March 5, 2007
The University of Notre Dame football team held its first of two ‘Pro Days’ for its graduating seniors hoping to enter the National Football League next season. Here is a complete recap of the event with exclusive and complete coverage of graduated senior Brady Quinn’s work out…
GRADUATED SENIOR QB Brady Quinn
Quinn: “Today was pretty good. It wasn’t my best, but it was pretty good. I think there’s definitely still room for improvement.”
Q: What’s next?
Quinn: “Go to Arizona for a couple of weeks and be back here March 22 for pro day and I’m here for individual workouts and flying to different clubs to see their facilities.”
Q: What are you hearing on where you might go?
Quinn: “I don’t know. It’s way too open right now. I think with free agency going on right now it’s really hard to get a sense of what teams’ needs are.”
Q: Owner of Browns and owner of Vikings here, does that mean anything to you?
Quinn: “It’s very exciting.”
Q: Same question, different form…
Quinn: “It’s exciting. Obviously you go to meet them at the combine and then anytime they come out to a pro day like this or a more private workout it shows what kind of vested interest they have. One, I think you have to be thankful for the fact they’re able to come out here. Two, you have to be excited about the opportunity to workout in front of them and kind of show them what you’re all about.”
Q: How’d it go today?
Quinn: “I feel pretty good. I think the pace was pretty fast. We whipped out a good amount of throws there in about 15 minutes, 20 minutes time. I wouldn’t mind slowing up a little bit, but I think I did pretty well. There’s always room for improvement.”
Q: Why here instead of the combine?
Quinn: “You’re on your own turf. You throwing to wide receivers you’re familiar with. I think it allows for a little better showing. You’re throwing routes you’re accustomed to throwing in your offense. Whenever you do these types of things, you want to put your best foot forward.”
Note: Quinn said he will do his 40 and his shuttle and vertical jumps at the March 22 pro day. He said he delayed because he had some bursitis in his right knee and wanted to give his knee more time to recover.
Quinn: “I want to be 100 percent. I’m not quite there yet, but I will be soon.”
Q: Is it frustrating to hear about his draft projections?
Quinn: “We haven’t done anything since then (the Sugar Bowl) and people are sitting there saying you’re stock’s going up, you’re stock’s going down, it’s kind of comical in that sense. You’re just working out, doing the best you can every day.”
“Unless somebody’s out there in Arizona watching me work out, I don’t understand how your stock can be going up or down. But I think today was a good day. Hopefully everyone’s stock went up today.”
Q: What’s your thinking?
Quinn: “I’m not thinking about any particular team. I just want to go No. 1. That’s really what I’m looking forward to. And I hope that will be the case in the end.”
Q: Does Weis predicting that in the next five years Quinn could be one of the top three QBs in the NFL put on you?
Quinn: “It’s the same pressure that’s always been put on here at Notre Dame. We’re used to always having the spotlight shined on you. I think as a quarterback you have to be excited about someone saying that about you. It gives you something to work toward and work for in the next few years.”
UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME HEAD COACH Charlie Weis
Q: What’d you think about what you saw out there?
Weis: “I think a lot of people thought we were going to come in and have a little dog and pony show. We threw everything people wanted to see. We put him threw every throw that any NFL organization would want to see _ from moving in the pocket, to moving from the pocket, to three-step, to five-step to seven-step. I think now they have enough information to make a critical evaluation, if they didn’t have enough on tape already.”
Q: Did you think he represented himself well?
Weis: “The way I looked at it is there were five balls on the ground, one of which I put on him. That’s out of 65 throws. I’d have to do the math on that, but that’s the way I was looking at it. I thought there were four catchable balls and one crummy throw to the right hand side.”
Q: Being a former NFL assistant, does it make it easier for a QB to be able to throw to his own receivers?
Weis: “Yes. Being an assistant coach in the NFL, you always wanted those guys to come to the combine and workout because the competition against everyone else. But realistically, he’s competing against air. He’s competing against every other player in every position, not just the quarterbacks. Because when you’re a first-round draft choice, you’re not just competing against the quarterbacks, you’re competing against the top running backs and the linebackers and everyone else. Now that was not an easy workout that he just went through, now. But in a controlled environment at least you have a good feel for your receivers and your coach is running it. So there isn’t any miscommunication as far as what you’re really trying to get done.”
Q: What about the knock on him and his deep ball?
Weis: “Did you see that? … The last post was thrown about 70 yards right on the money. … A lot of times when people talk about under thrown and over thrown it comes down to being in synch with your receivers when they’re running routes. But a lot of times even on short and intermediate routes, what looks like an inaccurate throw might not be the throw, it might be where the receiver is. People always want to say, ‘Hey, I wish he’d have thrown it there.’ Maybe that’s where the guy was supposed to be.”
“Not only does he have a strong arm, but he has an accurate arm as well.”
Q: Will his knee injury (bursitis) scare anyone?
Weis: “Did you watch the workout?”
“The NFL types go by what they see. They don’t go by what they hear. They go by what they see. He threw every throw that there was to throw. There was nothing held back there. People talk about the health of Brady Quinn. I think that anyone who watched that workout saw a half hour of strenuous _ there was no timeout in that workout. It was, ‘Let’s go get’em. I think he answered a lot of questions from a lot of people.”
Q: What does this mean for Notre Dame program?
Weis: “Right now I’m not worried about the Notre Dame program. (I’m worried about) Brady Quinn. When his eligibility’s up, I’m worrying about Brady Quinn. I worry about the rest of the program, that’s my job. Right now I just want what’s best for Brady Quinn and I want the best for every other draft eligible guy that will be going there as well.”
“I tried to run this as if I were a pro coach today. I figure that’s what everyone’s looking for today. Because if not, I’d let someone else run the whole situation. I’m trying to increase the players marketability. You know what they’re looking for. So what you have to do is put them in position _ good or bad, whether things workout or don’t workout, you have to put them in position where people can evaluate exactly what it is. I tried to treat it like I was on the pro side of it. There isn’t any question, everyone who is here could make an evaluation of what they just witnessed.”
VIKINGS COACH BRAD CHILDRESS
Childress: “I thought he was very astute. He obviously knows this system. He understands football and he likes football.”
Q: Anything to read in fact that Childress, owner Zygi Wilf, quarterbacks coach Kevin Rogers and others were there?
Childress: “Just that we’re all here. I just think with the quarterbacks it’s great to be able to see them on the field as opposed to on videotape.”
Q: Have made your mind up yet?
Childress: “Until we can go back and reconnoiter a little bit and then we’ll see if we want to come back again.”
“A lot of time left. No, we don’t have our mind made up.”
Q: What’d you think of what Brady did?
Childress: “I thought he did just about what you’d expect, about what you saw on tape. I thought he did a nice job at this workout.”
Q: Do you go to a lot of pro days?
Childress: “I’ll probably go to four or five. I’d like to tell you seven, since we’re the seventh pick in the draft.”
Q: What’s the difference between here and the combine?
Childress: “Well it’s a home game, so that’s good. Really he made more throws here than you’d think about making at the combine. I think he threw about 60 balls here today and it takes a little bit of endurance to be able to do that and he did it pretty rapid fire succession.”
CLEVELAND BROWNS HEAD COACH ROMEO CRENNEL
Crennel: “I thought (Quinn) did a nice job. He made all his throws with zip on the ball.”
Q: What did you like?
“The fact he could make all his throws, both right and left. He’s a polished quarterback. He’s smart. When you watch him on tape you can see he knows where to go with the ball. He will at times throw it away when he has to. So we think he’s a good young prospect.”
Q: The coach of the Browns is here, the owner of the Browns is here, what should Browns fans read into that?
Crennel:”They shouldn’t read anything into it. They should read into it the fact that we’re interested in Brady because he’s a fine young athlete and a fine young person. You never know how the draft goes. We’ll be at some other places as well.”
Q: People already have Adrian Peterson going to the Browns, so the minds aren’t made up yet?
Crennel: “Do you remember last year when people had Bush going somewhere and it didn’t work out that way. So who knows how this thing plays out?”
Q: How many pro days do you go to?
Crennel: “A few. Three or four a year.”
Q: What’s the difference between here and the combine?
Crennel: “Well one, he didn’t throw at the combine. Now you get a chance to see him throw. I think it’s a more comfortable setting for him because he knows this arena and he has his own receivers that he’s throwing to. So to be able to see him throw, I think that’s the benefit of being able to go to pro day. Then you get to see the guy up close and personal. You’re standing right next to him and have a chance to see him drop back and throw.”
Q: Did it hurt that he didn’t do the 40 or shuttle runs?
Crennel: “No, not really. He’s a quarterback, he doesn’t have to run a 40. He showed he has good feet on the movement drills that he did because he did some roll outs, he did some play actions. You can see his feet move. And hopefully he doesn’t have to run a 40 and if he’s running a 40 they’ll be chasing him.”
GRADUATED SENIOR OL Ryan Harris
Q: Why is it easier to work out here on campus than at the combine?
Harris: “Because coming in here you know what you’re going to do. At the combine, you want to do everything. You want to do everything your best. You can rest on the times you had at the combine and focus on what you do best and really make improvements in areas where you have time to make improvements on.”
Harris: “That got a lot of stuff out of the way for me. For me it was just coming in here doing the bench, showing I’m still working on strength and also doing the field work to show them the type of player I am and the type of athlete they’ll be getting.”
Q: 25 reps in the bench press, three better than at the combine. What next?
Harris: “You want to get ready to take it to the next level. We’re all looking forward to that. But it was great to be here.”
Notes taken from AP writer Tom Coyne (the pool reporter allowed in for the session):
Media was allowed in about 3:30 p.m. There were about 100 people there, including the Irish draft hopefuls, personnel from all 32 teams, according to Brian Hardin, director of football media relations.
Among current Irish players watching were (John) Carlson, (John) Sullivan, (Demetrius) Jones, (Jimmy) Clausen, (Terrail) Lambert and (Geoffrey) Price.
Players who took part in bench press, 40-yard dash and other drills were done by then. (Rhema) McKnight and (Darius) Walker ran.
(Derek) Landri was there, but isn’t working out until March 22.
It started with offensive guard Dan Santucci and offensive tackle Ryan Harris running drills against each other, blocking at different angles.
Then (Mike) Richardson ran some drills where he ran backward, turned and caught a pass from the other direction. Then ran a similar drill and tried to chase down a long bomb. Richardson ran down both long bombs thrown to him.
Quinn took up the most time. By count he threw 63 passes. 58 were caught. He overthrew Walker on a 25-yard pass. McKnight couldn’t catch a 35-yard pass. Shelton had a 20-yard pass bound off his hands. Next pass McKnight dove for a 20-yard pass and couldn’t hold on. Shelton had a 17-yard pass bounce off his hands.
When McKnight walked past, Hardin said, “You looked quick.”
“I hope everyone else thinks so,” McKnight said.
Notre Dame had a junior day Sunday, but juniors weren’t allowed at the workouts because of a new NCAA rule, Weis said.
Weis talked one on one with Crennel and several other NFL personnel. One person asked about who would start at quarterback at Notre Dame, asking particularly about Sharpley.
“He has a 25 percent chance of starting,” Weis said. “None of them has played a meaningful down. Unfortunately, they’re all in the same boat.”