Video: Gruden Works With Mariota, Hundley
The first three installments of Gruden’s QB Camp debuted Tuesday night on ESPN2 featuring Marcus Mariota, Brett Hundley and Bryce Petty.
There’s always a degree of awkwardness to these proceedings and that certainly applied to Jon Gruden‘s interactions with Mariota, who stayed true to his reserved, low-key personality and offered little in response to Gruden’s probing questions. At one point, Gruden asked him, “You don’t like being in the spotlight, do you?” to which Mariota responded, “No way.”
“Well,” said Gruden, “you better get used to it.”
Gruden offered thoughts on the Oregon quarterback on ESPN.com.
Mariota is a flat-liner. I tried to irritate him. I tried to get him to laugh, I tried to get him mad a little bit (normally, I’m pretty good at that). He is all business. I’ve known a lot of really good quarterbacks who were 25-words-or-less guys. Sometimes, the people that ramble all the time can lose sight of the bull’s-eye.
My dad coached running backs at Notre Dame when Joe Montana was there. Joe was quiet. Mariota is quiet, but when he got out here on the field for our workout, the other players came alive. You saw the enthusiasm, the bounce in his stride. That is where his laboratory is, out on this field. When we had him on the board, he was learning what to do — learning a new snap count, learning a different language in the huddle, learning different protection terms. He did not want to talk a lot. He wanted to be clear, concise and to the point in what he said.
Gruden noted that when Mariota went from Hawaii to Oregon, there were times when he thought about leaving.
Now, he might be a real long way from home. He is still a young kid. It is not like he is a fifth-year senior. He is still a young kid who needs to be in the right situation and developed by the right group of people, much like he was at Oregon.
If someone takes the time to do it right, this guy is going to be a ball of fire because he is really talented.
Mariota spent Tuesday with the Bucs and reportedly has a meeting with the Titans tomorrow.
Hundley is more outgoing by nature and seemed comfortable interacting with Gruden, who compared him to Donovan McNabb in terms of size, personality and style coming out of college. Gruden made it clear that he thinks Hundley is a work-in-progress.
This is an offense at UCLA in which they didn’t really emphasize the pocket on a first-, second- and third-down basis. There are some rough edges. There is no question he needs to improve that and prove he can execute that. That is part of the development of a young quarterback. Development is not a word we hear much… I do believe he can survive and flourish in the pocket. He loves football and is a junkie. During our visit, he learned quickly and applied it on the field right away, which is something that would serve him very well in the NFL. I gave him a new snap count, new protection terms, new hand signals and new teammates, and he handled it without problem. We had Ike Taylor and a lot of pro players out here, and Hundley handled it. I like that. He has a chance.
The same could be said for Petty. Like Hundley and Mariota, the Baylor QB is coming out of a system that leaves some question marks when it comes to the transition to the pros.
Baylor averaged 48.2 points per game this past season, most in the FBS. That is awesome. Defenses have to fear this offense. NFL teams do, too. They know quarterbacks coming from that offense face a large learning curve. Petty is going to wind up in a training camp somewhere getting fewer reps than he would ideally get. Whichever team gets him probably isn’t going to go as fast on offense. Petty must put in a lot of work stressing pass protections: five-man protections, scat protections, six-man slide protections, seven-man split flow protections, eight-man maximum protections, play-actions, quick-game protections. It is all about protections in the NFL and understanding how they work. What to audible to, when to throw it hot, who to throw it hot to. If he can master protections, it’s just huge. That is how some of the NFL’s top quarterbacks play forever. I really loaded up Petty with new stuff when he was here. He missed a few protection calls, but I also gave him a lot more than I give some guys.