NoleDigest: For you personally, what are you working on to improve yourself as a quarterback?
Christian Ponder: The biggest thing for me right now is learning to make quicker reads. Last season and into the spring, I would drop back, and then make my read. Right now, Coach Fisher has been helping me to make my reads as I drop back, so when I finish dropping back, I know where to go with the ball. I think improving that will really help me become a better quarterback.
ND: What is the team trying to accomplish this offseason?
CP: We want to get everyone in top condition. That means we are running a lot and in the weight room a lot. We need to get bigger, faster and stronger as a team so at the end of games this season, we do a better job of finishing teams off than we did last season. Also, we want to progress mentally. We have been watching a lot of film and everyone is beginning to understand their roles.
ND: What are your goals as an offense heading into the season?
CP: We really want to open up the passing game. Last year the passing game wasn't as reliable as we would have liked it to be, but we feel that with the work we have been putting in, we can really make that happen. Obviously our rushing game will be our strength but we feel that they can really help us open the passing game up a lot too so we can improve the deep threat as well. That is a must for us to be successful.
For me personally, I want to just improve on making better reads and quicker decisions. I feel like I did a lot of thinking last season but it needs to come more naturally now. As long as I can do that, I feel I can help improve this offense as a whole.
ND: As far as being a leader of the offense, what are you doing to improve in that role and what have you taken from Drew [Weatherford] in that aspect?
CP: One thing about Drew is that he was never afraid to say anything to anyone. He was very vocal and really took command of the locker room. Me, I'm more of a quiet person, but I have been learning to be more vocal. I'm not afraid to tell people what they need to do anymore and if need be, I'm not afraid to put anyone in their place. That's the main thing that I've taken from him as far as becoming a leader of this team.
ND: Can you talk a little about E.J. Manuel and what you've seen from him since he has been healthy again?
CP: The first thing is that I think we are both benefiting from him being healthy because there is a sense of competition again. Competition helps push us both to be better players. As far as him, he is making progress. He is throwing the ball really well and starting to get an understanding of the playbook. When he first came in, you could tell he was a little lost, but now he is getting a lot more comfortable with everything and starting to settle in nicely.
ND:Lastly, can you give us an update on where you are academically right now?
CP: Right now, I'm on schedule to graduate with me MBA at the end of the spring semester. From there, I'm really not sure at all what I'm going to do. I'll have to wait until that time comes and figure it out from there.
Catching up with Christian Ponder: Part II
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