Taking a little break from FIU baseball to hear the Legg talk. That would be new FIU offensive coordinator Bill Legg, who came over from Purdue after being the OC over there. With the Boilermakers, BL had the Big Ten's top passing offense in 2006 and the top offense and scoring offense last season.
BL is originally from West Virginia, but has been a regular visitor to Florida over the years: his brother-in-law lives in the Keys and BL's in-laws live near Fort Myers.
In the first of our two-part Q & A, the FIU OC talks about one difference in his version of the spread offense and assesses the FIU quarterbacks....
So what intrigued you about the FIU football program when the OC position opened up?
BL: I think FIU has unlimited potential. Anytime I've ever made a move I've always looked for a couple of things. No. 1 was the type of people that were there. No. 2 is the commitment to be successful and I was convinced after coming down here for my interview and I remain convinced from the President on down that this place is committed to putting out a big-time college football program. They are doing the things that are necessary. Now we got a lot of things to do from a structural standpoint, a recruiting standpoint and a performance standpoint. The building blocks are in place and are moving forward constantly so that commitment convinced me that it can be done, especially with the location FIU is in. Let's face it, there may not be any place in this country that has better football than Florida as a whole, but definitely South Florida.
What did you see in the FIU offense last year?
BL: A young football team that was trying to find itself. Whether I would have come to FIU or not, the bottom line is this team is going to be a better football team this year with or without Bill Legg. This football team is going to grow in leaps and bounds over this next period of time just like all young individual players. There's an uncertainty in that first year, overwhelming at times, but then the players get to know campus and they find their way around it so the stress level drops. They get to understand the offense and they know how to play faster so the stress level drops. I think that's what we saw in spring. This team has a better understanding of itself. It is improving on a daily basis, because they are playing faster and faster and they are getting the benefits of a good off-season program.
BL: You can't be a statue and play football. If you're a statue back there as a quarterback then you better have 10 great players around you. Right now, we're a young football team and we're growing and we're getting better on a daily basis, but we don't have 10 great players out there around that quarterback yet. So consequently, the quarterback has to be able to make plays with his mind first, his arm second and his feet third and that's the approach we're taking. Does it mean the quarterback has to be a 4.4, 4.5 (40-yard dash) guy, no it does not, but it means he better have quick feet. He better have an understanding of how to sit within the pocket and he better have an understanding that in our run game he's going to be making reads no different than in the pass game as to whether he's going to give the ball here, there or throw it out there. The quarterback has to be able to function as the coach on the field. I think our quarterbacks are getting a good grasp of having that ability to be that coach on the field.
What do you think of each quarterback?
BL: Wayne Younger (left) I got to see film on him and he's slowly, but surely coming back. Obviously, he's a very talented young man. He's very bright football smart, but he hasn't gotten to do much this spring and we've already talked. He knows what he needs to do. He needs to manufacture some repetitions by staying in the playbook all summer. By coming in on his own and watching the cut-ups from spring football and by gathering some kids up out here every chance he possibly gets and throwing, because he lost a lot of reps during the course of spring.
Paul McCall (right) has really come strong. He picked things up quickly. He's got good feet. He's got a good release. He's an accurate passer and again, intelligence, the ability to throw, the ability to move your feet and he has all those attributes. Those two guys both have experience, both have their strengths and it will be an interesting battle come fall.
The 2 young guys (Colt Anderson and Darold Hughes) were on a little bit of a roller coaster ride. They just learned the new language of college football and then somebody came in and changed that language on them. They struggled early to grasp, but they both have the raw ability to be good quarterbacks. They don't have the experience the other two have so it's going to take them more time, but they're not out of the woods by any stretch of the imagination. They probably are going to have to really hump it this summer to put themselves in position to have a legitimate shot at competing this fall. Now the last week of spring ball, things started clicking for both of them. It will be interesting. It will be wide-open during 2-a-days. Everybody will be given a fair shake. Everybody will be given an opportunity to compete for the job, but when we get through 2-a-days we're going to have to settle on who it is is our quarterback.
We'll have the last part of the Q &A with BL on here soon.
On the next GPP post before Thursday's 3-game series begins with Florida Atlantic, we'll check in with the FIU witches to see how FIU baseball can get into the Sun Belt Tournament. The girls have hinted that it won't take any kind of hocus pocus for the Golden Panthers to book a plane ticket to Lafayette.
outofthecage88 & DCpanther: Got both of you down as our 13th and 14th states on the GPP, also including our nation's capital. Thanks.
UltimateFIUFan: Yes, the infrastructure is in place at FIU to avoid any further NCAA issues.