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

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!

The Most Interesting Man in College Football

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His wink is a play, he quarterbacks with no arm, he runs without moving.

His shadow is the backup QB.

He doesn’t always get paid, but when he does he gets very little! (allegedly)

He is the most interesting man in College Football!

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Being in this business for 30 years playing, coaching, and advising I felt the need to weigh in on this subject that is most topical for all parties: coaches, players, parents, general sports media, and the college sports world.

 If I had the chance to advise Johnny Football…(NCAA ruling non withstanding) (If he had a mulligan) I would’ve advised that there is a right way and wrong way. I think the rules regarding giving your name and likeness away are almost criminal.  Check out this prime example: SBNation.com Article by Peter Berkes.  Some people think a scholarship is equal value of an athletes use of likeness.  I beg to differ.  Furthermore, athletes have no representation, which exaggerates the problem.

 Let me set the scene for you …

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Right before fall camp the team gathers in a meeting room where compliance offers explanations to the new rules and regulations. When they’re finished they hand each player a form that must be signed before they take the field. No one tells these players really what they’re signing.  Really? These kids have no idea about their legal rights whatsoever.  Even walk-ons (full tuition paying athletes) have to sign their likeness away.  So basically the University is saying,”Pay us 50K and we’ll exploit every monetary opportunity of your likeness away.”  Fair?!  I don’t think so!  

Johnny…you can put a stop to this.

Johnny, you can be the ultimate team leader and take on this challenge legally and in the courtroom. 

Johnny, I’ve outlined a few courses of action that must take place.

Step One: File Injunction

Getting a temporary injunction will allow you to schedule autograph signings & personal appearances etc. This will stop the University and NCAA from profiting off your name and likeness until your case is heard before the court. Don’t worry about repercussions from either party,…they can’t touch you during this process, (because that would lead to even more damages on top of the already brewing legal nightmare ex: Ed O’Bannon/EA Sports etc.)  Furthermore, your coaches are employees of the Universities so they can’t OPENLY support what your doing, BUT they won’t stop you either.  Believe it or not, in my experience with coaches, most hate the bylaws regarding your ability not to make money on your likeness.  (This makes their job a lot more difficult to enforce and not worth the hassle.)  Coaches just want to coach.  By filing this injunction surely your message will get across, the NCAA will be fearful of the unknown.  What could be next…safety issues? monetary concerns?  This will put them on their heels to bring them to the bargaining table.  If nothing else this will open dialogue, which will be good for all parties involved.

 Step Two: Stage a Solidarity Pre-Game Handshake

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Pick a nationally televised game and plan a solidarity hand shake before kickoff…show the country you stand united amongst your fellow collegiate athletes, in being able to rightfully profit off of their own name and likeness. Communicate this with your collegiate athletes, by using direct message communication through Facebook and Twitter.  You will have created the perfect example of “Planned Spontaneity.”  By doing so you will have shown America what a natural born leader does when the meek need a voice. 

You, Sir Johnny could be that voice and the topic at every water cooler in the country Monday morning.


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Step Three: Go to Capitol Hill

If Step 2 goes without resolution then gather as many online signatures as possible and deliver them to Capitol Hill. 

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With an outgoing US President who is a sports junkie, he would love to leave a lasting legacy…

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Step Four: Be a Trendsetter

Speaking of legacy, yours will go from Goat by many to Hero my most, for believing in something and taking a stand.  Even if in the short term you will get blasted, in a strange way you will be the modern day Abe Lincoln.  You will be freeing the many athletes that will and have been effected for decades.  

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Side Note: Just think of the possible Marketing opportunities?

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I got one for you!  Picture this…your playing a night game at LSU TIGER STADIUM, it’s a nationally televised game and 20,000 LSU FANS are rocking JOHHNY SUCKS and JOHNNY GOT $$ t-shirts!  OK, ok I know what your thinking, why would you want to deface your self?  Johnny, this what I call MARKETING!  You’re already hated in other parts of the SEC, so why not capitalize on it? 

It was reported you may have received as little as $7,500 for 6 different card signings.  No one really knows for sure, but heres a little math for you…20,000 t-shirts retailed at $20.00 each.  That’s a cool $400,000 with built in margins of 60 to 70%. (You like that don’t you Mark Cuban & Mr. Wonderful? #SharkTank)  How does that sound Johnny Boy? I could see it now…you running on to the field at LSU to the chorus of “JOHNNY SUCKS!  JOHNNY SUCKS!”  The camera pans to you blowing kisses to the local faithful all the while you’re thinking…yes I do suck! 

As you scan the stadium you calculate $20 there, $20 over there…and another, and another!  You haven’t even touched the people who love you who are sporting GO JOHNNY GO & JOHHNY BE GOOD shirts!   Just a thought?! LOL!

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So back where I started…

His wink is a play, he quarterbacks with no arm, he runs without moving.

His shadow is the backup QB.

He doesn’t always get paid, but when he does he gets very little! (allegedly)

He is the most interesting man in College Football!

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 "STAY THIRSTY MY FRIENDS"


Random Thoughts about NFL 2013 Season

A few random thoughts/predictions to ponder for this upcoming NFL Season:

  • What did Defensive Coordinators learn from the Baltimore Ravens last Super Bowl when it comes to defending the Zone Read Concepts??

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  • Will RG3 change his reckless style of play?
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  • Look for Carson Palmer having a career year in Arizona! 
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  •  Mike Vick will turn back the clock as a new and improved version of his Falcon days under Chip Kelly.
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  • The city of New York will once again be “King of Football” as both the Giants & Jets will make the Playoffs!!
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Looking forward to this season!  Any thoughts or comments are always welcome!

2013 Quarterback Draft Diagnosis

Several months ago, I wrote about the impact a proper game plan can have for quarterback prospects heading into the draft.  I also noted some of the more important things to add to their “to do successfully “checklist.  At this time, I’d like to give my most recent report on how a few of the top QB prospects performed, and how their preparation affected them.

Geno Smith 

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I thought Geno did the best overall.  Smith was the top QB heading into the draft and didn’t do anything to drop from his spot.  However, he may not go as early as people thought due to free agency signings, and recent trades to “quarterback hungry teams”.  For the most part, Smith’s workouts were solid, but he did leave many pundits questioning his ability to grasp NFL offenses.  I find this a bit premature, and feel that if given the right situation, Smith has a chance to be a solid NFL Quarterback.

Notes to consider for Geno Smith: (Strong arm, has shown the ability to throw a variety of touch passes, teams must be careful in thinking he is the next Kaepernick….Smith is not nearly the athlete.) 

Matt Barkley

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This one is a little closer to home so it’s a bit difficult to say the following.  I think the world of Matt and he’ll go down as one of the greatest quarterbacks in school’s history, but clearly not the best (when compared to former Trojan alums such as Matt Leinart and Carson Palmer).  I make this statement based off of what these players brought to USC Football.  Palmer and Leinart will always get higher marks due to their outstanding achievements i.e. Heisman Trophy winners and National Championships, (and of course, ultimately they were 1st rounders in the NFL Draft).  I wish I could say this about Barkley, but his senior season and his Pro Day workout would make that a “reach” at this point.

Notes to consider for Matt Barkley: (4 years starting quarterback for both programs he played with i.e. Mater Dei HS (first 4 year starter) and USC , despite senior year…he should not be undervalued, Barkley is an intelligent player and has a  ”Manning” like control & feel for the game)

 

Ryan Nassib

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This guy could be a sleeper in this year’s draft class.  Nassib has a very strong arm with Steve Young like athleticism.  While in college, Nassib lead his undermanned Syracuse football team to a bowl game in 2012.  He ended his college career breaking the school total passing yards record (9,060), pass completions (780), and passing yards per game (201.3). Clearly, with this much talent, the early 2nd round if not late 1st would be a realistic choice for someone of his skill set and upside.

Notes to Consider for Ryan Nassib: (He may be a steal in the 2nd round, his old coach from Syracuse, Doug Marrone is now head coach for Bills, Nassib has a gunslinger mentality similar to a famous 2nd rounder who played for the Packers…Brett Favre ring a name??)

 

Sounding Off:

Unfortunately and interestingly, the best quarterback in this draft may be a veteran.  If all indicators are correct about the Philadelphia Eagles leaning towards drafting Geno Smith with their 1st round pick, then Nick Foles will be a hot prospect!  Remember Matt Hasselback’s early career?  Matt started his career in Green Bay before he was traded to Seattle and there his Pro Bowl career began!

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On the surface this quarterback draft class appears to be weak, but I’m betting that after all the dust is settled…these guys will be solid productive starting quarterbacks in the NFL……. in the very near future.

When you run out of time to build that Field of Dreams?!  I guess a lit tennis court will do! #behindthescenes #FreeTimTebow #FieldGenerals

The Evolution of A Quarterback: Matt Barkley


By: Steve Clarkson

 When the USC Football season started, quarterback Matt Barkley was regarded as the Top Quarterback in college and possibly the number one pick overall in the 2013 NFL Draft.  At this time, USC was also picked to run the table on the way to a National Championship and Matt Barkley was expected to win the Heisman Trophy for a storybook ending.  That was then and this is now.  USC ended the season on a four game losing streak and finished with a 7-5 record.  To make matters worse Matt Barkley was injured in the UCLA loss and his availability for the Hyundai Sun Bowl game is in doubt.

The Critics have come out, and like always, the starting quarterback becomes the culprit, trying to make us believe that Matt Barkley’s stock may have fallen at such a rate that he may no longer be a first round look. 

The Evolution of A Quarterback is a long process.  Before I dive into it, I would like to mention that this is free advice for Matt, his family, and all who represent him.  This is what I would like to see happen between now and April’s draft….   

 1st Prediction

When all is said and done, Matt Barkley will not only be in the first round, but a top 20 pick in April’s draft.

The last time the Spirit of Troy witnessed Matt Barkley, he was walking out on the field with arm in sling to the chorus of a standing ovation, in recognition for all he sacrificed for the good of the Cardinal & Gold. 

Matt came back under the mantra of “unfinished business”.  Of course, this season isn’t what he and his teammates had in mind, but I’ll argue that Matt accomplished quite bit given the situation of USC.  I’m sure Matt has the urge to play in USC’s bowl game and be in that uniform one more time, but that would be a mistake!

 1st Piece of Advice:  Matt should continue to do what he’s always done, which is to keep USC moving forward.  In my opinion, Matt playing in the bowl game is meaningless for his career.  Playing too soon after his injury could do a lot of damage if not 100% healthy.

 2nd Piece of Advice: The next game Matt should play in is the Senior Bowl, period!  This will give Matt and his agents enough time to survey the landscape and come up with a proper strategy for Matt leading up to April’s draft. 

 I’ve been a part of this process for more than 25 years and what history has shown us is that trends change.  Each quarterback has their own trend and it is ever changing.  Barkley was the “can’t miss kid coming into college.  Now, there are whispers that Matt’s stock has fallen, and people are questioning his ability and thus his future quarterback success.

3rd Piece of Advice:  There is no better time than now to take these months and get back to the “can’t miss kid coming into the NFL.”

Matt Barkley’s Check List:

  •  9 weeks to prepare for the Senior Bowl-This is a time to work on all your weaknesses while still  maintaining all the things you have done well up to this point.
  •  Re-introduce the public to Matt Barkley-Highlight the attributes that have made you so special, i.e. all your charity here in the United States, overseas, your work with the Marines, and of course why you came back to USC in the first place…
  • Senior Bowl should be where you shine the most.- Your ability to communicate to your coaches will be noticed.  This is the time where the evaluators will be more than impressed with your ability to make and execute all the plays.
  • Next up is the NFL combine.  To work out?  Or not to workout?  That is the question-This question will be answered based on your performance at the Senior Bowl.  Let’s assume the game went well, very well…Because you played so well at the Senior Bowl, everyone will have just seen the incredible talent you have, with doubters hiding for the shadows.  Your performance you will then be enable you to take the NFL combine as a time to focus on the personal interviews etc.  Make sure to have your agents notify the NFL that you will only be participating in the physicals and the interviews at the combine.
  • Moving onto the Pro Day workout.  This is more like a “Performance.”The key is to write your script that highlights the needs of teams that are most likely to select a quarterback in draft.

NOTE: This process is made easier when your agents send out a request to the      coaches asking for what they would like to see in your Pro Day workout.

  • Make sure your “Performance,” leaves the coaches and evaluators wanting to see more. 
  • Always leave enough room in your “script” to execute the unexpected, i.e., coaches may request for a specific throw or movement
  • If you do well at the Pro Day, you will be invited to perform a private workout with those teams that are very, very interested in you. 

NOTE: These workouts will most likely be with the coaches and the offensive coordinators.

  • Finally at the end of the day, everything that you’ve displayed over the last 8 years of your quarterbacking life will come down to this question…

 How will they view Matt Barkley as the LEADER of their franchise?

         -His character

         -Work ethic

         -Ability to reach a higher ceiling

         -Intelligence on and off the field

         -The intangibles

         -Marketability

LAST BUT NOT LEAST, PEOPLE WILL FINALLY COME TO THEIR SENSES…THAT YOUR BODY OF WORK OVER THE LAST FOUR YEARS WILL PROVE, ONCE AGAIN THAT YOU ARE WHAT THEY THOUGHT YOU WERE…”THE CAN’T MISS KID COMING INTO THE NFL.”

-By: Steve Clarkson

The Art of A Quarterback

The Art of A Quarterback: By Steve Clarkson
San Francisco Chronicle
Dec 12, 1981

"The quarterback is like an artist. The artist controls what goes where on the canvas. The quarterback controls what goes where on the gridiron. His focus is on his receivers down field, and the on-rushers become a swirl of colors beneath his main vision."