ESPN Q&A with Jeff Brohm Part 1 of 2...
ESPN Q&A with Jeff Brohm Part 1 of 2...
Posted by ESPN.com's Graham Watson
First-year FAU quarterbacks coach Jeff Brohm is happy to get back to the simplicity of coaching quarterbacks and not worrying about anything else.
Brohm joined the FAU staff the offseason to learn from former coach and current mentor Howard Schnellenberger. It might have been perceived as a step back from his lofty position as offensive coordinator at Louisville, but Brohm said the change was welcome and he's eager help Owls' quarterback Rusty Smith navigate both the season and a potential NFL career.
This is the first part of a two-part Q&A with coach Brohm where he talks about everything from Smith to learning from Schnellenberger to helping FAU move forward.
When you first took the job, how much did you know about FAU's quarterbacks and Rusty Smith?
Jeff Brohm: I had been following [FAU] a little bit just because of coach [Schnellenberger] and Rusty has started for numerous years. So, just through the course of playing teams, I got to watch them a few times on tape and thought that he did a pretty good job when I watched him on tape. So, I got to know him a little bit that way, but it wasn't until I got here that I really got to know him as a person and as a player and get to study his game.
When you first got to FAU, did you immediately start looking at film and to see what Rusty was doing right and what he was doing wrong? Did you look at both last year and the 2007 season?
JB: The first thing we started off doing is that I just kind of wanted to watch him throw. I had heard a few things about his mechanics and delivery and those things, so I just wanted to watch and observe him that way. There were a few little things we worked on in the spring, making sure he stayed with a quick release, making sure he stayed over the top and mechanically, those were the main things we worked at along with a few others. And then we went back and watched this past year and even his sophomore year as well and compared the two. And that definitely did help not only me as a coach, but [the relationship between] me and him. He got to sit back and look at the things he did well and didn't do well and maybe what he could have done better this past year. I think he learned a lot from that.
Were there immediate differences that you saw in his game from his sophomore year to his junior year that you pointed out to him?
JB: Yeah, I think he's a very good player and he has a lot of confidence in his skills and his arm. I think his junior year he got to where he felt so confident and comfortable with that that he tended to force things down the field a little too much. He tended to try to make the big play a little too much. Tended to, in the game when they weren't in the lead and needed to come back, he'd force things as well that way. I think if you look at his sophomore year, he played the game the way it should be played as far as he took what they gave him, he wasn't afraid to just get the ball out of his hand quickly and get the completion. He wasn't always looking to make the big play. He was allowing the offense to work for him and the big plays would happen. So, I think we're trying to get back to that. While you want to be confident and cocky in your ability, you want to be smart and do things the right way, move the chains and not get greedy.
How does a player lose that effortless feeling? Is it the pressure of having a good season and getting the accolades?
JB: Yeah, I think it's a lot of those factors that end up adding up. He had an excellent sophomore year, he kind of was the cover boy for the team as far as he was going on the front of the program, the front of all the publications that went out, and he was the name that went with the program. I think with that he may have taken too much upon himself and tried to do too much. He has to realize that he has to do what's best for the team and he has to just execute the offense to the best of his ability. Allow it to work for him. I think if he gets back to doing that, he has a chance to be outstanding.
How hard is it to, I don't know if this is the right word, re-humble a quarterback when he's had so much success? Or does that just kind of happen when you don't have the type of season that you want to have?
JB: That's a good question. I think all really, really good quarterbacks believe in themselves and have a slight arrogance and cockiness to them. At least in their mind, if not outward a little bit. So, I think you have to be able to control that and realize, 'Yes, I am good, but let's not try to make Superman plays, let try to just what I'm good at.' Get completions, don't turn the ball over and I think if he just concentrates on these small things of playing quarterback, that will add into a complete and total game for him.
How quickly did he take to you from knowing your background and what you've done for other quarterbacks?
JB: Well, I think it's been a great relationship so far. He bought in right away that 'I'm just here to help you be the best quarterback you can be, and I'm here to help the program win as many games as I can.' I think he understands that I played the position, I played it for coach [Schnellenberger] in the same offense, I played on numerous NFL teams for a lot of great coaches at the highest level. He can kind of see things from that standpoint and aspect that a chalkboard or playbook won't help you with. So, I've earned his trust and basically let him know that, 'Hey, I'm here for you, push you to be your best and try to help you be your best. I want you to use me as a resource, but I'm going to tell you how I see things if I were a quarterback, and you can kind of take that and learn from it. Or, if sometimes we disagree, we can talk about it and we can figure out the best thing.' So, I think it's a very good, open relationship where he knows that I'm here just to help him.
Come back tomorrow for Part II of my conversation with FAU quarterbacks coach Jeff Brohm.