Brandon Olivas finds himself in the same situation as a lot of football players during these strange times of quarantine. The rising ninth-grade quarterback prospect lacks teammates to pass to and coaches to instruct him, and is in search of ways to fill his days.
He spent a half-hour Wednesday night logged onto a Google Hangout hosted by Quincy Avery, the noted NFL and college quarterback tutor. For the second straight week, Avery has put on a free tutorial for players, coaches and anyone looking to learn more about the minutiae of quarterback play.
“I’m stuck inside and forced to do stuff on my own and not with any of my teammates,” Olivas said from his home in Albuquerque. “It’s good footwork stuff that we can do on our own. With social distancing, I don’t have my teammates around.”
On Wednesday night, Avery dove deep into the details of footwork on how to handle and exploit pressure as a quarterback. He dove into both subtle movements and evasive ones, with nearly 130 quarterbacks watching from New Mexico to London. They saw clips of Deshaun Watson, Drew Brees and Patrick Mahomes executing the footwork in games. Those alternated with clips of drills to do in workouts to mimic the NFL stars, illustrated by video of Avery working with college quarterbacks in individual workouts.
Avery trains everyone from junior high kids to Watson, the Houston Texans’ franchise quarterback. While he gets a lot more attention from training guys like Watson, Washington Redskins quarterback Dwayne Haskins and Ohio State’s Justin Fields, much of Avery’s business is done on weekends on high school fields in and around the Atlanta area.
And Avery can relate to a lot of Americans right now who’ve seen their work places closed, sales numbers drop and work life ground to nearly a halt in this era of the coronavirus. “Fiscally,” he said, “I’ve taken a beating.”
Instead of bemoaning the loss of business, he decided to create a community. The learning, banter and instruction were all prevalent Wednesday, as he gave young quarterbacks a way to keep their mind sharp and illustrated a series of drills they can work on in isolation.
It started last week, when Avery shot a note out on Twitter and told all the quarterbacks and coaches to join him. About 170 joined last week and many came back for a second lesson. “I was just here [doing nothing],” he said of the helpless feeling. “What can I do for guys if they’re not doing anything football related? How can I help?”
Avery complimented NFL Game Pass for making the film available for free for everyone. His first tutorial featured a shared screen, where he identified and examined coverages and showed what offenses can do to combat them. He also dove into blitz protections, and explained how the quarterback can manipulate the offense pre-snap to make sure he’s protected.
The second tutorial revolved around everything from the footwork fundamentals of rhythm throws to the shoulder technique of stepping into a throw in an “avoid-and-replace” scenario. One young quarterback asked him to define that. “Avoid the defender and attack where they came from,” Avery said. “If the right end pressures you, then you want to attack back to that right side, he created a cavity for that defense.”
It was a window into an advanced football education that many of the kids wouldn’t have access to.
“It’s the same thing you see why all the hotshot quarterbacks are going to work with him,” said Michael Perry, the head coach at East Hall High School in Gainesville, Georgia, who was on the call. “He’s great with relationships with the guys and he genuinely cares and wants to share his knowledge.”
And he plans to keep on sharing it. Avery realizes that the economic ripples from the coronavirus have only begun reverberating through the country. When he can return to the fields to teach, he said that he’s going to provide the first month of on-field work for free.
“I don’t know what people are going through,” Avery said. “I have NFL [clients] who can take care of me. We haven’t even begun to feel [the impact]. How are people going to pay their rent?”
There were a few tech glitches, and one football mom joked that Avery still had an iPhone 4. The intent and message were delivered like a tight spiral. As Avery signed off, a snow globe of appreciative messages reading some version of “Thanks Coach Q!” popped up on the screen.
Pac-12 Network analyst Yogi Roth, a veteran of the quarterback camp circuit, was one of the people who tuned in on Wednesday from his home in the Los Angeles area.
“Quincy has never forgotten where he came from,” Roth told Yahoo Sports. “As someone who is teaching elite quarterbacks in college and the NFL, he has always created the time to teach anyone willing to learn regardless of their skill set.”
Avery will be there next Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET. Look for the details on his Twitter. The only condition to join is to be sure to hit mute. “I’ll do it until this thing dies down,” Avery said of the coronavirus. “I’ll do it until guys don’t want me to do it anymore.”
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