Q&A: With QBs Coach Alex Wood
Alex Wood joined the Vikings in 1999 as a position coach at the most important position on the field, according to popular opinion. It was also considered a position of great depth in his first season. Not only did he coach the 1998 Miller Lite Player of the Year in Randall Cunningham, but he had two first-round draft picks (Jeff George and Daunte Culpepper) behind Cunningham, and Todd Bouman.
Last year there was much more grooming going on with Wood and Culpepper, as the latter took over as the starter on an offense that showed it could still up big points in a hurry. Culpepper made the offense even more versatile and went to the Pro Bowl in his first season as a starter. This year Bouman is the primary backup and Spergon Wynn is the third-stringer.
Wood was previously the head coach at James Madison from 1995-98. Before that, he was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Wake Forest for two years. From 1989-92 he coached the running backs at the University of Miami. He was also a position coach with Washington State, Wyoming and Southern University.
Q: How much do you think Daunte Culpepper has improved from last season?
A: He has improved a bunch. He's seeing things he never saw last year. He's making decisions a lot quicker. He makes the right plays when the defense does something that we don't anticipate. He has improved a whole bunch.
Q: Did you spend much time working with Culpepper during the offseason?
A: About the same as the year before. He would come back and forth (between the Twin Cities and Florida). He came up here for a couple of weeks and he was here during every minicamp and even stayed over for a couple. In terms of that, it might have been a couple of extra days in this past offseason but about the same as before.
Q: If there were one or two areas you wanted to work with him in the offseason, what areas were those?
A: Just identification of coverages before the ball is snapped and things like that. He was pretty good at it already. But just with inside our system some things that we would like our quarterback to do.
Q: How important is it that he also has a year of experience?
A: There is nothing like actually playing in a game and playing at the speed that this game is played at.
Q: How did Todd Bouman perform during training camp and are you comfortable going into the season with him as the No. 2 quarterback?
A: It's tough to evaluate. He did not go out and perform as he wanted to. But we were happy with the progress he has made under the circumstances. He has been playing with guys at times who are just learning the system and those kind of things, so you have to take that into consideration. Overall, we are pleased.
Q: How much do you think Bouman improved during the offseason?
A: I think he has improved every offseason he has been here, and that is what has got him into the position of being No. 2 without any second thoughts from anyone here. He improves every year and he did the same this last offseason.
Q: Are you concerned at all going into the season without a veteran to back up Culpepper?
A: We are not overly concerned. You are always concerned because you want to stay healthy. You never want anybody to have to come out of the game or not be able to play because of injuries. So, you are always concerned that way.
Q: What does Spergon Wynn bring as the new No. 3 quarterback?
A: He's another athlete that has a strong arm, can throw the ball and is a very intelligent guy. He has gone the route of playing in (NFL) Europe, which helps. He got a lot of game experience that way. He started a couple of games in Cleveland for (Tim) Couch when he was hurt, so he has got a little bit of experience under his belt that way. He's a great person that we would like to bring in and develop. I don't want to call him a project because then people get the wrong idea, and he's not a project. He's a good quarterback and has a lot of upside.
Q: Where will you work with Wynn the most?
A: Right now, just teaching him the system so we can really see him perform and play. VU
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