ESPN Gruden QB camp a learning experience for Foles
Colin Darland / Daily Wildcat
Nick Foles 8
Kyle Quinn 76
Thousands tuned into ESPNU on Monday at 2 p.m. to watch the Nick Foles edition of Jon Gruden’s “QB Camp.”
Foles’ teammates and former coaches said they TIVo’d the show in anticipation.
Foles, on the other hand, stayed away from the television.
“I didn’t even watch it,” Foles said with a laugh on Monday, an hour and a half after it aired. “It’s too awkward watching yourself on TV, so I couldn’t watch it.”
Foles said he did receive a handful of texts and tweets from his teammates, most of which centered around Foles’ interpretation of Arizona’s Haka dance that Gruden described as “terrible.”
“I think my teammates got a good laugh from that,” Foles said.
Although Foles didn’t tune in to watch Gruden’s evaluation of him as a quarterback, he reflected on his experience learning from the NFL guru along with former Super Bowl champion quarterback Brad Johnson, who made a guest appearance.
Foles said the entire process took a total of six hours, with four and a half spent in the film room and an hour and a half at the practice field showing off his arm.
In the film room the two talked about how he idolized John Elway growing up, his shoulder surgery in high school and how fellow Westlake High School quarterback alum Drew Brees put in a good word to Dr. James Andrews to perform Foles’ procedure, his experience at Michigan State and dealing with the firing of former Arizona head coach Mike Stoops.
Gruden critiqued Foles’ inability to check down to his running backs at times, but showcased his toughness, highlighted by the left-handed pass he threw to Keola Antolin against Oregon last season.
Overall, Gruden applauded Foles’ toughness and ability to take big hits along with his knowledge of the game. He called Foles’ biggest strengths his “production,” and said that he’s a “hard-working, experienced, big, prototype quarterback that has a huge upside.”
“He is an excellent pocket passer, and he might be — from head to shoulders, next to (ASU quarterback Brock) Osweiler, the biggest quarterback in this draft,” Gruden said of Foles in a teleconference earlier this month. “Coaches, GMs covet that size. He’s accurate. He’s just been hit a lot. He’s going to have to really get in a system that he can develop in, I think, and learn the protections and try to develop within that offense as quickly as possible.”
Gruden compared Foles to Johnson, as both stand around 6-foot-5, 240 pounds and don’t rely on speed or athleticism.
Foles thanked Johnson, a former two-time Pro Bowler, for giving him an old binder full of plays and notes from throughout his career.
“The notes he had from my workouts, just knowing protections, getting into the right plays, being smart with the football,” Foles said. “Coming from him all of that was invaluable.”
While Gruden gave his analysis of Foles throughout the show, Arizona’s all-time leading passer gave his take on the former NFL coaching great.
“Just to talk to a guy like that is pretty amazing,” Foles said. “He’s cool. He’s firey. He’s very intense. He loves the game of football. This dude just loves the game.”
Foles is hoping his own love for the game will help him into the early rounds of Thursday’s 2012 NFL Draft. Foles is currently the No. 6 quarterback prospect in the draft according to ESPN, but he doesn’t read into the rankings as the workouts are over, and when he hears his name called is now out of his hands.
“Nobody knows. I really don’t worry about it,” he said. “I go where I go and it’s meant to be. It’s all up to the good Lord now.”