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FOOTBALL: Poised Quinn shows confidence in game

Bobby Griffin | Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Late in the second quarter of Saturday’s Blue-Gold game, Brady Quinn dropped back and delivered a perfect throw to his favorite receiver, Rhema McKnight.

As McKnight was tackled, Quinn began slowly jogging up the field to the new line of scrimmage, calmly looking toward the sideline, sure of himself and ready to forget about his flawless throw and move on to the next play.

For that moment, had a spectator at the stadium not been playing close attention, he might have thought it was another Brady that Charlie Weis was coaching.

Quinn went on to have a 8-for-12 day, throwing for 160 yards, and 2 scores, leading the Blue team to a 28-6 win.

Even a certain quarterback named Joe Montana was impressed with the young signal-caller’s performance.

“I’ve always been excited about his capabilities of being a great quarterback,” Montana said. “I think he’s done a tremendous job, he’s got all the tools.”

While Quinn’s competition might not have been up to par with the USCs, the Michigans, and the Tennessees that he will face later in the year, it was still a good indication of the impact that Weis has had already on his starting quarterback.

Weis is no stranger to instilling winning attitudes in quarterbacks either.

For Weis’ former on-field extension Tom Brady, it has never been about numbers. He does not lead the NFL in touchdowns or passing yards, and he rarely is mentioned as a one of the better skilled quarterbacks in the league.

Weis molded Brady into that type of quarterback, the one who does the little things week-in and week-out to win. He does not care about the personal merits and awards that some view as important.

And based on Saturday’s Blue-Gold Game, it is clear that Quinn is starting to display some of those same qualities.

Look no further than the first score of the game, when Quinn rolled out left and threw a perfect ball off balance to Anthony Fasano in the end zone. Quinn made sure that ball hit his receivers’ hands, despite the fact that he was being rushed and he had to make an uncomfortable throw.

It is that type of play that Irish fans can expect from Quinn coming into the season.

He has always had the skills, the arm and the size, but he now has the coach and – based on Saturday’s game – the confidence to take him that extra mile.

His coach believes in him, and he made that very clear following Quinn’s impressive outing on Saturday.

“Starting with Brady and his leadership, his poise, and him being to handle the instillation of this offense it gives me hope that my lack of versatility in calls will not be an issue here because as much as he can handle, it allows me to do that much more on offense,” Weis said.

Quinn’s teammates believe in him too. As a rising junior they have named him the team’s offensive captain.

He believes in himself, and the offense that he works in, noting the strides the group has made this spring.

“I like to think [I am a better quarterback than when the spring started],” Quinn said. “Obviously when spring starts there are a lot of things you are indecisive about but right now I feel a lot more comfortable with where we are at as an offense.”

Now it is just a matter of the fans believing in him. As skeptical as the Notre Dame contingency can be at times, Quinn proved Saturday that he is ready to step up to the challenge.