How are the quarterbacks looking this spring?
Brian Lindgren: “I think we have improved as a group. You can see the progress that we've made from practice one to right now. We've seen Steven Montez, with his experience, play with a lot of confidence. Things are slowing down for him and he has looked really sharp operating the offense. He just looks really comfortable out there. And then the three young guys – Tyler Lytle, Sam Noyer and Casey Marksberry – are all getting their first taste of the real fast action. Sam and Casey were both here last fall but they were really with the young group. I like the progress that those guys have made. You can see their development each practice. They are still just getting familiar, especially with different situations like the two-minute drill and down and distance, and the different decisions that you have to make.”
You lose Sefo Liufau's intangibles and his leadership... is Steven Montez stepping up in those regards, or is it hard to gauge until he is out there with live bullets coming at him?
“Well, I think the experience of him last year getting to come in and start some games, and play in some tough environments, that is going to pay off for him a lot this year. But you can't necessarily simulate that all the time in practice. We'll get a little bit of a taste of it on Saturday when we get a little bit of a crowd here and we'll see if those guys can perform under a little bit of pressure. But I like what Steven has done. He seems really comfortable and confident.”
Montez mentioned that he has been working on his mechanics some this off-season. Is it sometimes tough for a quarterback that has such excellent physical tools to correct mechanical flaws?
“Yeah, we're not trying to change him dramatically. We just gave him a couple drills and a couple things that he can think about to be a little bit more consistent and make him a little bit more accurate. By the time they get to this point in their career, it is hard to change a guy's motion or a guy's delivery. With Steven, it is just a couple things that can get him a little more balanced with the way he is delivering it, and that is ultimately going to make him a little bit more accurate. That is all we're shooting for.”
With Sam Noyer, he mentioned you didn't have him run the Scout Team Offense last fall so that he could be in the same meeting room as Sefo and Montez. Has that experience helped him this spring?
“Yeah, it just helps him understand what is necessary as far as preparation goes. It also allowed him to stay familiar with terminology throughout the course of last fall. I think that made things easier for him coming out here right now. He is having to go out and do it now. He is still getting used to the speed of the game and having to make those decisions faster than he did back in high school. But I think that experience last fall has helped him a little bit going forward.”
Is Noyer a little bit of a different quarterback than Sefo and Montez in that he is a more natural pocket passer?
“I would say Sam is in the same mold as Sefo and Steven. In fact, Sam might be the fastest quarterback that we have. First and foremost he is a thrower, but if he needs to get out and we want to run him a little bit, he can do that. I really like where Sam is at physically. He is really sound with his mechanics, he throws the ball really accurate, really efficient with his release. Shoot, he runs well. He is quick and can take off. I like what he can do as an athlete when things break down.
“Tyler [Lytle] is probably more of a pocket passer. I am really excited about Tyler's arm, his arm strength and accuracy. He has done a really good job throwing the ball. He needs to continue to get stronger, as any young guy does. I think a summer with our strength staff and another year of just working with those guys is going to help him flexibility wise. I see him very similar to where Sefo was at as a freshman athletically, which was a good athlete but as he gets stronger and more flexible, he is going to be able to do more things with his feet. I am excited. By the time it is all said and done, I think he is going to be a guy that is going to be a threat with his feet as well.”
Obviously the experience isn't there overall, but from top to bottom, is this the most talented group of quarterbacks you've had here?
“You sit back and watch them throw routes when all three of them are throwing at the same time, I am really excited about the arms that we have. All three of those guys can really spin it. They have a lot of velocity on their throws, all three of them have big arms. Yeah, I'd say that, but it is just young talent. We are probably as inexperienced as we've been since I've been here in that room, which has been fun for me to kind of start from square one again. I'm having to teach really from the beginning to get those guys comfortable with it, but it has been a fun experience so far.”