USF Spring '08: What we Learned: Quarterbacks

Now that USF spring practice is over, the coaches have had time to review the film and give an overall view of each position. In this exclusive USFN series see what we learned about the 2008 Bulls quarterbacks. Only on USFNation.com

Offensive Coordinator/ Quarterback Coach Greg Gregory

 

Now that spring practice is over and you've had time to review all tapes, what's your overall view of the position?

"I think at the quarterback position, were in the best shape we've been in over the four years that I've been here. We got Matt who's a proven player. I think Grant Gregory proved last year when he played that he's capable of making a lot of plays and he also has had an outstanding spring. Alton still got a ways to go but I was pleased with the way he progressed through the spring. He's not at the level that Matt and Grant are at but he has made some good progress which is very encouraging. So I think we have two very solid quarterbacks going into the fall, and I feel very good about that, and I think the team, the players know that the position is a strength for us."

 

What did you learn about Matt Grothe this spring?

"It's not as much as what I learned about Matt, but what Matt hopefully learned about himself. Matt may have gained a little bit of weight that he probably didn't need to and had a little bit of a sore back that he fought through this spring. I think he was trying to carry extra weight that he just doesn't need. We've talked, and it's not about the weight you carry, but how strong you are and how physically fit you are.  I think the big thing with Matt is he has dedicated himself into getting in the best shape of his life going into the fall."

 

Have you seen a difference in Matt his spring then last year?

"No, not really, the one thing that is difficult for Matt and for Grant, and for all our quarterbacks really is that in the spring we don't really get a chance to feature them. Now that they have proven they can take a hit and have put on the yellow jersey, it's a different ball game. When Matt's not able to run and scramble, and do called runs, read plays or quarterback draws, it's hard to really feature him. Because those are the things he does so well. In some way I think it frustrates him during the spring, because part of what makes matt an outstanding football player and what he does so well is his ability to escape, stay alive and makes plays. And that is a big part of our offense."

 

What is the biggest improvement that you've noticed in Matt?

"He's learned a lot over last year, but I think the biggest thing that Matt learned was that he needs to be in unbelievable condition. He's now going into his third year and he's taken a lot of hits, and his body is not the same as it was a couple of years ago. He knows that he wants to be as quick and as lean and as strong as you can possibly be going into the season, and I think he understands that."

 

Do you see improvements in the other aspects of his game?

"I think Matt fully understands that for us to win a Big East Championship, we can't turn the ball over like we did last year, and I do think it's something that is conscious in his mind. He has improved in the decision making of the pass game, and knows that he doesn't have to force things, and always make a play. Knowing that we don't have to score on every drive, and we can always punt the football and let our defense get the ball back, and that sometimes defense wins it for you."

 

"Scoring is important, but so is playing smart football, especially in scoring positions. Last year we had several interceptions inside the 15 yard line and you can't have that. It has to be a pass thrown that either we make a great catch or nobody makes it. I think he is becoming a smarter football player and understands that, and has also gotten better at throwing the ball away and not taking bad sacks."

 

Does being a scrambler and a play maker make it more difficult to eliminate some of the mistakes?

"You know that's a very a fine line, because even though he's taken a few bad sacks, like at Rutgers, and we do want him to be smarter with the ball. On many occasions instead of throwing the ball away, he's made plays in the past by scrambling out, so we're willing to take a sack in exchange for a big play that he makes. And I think he's gotten better at that."

 

What have you learned about Grant Gregory?

"I think the biggest thing with Grant is that he's consistently improved since he's gotten here. If you ask anybody on our staff they'll agree that there has been a big improvement over the last year. Grant has a great work ethic and because of that you'll always have a good chance for improvement, and that's what grant has done. We all know he's a good football player and can make plays. Even though he's my son, I'm talking from a coach standpoint. He has great work ethic and skills to go with it."

 

How has Grant improved the most?

"He has great arm strength, and always has, but where he's improved the most is in his accuracy. One thing you notice is that he can make a lot of throws to different places on the field. He can throw it deep, he can throw it to one side of the field, and he's a guy that can throw the ball a lot. He is also in incredible physical shape and that's one reason why you can see him continue to improve."

 

Do you feel that they're similar enough that if something happens the offense won't miss a beat?

"Matt has made plays and we know that. The thing with Grant is that he's made plays last year, but not in the heat of battle. There's not much difference in the way they both play so we feel comfortable if Matt goes down that we don't have to change things. That's why it's important to develop a number three guy so that we won't have to change things when Grant is in in case he gets hurt. I really don't want to have to limit my play calling in that situation."

 

What did you learn about Alton Voss?

"Again it's not what I learned about him as it is what he's learned about himself. With Alton the biggest thing is he's learned how to compete. When he first got here, there was some talk of what position he should be at, and he was a bit down the first few days, and I asked him if he's ever had to compete, and from I get he really hasn't had to before. Now he's learned how to compete, and has gotten the reps all spring at QB."

 

"He's shown he can run and has a strong enough arm, and I think he has the tools to be a good quarterback. It's just getting in the reps and knowing he has to compete for the job and perform. He has a great opportunity to develop into a top notch QB, it just takes time.  Being the No. 3 guy, you have to be a student of the game and take advantage of every rep. You just don't get as much work as the No. 1 and No. 2 guys that's just the way it is."  

 

What are you looking at from now until the start of the season?

"The main thing is for the quarterbacks and the receivers to get a lot of work in together. I think both the quarterbacks and the receivers have to dedicate themselves to working out together a lot. We can't be out there with them so they got to do that themselves. They all got to get very comfortable with each other, and get a feel for how they each cut, or what their real speed is. I remember watching the Colts practice, with Manning and Marvin Harrison throwing up and down the field, just those two over and over, until they were saturated."

 

"That's what our guys need to do to be great. To do more then what's expected out of them. This summer that's in Matt's and Grants hands and all the receivers, they should be out there throwing over and over and getting their timing down. If they do that when it comes game time and you have to make a blind throw or you just have a glimpse of him, they'll; know what to do, and that's what I'm looking for."

 

How do you feel about the competition at quarterback going into this summer?

"With all our guys there's a natural competition that goes with a quarterback throwing the ball to a receiver, and watching each other. With Matt and Grant at their age I think there is a lot of self motivation to become a great football player. As far as Alton the thing is to follow the lead of Matt and Grant, and work to get better. He's made some great strides and knows what his flaws are. He just needs to work all summer to be better. With B.J., being a freshmen we won't know a lot until he gets here. It's a different game coming from high school, and I have high hopes for him, but he'll have to make the same adjustment that every freshmen QB has. I really like our guys and overall I feel very good going into the summer."

 

What's the overall consensus about the quarterback unit?

"I feel very good about that position, but its not as much how I feel or our coaching staff feels, but I think our players feel good about Matt. I think they feel good about Grant, and think they see how Alton has improved as a football player. So I think they feel comfortable about our quarterback position, and feel it's a position that's good enough to win the Big East with if we continue to improve."

 

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