Whitcomb Using First-Hand Experience To Guide Monarch QB's
Sept. 17, 2008
There's an old saying that exclaims experience is the best teacher. If that statement holds true, there's no one better suited to teach the intricacies of the spread offense to a group of freshmen quarterbacks, than Old Dominion University assistant coach Ron Whitcomb. At just 23 years-old in his position as the Monarchs quarterbacks coach, Whitcomb is experienced well beyond his years--having played for head coach Bobby Wilder at Maine where the duo also employed the spread. And it's that firsthand experience that Whitcomb hopes to draw upon and pass on to the four quarterbacks the Monarchs have on the roster this fall.
"Having played for Coach Wilder and offensive coordinator Coach Brian Scott in this system is definitely a positive," says Whitcomb, who left Maine as the school's all-time leader in completions, total offense and touchdown passes. "Also, having played quarterback in this conference, it will help our quarterbacks because they will continually know the expectations of the position in this league."
Without any players on campus last year, Whitcomb and the rest of the ODU coaching staff spent the season concentrating on recruiting and administrative duties. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that establishing relationships with the new players is one of the aspects of coaching that he's enjoyed the most, up to this point. It's the aforementioned and spending long hours in the meeting and film rooms, something he learned from Wilder and Scott during their time together at Maine.
"You've got to love putting in all of this time," added Whitcomb. "If you don't, then you can't be in this business."
After spending the summer working camps at West Virginia and Tennessee where he had the opportunity to work with the top-rated high school quarterbacks in the country, Whitcomb is hoping to bring some of the things he picked up back to the ODU program. As the Monarchs install their version of the spread offense, what has become the wave of the future in college football, he quickly adds that he wasn't the most gifted quarterback coming out of high school. However, he was still able to have success in the spread. He also points to the NFL using Tom Brady and Peyton Manning as players who may not possess the best physical proficiency, but succeed because they are mentally sharp. And that is something that he's trying to get his players to understand.
"The great thing about the spread [offense] is that to be successful in this offense they don't have to have a rocket arm or be a Michael Vick type of athlete. All they have to do is get the ball to their skill guys in the most efficient manner possible; don't turn it over; and take what the defense gives them. If they do that, then they can move the ball."
Tommy Reamon, Bobby Cooper, Dan Pitts and Fred Credle all came to camp following solid high school careers where they were forced to do any and everything to lead their respective teams to victory. Whitcomb's challenge has been to instill the concept that within the Monarchs offense, sometimes doing less is actually more. Sometimes taking a sack or throwing the ball away is the best play. Ultimately, it will be the quarterback that understands the most and works the hardest that will be under center when the Monarchs play their first game on Sept. 5, 2009 versus Chowan. The comforting thought for Whitcomb has been that each of his four quarterbacks has shown the willingness to learn.
"All four of them are being asked to do something they've never had to do and it's like learning to walk again," says Whitcomb from his office in the Monarchs new $17 million Powhatan Sports Complex. "But they've done a great job of working every day to get better in all areas, and if you get that from a quarterback then that's all you can ask for."
by Jamar Ross, ODU Sports Information