Quarry Q & A: Jason Whieldon, parts 1 & 2

Jason Whieldon is up to the challenge of learning the Run & Shoot from guru June Jones. Life in Palolo Valley is just fine for the former Saddleback Community College quarterback.

Quarry Q & A

 

Jason Whieldon, Parts 1 & 2

 

 

By Paul Honda

Senior Writer

Tuesday, April 2, 2002

 

HONOLULU – Jason Whieldon loves sunshine.

 

Seafood is a must, too. "I love fish, as long as it's cooked," said the transfer from Saddleback Community College. Whieldon is one of a handful of quarterbacks fighting for shot at the starting role.

 

Tim Chang, the incumbent who sat most of last season out with an injured wrist, is hoping to return to the field May 1.

 

In the meantime, everyone else got reps in Tuesday morning's spring practice.

 

Whieldon, a 6-foot, 187-pound junior, is highly touted by quarterbacks coach Dan Morrison.

 

The facts:

 

Jason Whieldon, 6-1, 190, Jr., Saddleback Community College

Skinny: Played two seasons at Saddleback Community College in California...a two-year starter...completed 210 passes for 2,766 yards and 19 touchdowns in 10 games in 2001...finished third in total offense (291.4) among all community colleges in California in 2001...named honorable-mention All-American and academic All-American by J.C. Gridwire...earned first-team all-Mission Conference honors as a sophomore...also named Saddleback's Offensive Player of the Year in 2001.

 

Morrison talked with RSN Feb. 19 about Whieldon.

 

RSN: A junior college guy like Rolo. How would you compare them?

 

Morrison: He's a great quarterback. Rolo is probably a little bigger, a little more arm strength. Jason is very intelligent and competitive. He's a gifted natural thrower. He'll be talented enough to take the team up and down the field.

 

Saddleback ran mostly West Coast and (the coach) tried to implement some of the (UH) offense, so Jason will be somewhat familiar. I think what will help Jason is spring. Without Timmy there, he'll get a lot of reps. The learning curve is steep, but you can never tell how long it'll take for an individual to learn. It took Nick about year.

 

It takes time until you become the offense. You can look at it on the board, but you have to be on the field with bullets flying.

 

When you see these guys, you see a quarterback, not a guy who is playing quarterback. Every quarterback's different. We look at Jason as someone who's going to be a real good quarterback. How fast he picks it up is not certain, but he will pick it up.

 

RSN: You become the offense?

 

Morrison: Nick evolved into those things. He incorporated into himself. He repped it to where it really became instinctive to him. He evolved into those things through his own diligence.

 

* * *

 

Whieldon wears No. 8, as does his roommate, linebacker recruit Marco Chavez. Whieldon talked with RSN after Tuesday's practice.

 

RSN: When Nick (Rolovich) first got here, people may not have realized how much is involved with learning and executing the Run & Shoot.

 

Whieldon: The quarterback is central to the offense, so he needs to know the offense inside-out, know what everyone's supposed to be doing. It's not so much that it's complicated; it's simplified, and that's why it's such a good offense. But there's a lot of stuff you need to know and it's really demanding, as well as playing Division IA football, which is demanding physically. It's a lot. Sometimes you feel like you're overloaded, but the biggest thing is just reps and learning each day, taking each day a step at a time and try to get better.

 

RSN: Coach Morrison mentioned that at junior college, you saw some wrinkles of this offense.

 

Whieldon: Yeah. We ran a lot of four-wide shotgun. You get used to the shotgun. You get used to finding the seams and throwing the ball, and hitting people quick, you know? That's what the Run & Shoot is: you're trying to hit people in stride and let them run with the ball.

 

RSN: How often did you guys run it?

 

Whieldon: We were shotgun probably over 50 percent of the time, which isn't as much as here.

 

RSN: The rest of the time you guys ran a pro set or one back?

 

Whieldon: Double backs. Majority shotgun. We'd try to run the ball a little bit.

 

RSN: Out of the gun, did they allow you to scramble or did they tell you ‘no'?

 

Whieldon: Yeah, totally. Out of the gun we had running plays for the quarterback, which is a little different, kind of like a Northwestern type. We got some play action from Northwestern.

 

RSN: Because you have speed or because the space is there?

 

Whieldon: Just because of the misdirection, because the space is there, to keep the running game going. If the back is getting the ball every time you run, teams were adjusting to that, so they had the quarterback keep it, run some misdirection stuff.

 

RSN: I noticed you shift pretty well in the pocket. You can step up and still keep your eye on the target.

 

Whieldon: Yeah, that's a huge thing in this offense, too, is to have a pocket presence because the way the blocking schemes are, you have to be able to slide around in the pocket, which is fine. You just have to have pocket presence and be able to keep your eyes downfield, as well as move around and find open spaces.

 

RSN: They have you listed at 5-foot-11 … nope, 6 feet.

 

Whieldon: Six feet.

 

RSN: Which is close. You're probably 5-11.

 

Whieldon: Six feet. I say I'm 6-1.

 

 

RSN: Standing next to the other quarterbacks, you look short because they're 6-3, 6-6.

 

Whieldon: Those guys are big.

 

RSN: How does that factor in? There has to be a little bit of a Rocky mentality – so what if I'm only 6 foot.

 

Whieldon: Yeah, I think people try to make it more of a big deal than it really is. I just play football. I don't worry about how tall I am. I don't feel like I'm that undersized. I don't really pay attention to it.

 

RSN: That's how some people view it sometimes. Unless a guy's 6-6 and 250 pounds…

 

Whieldon:  They think that's a prototype quarterback. You can't do much about it. You can't grow, so I try to think about the things I can control.

 

RSN: If you're in school and kindergarten is the start of learning this offense, and Rolo or Tim Chang are seniors, where are you at this point?

 

Whieldon: I'm still in elementary school. I'm really learning the offense and they're doing a great job of being slow about it. The coaches are really cool. A lot of times I see them more as teachers, so they're being really good about it. I think I'm learning more each day, but as a quarterback, you want to be able to know the offense so well, that you just go out there and concentrate on making plays, not worrying about what's going to happen, and what receivers are going to do what. Sometimes I'm still worried about what the receivers are going to do and not thinking about my reads all the time, but I think by the end of spring, I'm going to have a real good grasp of this offense.

 

RSN: The routes and everything, are they the same as what you had at Saddleback?

 

Whieldon: No, they're different. Just different seams. I think anywhere you go, you're going to have different schemes and a different way people run routes and what they look for in routes. It's different, but the main thing is just being accurate, hitting them under the chin when you need to and in stride when you need to.

 

Part 2

 

RSN Paul: What is it like playing under Coach Jones?

 

Whieldon: Coach Jones is great. It's unbelievable how much knowledge of the game he has just by talking to him. I haven't got to really sit down and talk with him a lot, but the times I have, I've just picked his brain, he's so knowledgeable of the game, it's just amazing. I just feel privileged to play under him and Coach Morrison as well. Coach Morrison has helped me a lot. Every day we're talking about stuff, and it's great.

 

RSN Paul: What's your strength as a passer? As a quarterback

 

Whieldon: I think some of the most important things a quarterback has is savvy. You need savvy in the pocket because you got big people running at you full speed. You need to be able to, you know, stand tall and make your throws and make your reads. So courage, totally, and smarts. I don't care how good you are and how great an athlete you are, in this offense you need to be smarter than you are athletic.

 

RSN Paul: Smart enough not to get hit when you scramble, too.

 

Whieldon: Yeah, you know, be smart about the whole game. Be smart about the game of football.

 

RSN Paul: What about as a passer? Are you more of a touch passer or a deep passer or …

 

Whieldon: I'm definitely more of a touch passer. Try to be more accurate. I'm trying to work on my accuracy. I think the biggest thing. Arm strength, I think I'm about average on arm strength, but I have enough arm strength.

 

RSN Paul: You have access to the tapes from last year's games?

 

Whieldon: Yeah, we've been watching tapes.

 

RSN Paul: How would you compare yourself to last year's quarterbacks. I don't know if you got to see (Tim) Chang. You probably got to see Rolo.

 

Whieldon: Yeah, I've seen a lot of Rolo. It's kind of hard. When you do 7-on-7, you're learning the routes, but you're not getting a true feel for game situations, but … I don't know if I can really compare myself to them. They're up and beyond me right now. I'm just trying to build up to what they did. Rolo had some unbelievable accomplishments, and Timmy was the starter at the beginning of the year and was having a good year until he got hurt. So I don't think I'm anywhere near to where they are, but that's what I'm striving for. You know, hopefully, I'll be there because just their command of the offense and their accuracy and all that, it's tough to be compared to right now.

 

RSN Paul: More questions for Jason … major?

 

Whieldon: Business right now. I'm not in a major field yet, but hopefully I can get in the business program.

 

RSN Paul: Why?

 

Whieldon: ‘Cause I want to make some money when I graduate! I feel like I got a good opportunity to get my school paid for, you know. I want to take advantage of that, hopefully get in the job market after that. Not everybody can turn pro, so you gotta take care of business in the classroom.

 

RSN Paul: Where do you dorm?

 

Whieldon: Actually, I moved off campus. So I live in Palolo in a small little house up there with Marco.

 

RSN Paul: Chavez?

 

Whieldon: Marco Chavez, yeah.

 

RSN Paul: What's it like rooming with him?

 

Whieldon: It's great. We've only been there about a month, but it's great getting off campus. It's a little quieter, more peaceful. It's just a good situation.

 

RSN Paul: So who does the cooking?

 

Whieldon: (laughs) The cafeteria.

 

RSN Paul: Once you go home, there's no food?

 

Whieldon: Well, there's a couple of little snacks.

 

RSN Paul: Ho-Hos and Ding-Dongs don't count as real food, you know.

 

Whieldon: You always got cereal. Cereal is the college life.

 

RSN Paul: What cereal?

 

Whieldon: Uh, Fruity Pebbles and Raisin Bran.

 

RSN Paul: Raisin Bran is good.

 

Whieldon: You gotta have your Pops once in a while, too.

 

RSN Paul: Marco – does he bogart your food?

 

Whieldon: No, I try to hide my food. I keep my food in my room.

 

RSN Paul: Do you label all your cans?

 

Whieldon: No, we're good about that, we're good about that. We can share, too.

 

RSN Paul: He's a slob?

 

Whieldon: (sighs) I don't think either of us –

 

RSN Paul: You have a washing machine there?

 

Whieldon: We have a washing machine and no dryer. (laughs)

 

RSN Paul: Do you have a line to hang clothes?

 

Whieldon: We got lines in the back.

 

RSN Paul: So you have a good supply of clothespins.

 

Whieldon: Yeah, good supply.

 

RSN Paul: There's a breeze back there, so it's not bad.

 

Whieldon: There's a breeze back there, definitely.

 

RSN Paul: McDonald's is right in front of the valley.

 

Whieldon: Walking distance. Walking distance to McDonald's, so whenever you need a bite to eat, McDonald's is right there.

 

RSN Paul: You have spending money?

 

Whieldon: Yeah?

 

RSN Paul: Parents?

 

Whieldon: My parents, actually, they're real nice. They've been giving me money.

 

RSN Paul: Marcus has spending money?

 

Whieldon: Yeah, he's got more spending money than I do. He's always getting spending money.

 

RSN Paul: Wow. I thought you guys were supposed to be poor and eating ramen.

 

Whieldon: We are poor, man. We look for the deals. We look for the deals at the market and eat at the cafeteria. (laughs)

 

RSN Paul: Deals at the market? So this is like Martha Stewart on a shopping trip?

 

Whieldon: What are those things called at Star Market or Food Mart? The Moloka'i thing? You don't buy it unless it's on sale.

 

RSN Paul: The Moloka'i thing?

 

Whieldon: No, no. What is the little card? The little card? I forget what it's called.

 

RSN Paul: I don't know, man. A little card?

 

Whieldon: And you swipe it. You swipe it.

 

RSN Paul: Oh, the card? The card?

 

Whieldon: The card!

 

RSN Paul: Oh, the Maika'i card.

 

Whieldon: The Maika'i card.

 

RSN Paul: Foodland.

 

Whieldon: Yeah, Foodland.

 

RSN Paul: Anything stand out in your mind about moving here?

 

Whieldon: Oh, I love it here. I don't know if I'm ever gonna want to leave. I love it here. The people are nice and great weather. You can't beat the weather.

 

RSN Paul: Have you tried raw fish?

 

Whieldon: I don't eat raw fish.

 

RSN Paul: They sell it at Foodland.

 

Whieldon: I love fish, though. I'll eat any fish – if it's cooked. (laughs)

 

RSN Paul: (laughs)

 

Whieldon: I can't eat the raw fish. One day. Maybe one day.

 

RSN Paul: All right, man.

 

Whieldon: It was good talking to you.  


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