DevilsDigest: Coach, can you please tell us about the two quarterbacks we recruited?
Mark Helfrich: Andy Goodenough – He's a guy that we identified since high school. Back then he was under developed as quarterback, but he did do some good things in high school. We just kept our eye on him. The last couple of years at Palomar, he developed into a great passer. He's a very good drop back passer who's extremely accurate; he threw something like 68%. So, we hope he continues to do that here and even get better. He's not gonna win any sprints, but he does a great job getting the ball out on time. That in some ways can help more than asking a guy to run with the ball. He's not a guy we're gonna run the triple option with, but we're not gonna ask him either (smile).
Kellen Bradley – Going into last year we had four scholarship quarterbacks. Then, with the transfer (of Krohn), and Matt Cooper going to tight end, our recruiting priorities changed rather quickly. We needed a backup plan. We were shooting for the moon for an elite list of guys early, but Kellen is someone we followed all along. When you watch him from the beginning of his season until the end, he was improving leaps and bounds every week. He added about 20 pounds since we had him here in camp in the summer. Very intelligent guy, and very athletic. We really look forward to him improving once he gets here.
DD: When looking at the recruitment of Andy Goodenough, one of the best JC quarterbacks in the nation, would it be fair to say that he's expected to contribute right away?
MA: I think we'll have a great competition this spring. We're not going into spring training thinking that this guy has to be number one, and this guy number two. We need someone to step up and be the man, whoever that guy is. It's better if it happens in the spring, rather than the fall. That will help us prepare accordingly, and help that player assume the leadership position. But as far as pre-conceived order, we don't do that.
DD: Compared to Goodenough and Andrew Walter, Chad Christensen is the unknown of the quarterbacks group. What can you tell us about the year Chad had on the scout team, and your expectation of him for the spring?
MA: He'll be in the mix, and it will be fun watching him there battle. Chad has developed quite a bit both physically and athletically. He's doing a great job in the weight room. We don't yet what he can do in our system. On the scout team, he's everybody else's quarterback. He did a great job with that. We do look for him to improve this year. Andrew Walter is a guy that improved leaps and bounds last year, but he still has to make improvements to make so he can be a quarterback you can win with in the Pac-10.
DD: You mentioned one of your quarterbacks, Matt Cooper, moving to tight end. Can you tell us how all this evolved?
MA: It was his idea. Coop is an awesome guy, and he wanted to find a spot where he can contribute on the field next year. He felt that tight end was the spot. He's doing a great job so far working out. He has his weight up, and he's a great worker. His personality and work ethic are contagious, and we need that on the our Football team. Will he be a good tight end? I don't know. I've never seen him block Terrell Suggs (smile), so that part will be foreign to him. But it would be great if he surprised everyone at tight end.
DD: When Dirk Koetter and his staff took over a year ago, it seemed that the quarterback position was full of questions marks. Due to various circumstances, here we are in the same position a year later. Isn't it frustrating to be faced with the same issue a year later?
MA: I don't know. I guess it could be, but my focus is on what the guys are now and what they can become. Those are exciting things to me. We need to develop all of our quarterbacks, and whoever is chosen to play we have to structure the system around their strengths, and go from there. That's all we can do. I don't think that not having a clear cut #1 guy in spring practice is detrimental to the success down the road.
Q&A With Coach Mark Helfrich
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