grow as a quarterback and a person.

“I always have a ton of fun being out here,” Speight said while in San
Diego. “The last two years, I had a lot of fun competing with the
other quarterbacks and this year was fun being a camp counselor and
working with some of the younger kids out here.

“It’s a great experience and a fun environment. Steve (Clarkson) has
been great for me and has helped me a lot. He really developed me as a
quarterback and a player and I’ll always be grateful for that.”

Speight graduated early from high school and was able to take part in
spring ball at Michigan.

“Spring ball was awesome,” Speight said. When I got there, I hit the
ground running and tried to prove myself to the older guys in the
locker room. I wanted to show them I was ready to compete and win and
it was a great experience.

“There was an adjustment because I was only there for a few days when
I found out Coach Borges was getting fired. I was obviously
disappointed since he was the one who recruited me and I had a great
relationship with him. Once I heard Coach Nuss (Nussmeier) was coming
in though, I was very excited and it has been great learning from
him.”

Speight said he had already developed a relationship with Coach
Nussmeier prior to signing with Michigan.

“Nuss is a great guy, really intense and a perfectionist,” Speight
said. “Anything less than perfection is considered a failure and
that’s our mindset right now as a team. He brings a fast pace, high
tempo system and I’ve learned a lot from him already.

“I had talked to him while he was at Bama and I knew what a great
coach he was. He’s a great fit in our program and we’re all very
excited to have the opportunity to play for him.”

Speight said the receiver corp is loaded and will definitely surprise
some people.

“Devin Funchess is unreal and makes 2-3 catches every practice that
make your jaw drop,” Speight said. “Amara Darboh is a beast and he’s
100% now and ready to go. Then we have two young guys that came in
with me, Drake Harris and Freddy Canteen, and they’re going to be
special.

“Drake is my roommate and is a great guy. Unforunately, he hurt his
hammy and also got Mono so he missed some time. Freddy is a freak and
is going to shock everyone. We called him Freddy ‘Footwork’ because
his feet are so fast. He loves to work, we worked out a lot after
spring practice and he’s just an unreal talent.”

As for his role, Speight said he won’t be content just being a backup,
he’s looking to compete.

“Devin (Gardner) is the No. 1 guy and if we had to play a game
tomorrow, he would be our starter,” Speight said. “He’s a great person
and has helped me a ton. I watch him as much as I can and try and
learn as much as I can.

“I’m always taking mental notes and reps and want to keep getting
better. This fall camp is going to be big for all of us and I’m going
in with the mindset that I want to win the starting job. Nuss did a
good job of getting all of us reps during the spring and I’m happy
where I’m at right now and ready to go.”

Feb 13

Throw King Crimson…Throw…

Disclaimer: Now before you read this blog, let’s make it clear that I am an AJ McCarron fan.  I think he is poised beyond his years and if you need proof, just check my tweets.

 This is a huge weekend for the “quarterback position” for this years’ upcoming NFL draft.  It’s the time of the year when the top college QB prospects will get grilled and prodded like a Bone-in Rib-Eye.  Yes!  You guessed it…The NFL Combine. 

For a few it’s a time to build your case on why a team should select you.  Others will be left to pick up the pieces on what was once a promising career.  For some of these prospects the wheels were wobbly even before getting to this point.  Example: AJ McCarron of Alabama, who I love coming out of their bowl game.  Only to not participate in the Senior Bowl, and to follow that up by NOT participating in the throwing drills at the combine, this I just don’t understand.  AJ’s biggest asset is his LEADERSHIP qualities! Furthermore, his very impressive resume, which includes two National Titles (which could have easily been three), and a possible Heisman Trophy (had it not been for a freak field goal return for a touchdown). 

Up until this point AJ McCarron has done everything right……However, by not playing in the Senior Bowl AJ missed the chance to show just how valuable he could be to a team.  Especially those looking for a potential franchise quarterback in the likes of Tom Brady, Peyton Manning or Joe Montana.  By doing so he went against what he has always done best, and that is to COMPETE! 

Again, I want to be very clear…I’ve always been a huge fan of AJ and I’ve taken plenty of heat for doing so.  I just don’t agree with this approach when he has so much to gain and not nearly as much to lose.  What is the down side?  That your arm wasn’t the strongest in draft?  No secret, we all know that.  But we also know that there is no other quarterback who was better prepared to seize the moment, like AJ, the Quarterback that played for Americas most demanding Coach (Nick Saban) and Fan Base (Alabama).

 Furthermore, to make things more frustrating you have decided to PASS at the NFL Combine, where the throws are very simplistic and not as challenging as most people think.  So by skipping the Senior Bowl AND the throwing portion of the combine you are taking the all or nothing approach, (just throwing at Pro Day) which could lead to the biggest upset of your career.

 AJ, you are a true competitor and champion.  But you know better than anyone what can happen when you put all yours eggs in one play!  #GoingForTheFieldGoal instead of playing safe for overtime!  You Remember…  

 Good Luck AJ!!!  Hope you have a Rabbits Foot!  If not I’ll put one in the mail.

Roll Tide! 

Feb 11

Some NFL QB’s Being Underpaid???

Interesting topic for debate brought to you by Jason La Confora of CBS: 

http://mweb.cbssports.com/nfl/writer/jason-la-canfora/24438540/face-it-nfl-quarterbacks-are-underpaid-and-salary-cap-is-way-too-low which suggests that NFL quarterbacks are greatly underpaid compared to other sports stars and entertainers.  For years I’ve always felt that the NFL has missed the boat by not protecting and compensating their most valuable asset.  

Finally, someone else agrees with my way of thinking…  

The top tier quarterbacks should be exempt from the salary cap, which has gone in reverse since 2009.  Even though at the same time individual NFL Team profits have gone up!  Did you know that the NFL just set a world record for views on a “single telecast” with more than…………….One-Hundred- and-Eighteen- MILLION viewers who tuned for the #SuperBowl48.  Yes, Peyton Manning was awful but he WAS, and will continue TO BE box office!  This was accomplished by Peyton playing his entire career in a small market!  

Due to the all salary cap restrictions…the NFL’s richest team owner, Paul Allen has had the luxury of owning a Porsche while only having to pay for the price of a Volkswagen!  What a deal?  Or steal?  

Let’s face it…Eddie Murphy hasn’t made a good flick since “Coming to America," yet he still gets 20 MILLION a film!  

"Ba,ba,ba,ba,ba,ba, BOOM!  Help!  Eddie!  Aunt Bunny fell down the Steps!"

Feb 06

Great Read On The Mind Set of Quarterback Russell Wilson

All quarterbacks should take note for their off season…This guy right here…Russell Wilson

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http://mmqb.si.com/2014/02/04/russell-wilson-seattle-seahawks-super-bowl-xlviii/

He talks about his drive to be “better than yesterday & better tomorrow than today.” I think the biggest asset to Russell Wilson’s game is his ability to HANDLE THE MOMENT. He doesn’t ever look at what WAS or what WILL be, just what IS and the importance of being the most efficient player on the field every single down! As a quarterback coach, one of the first things I look for in a QB is his ability to create a NEGATIVE into a POSITIVE.

Russell Wilson continues to impress me with his ability to come up with big timely plays when needed the most. There have been times this past season where Russell has not had a great game statistically, but when needed most has made a key throw or run to keep drives alive. Which then led to game winning moments. Maybe the most impressive thing about his game has been his ability to avoid the big hits and remain heathy. Today’s game is very challenging for the style in which Russell plays so that’s a huge accomplishment! Just ask RGIII!

Dec 12

Braves On The War Path

      Over the course of fourteen weeks we have all watched as the #WashingtonRedskins, a once proud franchise dissolve right before our very eyes.  It seemed like not too long ago that Joe Gibbs was the chief architect (no pun intended) of one of NFL’s most stabled franchises!  Well, that was then and this is now…

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      The glory days of this must see team of the ages have been replaced by the daily soap opera known as All My Children.  The once highly respected #WashingtonRedskins are at a major crossroads, and that’s putting it mildly!  Washington’s head coach Mike Shanahan, who may I add has not one, but TWO Super Bowl championships under his belt, has been second guessed.  The “second guessing” has been done by many people for his handling of the Redskins, and in particular #RG3.  This has always been debatable, but there’s no debate where the majority of the blame lies!  Daniel Snyder must be held accountable for all the bad Karma and what ever negative result comes of this union.

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      With this being said, this is a correctable situation.  First, we must truly understand how it got this point.  Let’s go back to the very beginning.

A.  Dan Snyder needed to hire a coach who had credibility and proven track record for building a team that could compete year in and out. Someone who had the cache, which would attract Free Agents, and more importantly a coach who had a reputation for developing #quarterbacks!  Bingo!  This was accomplished by the hiring of Mike Shanahan.

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B.  Draft a franchise #Quarterback to be the face of the franchise for years to come.  The #Redskins accomplished this by selecting Robert Griffin III.  Robert was a hot commodity and was just awarded #TheHeismanTrophy, which is college football’s highest honor.  #RG3 was a very rare combination of top end speed, a deadly accurate arm with the charm and charisma.  This combo was the perfect recipe of what could make your franchise one of NFL’S hottest tickets.

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C.  Dan Snyder needed Mike Shanahan to know that he “Dan Snyder” wanted to have a hands on approach when it came to running his ball club, which brings us to the problem.  There’s no way that Mike would have accepted this job under those circumstances.  Dan needed someone who was clearly just happy to be employed and would’ve been more receptive to his philosophy, but of course that didn’t happen.

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      So what do you do now?  For the #Redskins and most notably Daniel Snyder, he must, as the owner meet with Mike and give him assurances that this is Mike’s team to run as he’s sees fit.  Now here is where you can save face… 

1.  Extend Mike’s contract as a token of good faith. 

2.  Ask him to work this offseason with #RG3 to make him the franchise player you both thought he was when you drafted him.  Then ask Mike to give #RG3 a year to prove himself.  If he doesn’t work out then the franchise will need to move in another direction as far as the #quarterback position goes. 

3.  Bring #RG3 in your office with Mike at your side and inform him that they will trade #KirkCousins so that he can truly develop as a #quarterback without looking over his shoulder.  The biggest thing is that you make sure Robert understands that he must get off his #RG3 Island, build a better relationship with Mike, and put himself back in the locker room with his teammates.  It must be very clear that #RG3 MUST play well and LEAD this franchise back to box office status or he won’t be here! 

4.  Schedule a press conference with Mike and #RG3 at your side and make a public apology for putting everyone in this situation…including the fans who have supported this organization for the past couple of years.  Vow that this will never happen again! 

5.  Also you need to come to grips that times have changed and with that so must the team name, which has been symbol or your ball club from the very beginning.  By doing so could give the team the good JuJu that it so desperately needs! 

      Right about now your asking yourself, “Why in the world would I do this?”  It’s simple, look at the alternatives…If you fire Shanahan then… #RG3 is the biggest loser because he’ll lose the support of the locker room, which you need to succeed as a #quarterback.  You will also lose, because you’ll never get a more qualified head coach again and the fans will stop supporting your hobby!  Finally, Mike loses because he’ll be remembered as the coach who quit on his team, and was not equipped to handle the modern day player!

     So by extending Mike, trading Kirk and recommitting to the long-term stability of your franchise.  You will be enabling the rehabilitation of your once Pro Bowl caliber #FieldGeneral #RG3, and you’ll put you and your franchise in a win, win, Win situation!!! 

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 Ps. I do have a suggestion for the new team name!  The Tribe!  The helmet logo would go back to the spear, which is part of your past!  Instead of what currently offends many!  Forward progress…forward motion only leads to success! 

Good Luck Chief!