Sunday, February 27, 2011
Tolzien gets plenty of exposure at combine
By Michael C. Wright
Former Fremd and Wisconsin quarterback Scott Tolzien will have plenty of time to throw at the NFL combine.
INDIANAPOLIS -- Former Wisconsin quarterback Scott Tolzien figures to put in some overtime with his throwing arm here at the NFL combine.
With on-field workouts for quarterbacks kicking into high gear, Tolzien -- a former Fremd High star -- participated in drills with his position group on Sunday, but won’t be leaving Indianapolis afterward like most of his counterparts.
Designated as a “throwing” quarterback, Tolzien participated in his regularly-scheduled workout Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium, but will also serve as one of the combine’s three signal callers who throw passes in drills for other positional groups such as receivers, running backs and tight ends, in addition to defensive positions such as cornerback, safety and linebacker.
Tolzien, the winner of the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, and the other two “throwing” quarterbacks -- Fresno State’s Ryan Colburn and North Carolina’s T.J. Yates -- will throw in drills for linebackers on Monday and defensive backs Tuesday.
We caught up with the 6-foot-2, 212-pound Tolzien on Friday during his session with the media.
Despite throwing for 2,300 yards and 16 touchdowns last season with a 74.3 completion percentage, in addition to holding Wisconsin records for career completion percentage (68.5) and quarterback rating (154.4), Tolzien -- who was 21-5 as a starter -- appears to be a longshot in April’s NFL draft, mainly because many scouts question his arm strength.
Here’s what he had to say about his prospects on the next level.
What types of things have you been doing to prepare for this week? A: Fine-tuning my fundamentals and just my physical attributes as far as strength and speed and arm strength. Hopefully I can put all those things together.
What’s your impression of teammate Gabe Carimi? A: Gabe is a special player and there are a lot of reasons why. First of all, he’s got a physical skill set that’s pretty unique and pretty special. But also just the way he carries himself and works every day, that’s a powerful combination when you have that physical set, but also someone who’s willing to get better each and every day.
You’ve been underrated throughout your whole career. Does that help to prepare you to be successful? A: It does really prepare you because life really is one big competition. Whether you’re going to play football or interview to be a doctor, you’re always competing against the next guy. I’ve had to beat out guys in front of me that I wasn’t necessarily expected to. But I think that started with an inner confidence and inner belief in myself, and ultimately just going to work every day and prepare myself to be the best I can be, and not really focusing on beating a guy out. But if I can take care of my own business on a day-to-day basis, I think in the long run the results will come.
You protected the football well in college. Is that something that will help in the transition to the NFL? A: Yeah, it’s something that really I believe you have to do at the next level or else you’re going to have a short career if you’re not taking care of the football. Every coach in the NFL is priding himself on winning the turnover battle, and in a lot of ways that starts with the quarterback.
How long did it take you to get over the loss in the Rose Bowl? A: It takes time. It was something we’ve been working on since the end of my junior season and all the way through the winter and summer workouts and the season. It was an awesome season. It’s a shame we couldn’t finish it out on the note we wanted to, but you go through that process of should’ve, would’ve, could’ve, and that’s the worst process to have to go through. You learn from it. I think a week went by and I was ready to move on and use it as another learning experience. It still was an unbelievable experience to get to the Rose Bowl. That’s something I’ll always remember and no one can take away from me.
Do you think you belong here with the rest of the quarterbacks? A: No question. You have to have that confidence. I certainly do, and I feel like I belong. I’m excited to enjoy this process and turn it loose when we get on the field.
What are your expectations from this process? A: My expectations are to do the best I can. I know that’s kind of a vague statement, but I’m not shooting for any number. I’m just trying to do the best I can, and ultimately when it comes time to throw the ball be accurate with it. Complete the balls.