Shoop, Part V: QB Growth

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. --- During the course of an hour-long interview with John Shoop, certain impressions sink in from listening to him discuss UNC football.

He is a passionate person who immerses himself deeply into the things that engage him, develops strong relationships with other staff members and his players, and has a restless energy that drives him to get better personally and professionally.

Inside Carolina's Buck Sanders sat down with UNC offensive coordinator John Shoop earlier this month for a one-on-one interview. This is a five-part series running all this week from that interview session.
Part I: Acclimation
Part II: Game Planning
Part III: Play Calling
Part IV: Strategy
Part V: QB Growth
Several passages below about what UNC can do to get better help illustrate Shoop as a person and a coach – his mindset and drive to improve.

In terms of his quarterbacks getting better in the offseason, Shoop leaves no stone unturned.

"There are some things at each position that everybody at that position has to work out, but we try, every coach tries to be individualistic, in the goals and the programs that these guys are on in the offseason," he said. "Part of it is going to be mental. These guys cannot get comfortable, we've got to keep pushing the envelope. Any time that a player on our team thinks he has it, we're dead. You never have it. Keep pushing the envelope."

There are specifics Shoop employs to keep pushing that envelope. "One thing that I think is really important, for T.J. (Yates) … and T.J. did this last year … is look at every single pass, without me," he said. "I think a sign of growth really is when guys are self-correcting."

"We've got pretty good chemistry, those guys can say to me, ‘Man, nobody was open on that, that wasn't the greatest call,' and I can say to them, ‘Man, you've got to hit that,' Shoop continued. "So our chemistry is pretty good in that, these guys can be as critical of themselves, if not more critical, than a coach ever is. That is a healthy deal to have at that position, because there's a lot of pressure, you know?

"So they're each going to look at every single pass that they threw this year and really critique themselves. ‘What could I have done better? This was a good call, I was on there. This one stinks, what was I thinking there?' Then they really write out the note."

As was mentioned in a previous segment, Shoop talked about visiting other coaches in order to pick their brains about ways in which he can improve practice plans, or how to manage his own time, and about their specific offenses. But he also, along with head coach Butch Davis, uses other resources and means to help motivate and teach his quarterbacks.

"Again it is individualistic, but the other thing I think we really need to do at the quarterback position -- and T.J. maybe specifically because he missed a lot of it last year -- is just develop his upper body strength," Shoop said. "We're were just talking on the phone today, ‘That Colt McCoy, his body looks good, doesn't it?' Well, he's one of the best, that's what they look like."

Yates attended the Manning Passing Academy last offseason, and there he got to be around other college quarterbacks who could share their knowledge with him, guys like Matthew Stafford of Georgia. Davis uses his connections to bring in former and current professional quarterbacks to talk with UNC's signal-callers. "There have probably been three or four pro quarterbacks last year alone who came in and visited with the quarterbacks and I think that is helpful too that they see what they look like, how they act, how they carry themselves," Shoop said. Shane Matthews, Kerry Collins, and Marcus Tuiasosopo were among those quarterbacks that came in and spoke with UNC's quarterbacks.

Shoop emphasized the need for his quarterbacks to gain a rapport with the wide receivers who will be here during the academic year, and with the new recruits as they arrive, working on their own to gain trust and chemistry.

"(The receivers) are going to have to work their tails off this winter, this spring, and this summer with our quarterbacks, to gain that rapport," Shoop said. "Anticipation is such a big deal at the quarterback position, but so is trust, and they kind of go hand in hand. ‘Look, I'm laying this ball into this hole, are you going to be there?' And Hakeem (Nicks) is just, "I'll be there, don't worry, I'll be there.' Or Brandon (Tate) would say, ‘Just give it to me, keep it beneath my chin, I'll get it, I'll get it.' Those are things that T.J. and Mike (Paulus) and Braden (Hanson) are really going to work out this offseason with these guys.

"I think it will be a great offseason."

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