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

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.”

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!

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!

QB Guru’s Sound Off on QB Draft Class

Check out today’s Bleacher Report article; “QB Guru’s Sound Off on QB Draft Class.” By Josh Gleason

Thank you Bleacherreport.com and Josh for including my thoughts and evaluation.

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1601566-2013-nfl-draft-quarterback-gurus-sound-off-on-draft-class

Enjoy!

The Sabotage Of The Quarterback

It was only a few years ago when the New York Jets had unveiled a promising bright new star.  He was the player formerly known as the “Sanchize.” 

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Yes I know…he was only completing 54.9% of his passes, but he was also doing something very few rookie QB’s in NFL would accomplish and that was to lead his team within one game of the Super Bowl.  He was the next Broadway Joe…he was Mark Sanchez, or as rabid Jets fans would call him…Mark Sanchize.  That was THEN this is NOW

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The same quarterback with so much promise is now just a shadow of himself.  A broken spirited quarterback with very little support.   The good news is it’s not too late to rectify this situation. 

If I may, I would like to take this time and be NFL Commissioner for the day-

  •  My first order of business would be to summon the owners of the New York Jets and the Jacksonville Jaguars to my NFL office.  The purpose of this meeting would be to remind them the importance of “The Shield,” as the #1 global brand.  My job as the NFL commissioner is to make sure that the shield comes first, and what makes good business for the shield is that both the Jets and the Jaguars are profitable.

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  •  I would then show the Jaguars an aerial view of their empty stadium on game day, which is not good business for anyone or any franchise. 

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  • I will then do what my great predecessor (Rodger Goodell) did when he hand walked an extraordinary quarterback talent, Mike Vick to the Philadelphia Eagles.  He knew the Eagles Organization was the proper setting for him to succeed upon being released from prison, and that he did.  So, in a round about way I would apply the simple process of “step and repeat”.  
  • I would order Tim Tebow immediate free agency with the condition of him signing with the Jaguars.  Being a hometown hero of Jacksonville, a proven winner, and true competitor this would solve the empty stadium issues and give the good people of Jacksonville something to hang their hats on…some HOPE.

Now back to what I do as a Quarterback Coach.  When I trained Tim a month or so ago, I came away telling myself one thing….. despite what others may arguei.e. running back, fullback, wedge breaker, yada yada yada, he is A QUARTERBACK….. and if given the right setting, he WILL win. 

 

The Evolution of A Quarterback Part III

By: Steve Clarkson

At some point, each quarterback must decide if they have what it takes to be A LEADING MAN.  This process is very long, and most of the time it begins at an early age.  A quarterback is a rare breed, they must have the ability to take the criticism in defeat and pass out the praise in victory. 

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 It is my opinion that every GREAT team should have a “Leading Man.”  If you show me a championship team, it would be safe to say that 98% of the time they have just that.  So, lets look at the current situation in the National Football League. 

 When I introduced the Evolution of the Quarterback Series, the first thing I mentioned was a specialized quarterback coach for each NFL team.  This coach would be brought on board full time to be a mentor/coach for an upcoming quarterback superstar.  Surely, for the amount of money spent on the quarterback position alone I think it warrants special handling!  In the Evolution of the Quarterback: Part I, I eluded to WHO might be one of those specialized quarterback coaches i.e Steve Mariucci, Brian Billick, Sam Wyche and Jim Fassel who are retired former NFL coaches with an excellent reputation for developing quarterbacks.   Here are a couple recommendations that I believe will lead to success:

 #1:Today’s game is very competitive and forever evolving.  Imagine if each “Leading Man,” had someone to help them stay on top of these changes, and ahead of the curve. 

 #2:Each team must choose a quarterback that your fan base will BELIEVE in.  Let’s face it, at the end of the day you must win over the paying audience.  Once you pick your “Leading Man,” you stick with him and spare no expense to make sure of his success.  Second guessing him will set your efforts back for years!

 Some of the greatest quarterbacks of all time began with controversy.  Take Rodger Staubach for example.  Rodger shared snaps with Craig Morton before Tom Landry and the Dallas Cowboys settled on what might be one of the most beloved quarterbacks in franchise history. 

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 Next…Tom Brady.

I remember what I first met Tom Brady.  It was on July 16th, 1994 at LA Wilson High for my Air 7 Quarterback Camp.  I was so impressed with his release and footwork, which were supreme to all the other quarterbacks present at the time.  The reason he stood out was mostly attributed to his early quarterback training with the late great quarterback coach Tom Martinez.  All of those hours of training and hard work were certainly well worth the development of one the game’s greatest quarterbacks in present time.  (Below:Tom Brady as a teenager)

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The point I’m trying to make is that it takes years of preparation to get to the next level, and even more to stay there!  Ask any of the greatest quarterbacks and I’m sure they’ll tell you their journey started when they were 8-9 years old. (Below: Eli and Peyton with their father Archie Manning)

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 Today, like no other time in history have we seen kids develop at such an early age.  I’m sure if you followed the journey of most quarterback greats you would discover someone who worked with them along the way.  Whether it was a knowledgeable father/family figure or quarterback coach, this still was a huge advantage to them. 

 While acknowledging that quarterbacks are highly paid, some cases are well deserved.  It makes me wonder why the NFL team owners won’t spend good money on a quarterback coach to be their “Leading Man’s” full time quarterback expert.  Imagine someone like Kurt Warner with a quarterback like…Mark Sanchez, helping him slow the game down and figuring out how to make the pieces work.  It worked well for Eli Manning!!!  “I’m just saying”… 

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In the words of Sonny Werblin, “We are here to BUILD stars, because that is what sells!”  Prime example: Broadway Joe 

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 I have been conducting an experiment on my Facebook Page.  It’s called “name association”.  We posted each NFL conference separately and asked people what word came to mind when they saw each team’s logo.  It’s interesting to find that most of the answers did not consist of a quarterback name.  However, you will notice that the most consistent quarterbacks mentioned were leading men of their franchises.   Does your team have a Leading Man??? 

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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