Archive for category interview

Interview Transcript – Fresno State QB Tom Brandstater

As time goes on, I’ll be rolling more and more of these out. You can always find the audio on NFLDraftbible.com or in the archives for All-Access Football and usually (although not in this case) The Thundering Blurb Football Show – both on Blogtalkradio.com.

I did this interview just prior to Fresno State’s Pro Day and actually broke the news in it that Brandstater would not be working out at his Pro Day, which then appeared on Rotoworld. Right place, right time.

So without further ado, here is the interview I ran on All Access football a couple of weeks ago with NFL Draft Prospect and former Fresno State QB Tom Brandstater.


Garda: Welcome to another edition of All Access Football Radio brought to you by NFLDraftbible.com, as well as the fabulous Fantasy Sports Channel and BlogTalkRadio.com. I am Andrew Garda, your host for the next 15 or so minutes, as we will get our interview on with another in a long line of top prospects. A guy who, coming into the Combine people were thinking ‘Intriguing prospect, maybe someone who could make some noise.’ Coming out of the Combine, everyone was saying ‘What the heck did we just see?’ Of course I am talking about Fresno State Bulldog quarterback Tom Brandstater. Tom, how are you doing tonight?

Tom Brandstater: I’m doing great. How are you guys doing?

Garda: Doing absolutely fantastic. Big night for you, getting ready for your Pro Day. So I want to thank you for coming on tonight because I know you probably have some butterflies going on to tomorrow. Absolutely going to be a huge day. Between the Combine and now, have you been hearing a lot from teams? Are there any workouts yet, any dialogue or do you think that’s going to come later on?

Tom Brandstater: Yeah, at this point it’s starting to become, teams are calling and getting ahold of my agent and trying to figure out different meets and stuff like that. So it’s going to be – I’ll be a busy guy for the next month or so before {the Draft} just trying to hit every appointment and trying to talk to all the people who are interested so, I’ll be busy. And it’s kind of fun, part of the process to get out to different places and see different people and ultimately going for the goal of being on an NFL team.

Garda: So moving backwards a little bit before we move too far forwards, you played both quarterback and defensive back in high school and you were a good enough defensive back to where named to the first team All-District by the Modesto Bee, at the position. In college however, it was all about the quarterback slot. Which is not to say that you were so good as a D-back that nobody was talking about your quarterback ability because you were directing what was primarily a rushing offense, but you still threw for 1,000 yards as a senior high school QB. So, clearly you had the talent to do both. What was the thing that made you say ‘hey, I’m focusing on quarterback from here on out’ when you were clearly successful at either position at all. What really did you see that said ‘that’s why I want to do quarterback?’ And what advantage do you have, having played that position, a position that usually gives quarterbacks some headaches.

Tom Brandstater: Right. I was more of a safety in high school. I don’t think I’m physically gifted enough at to play defense in college. So it wasn’t a question at all as I got to college. I did well in high school because I was able to know what was happening before it was going to start. So it wasn’t because I had sheer athletic ability, the ability to cover and stuff. So I was kinda in the right place at the right time playing defense. And then I was a natural quarterback with the ideal – with the prototypical body at least to play quarterback.

Garda: You like, flipped the script there, because most of the time quarterbacks were like ‘yeah I played a little D-back and now I know what’s in the safety or corner’s head because I was there for a little bit.’ And it sounds as if you were all like, in high school, ‘yeah I played a little D-back, and I knew what the quarterback was doing and that’s what made me effective.’ So that’s a pretty good use of the tools. You reversed it on them.

Tom Brandstater: Exactly! That was how I utilized my somewhat athletic body. I kinda knew what was going to happen. In high school it’s such a – it’s not so precise. If you have any idea what’s going on, you can usually be pretty good and I was lucky just to – the quarterbacks would just kind of throw it up and would find a way to come down with the ball. I think I had like eight interceptions my last year. So that’s why I did so well, had so many interceptions on defense.

Garda: So let’s get back to the Combine, We touched on it a couple of minutes ago. You had, I’ll just put it simply, a very good day. You showed more accuracy and straight-line speed than people really expected, you had a great 20 yard shuttle. You were the fifth best among QBs in that. You showed off your agility. Accurate passes, good velocity. After a day like that, how do you go back to the grindstone and in many respects act as if nothing really happened? Because you can’t afford to lose that momentum. I mean, because you came out red hot after the Combine.

Tom Brandstater: Yeah I did. I had a good day and you know I think – I wasn’t totally surprised. Other people were more surprised than I was. I think that’s how I usually threw the ball and I felt good about that. So, it was a solid day for me. I was real happy with the way I did everything and I think – it doesn’t prove anything. It’s definitely going to help me to get looked at. I have to do it on a more consistent basis every time and so it was just one more piece of the puzzle that had to be put together in order for me to turn some heads.

Garda: Absolutely. Tom, really when it comes down to it, as time has gone on, the NFL has taken a lot more notice of small school players. A few years ago, people were saying – could Fresno State, could be Appalachian State – ‘sure they put up good numbers but they haven’t played USC, they haven’t the SEC’. That’s certainly changed over the last few years. And now in some respects it’s almost an advantage for some guys to come through a small school program. What are the advantages you’ve felt you had going to Fresno State over one of the huge universities which frankly, some people get lost in the programs a little bit. What do you feel is the best thing about going to Fresno State, and strengthened you the most? And at the same point, what do you feel some of the challenges have been coming out of a small school?

Tom Brandstater: Well I think that the good thing about Fresno State is we’ve had good coaches, we’ve had really good people involved with the program who have taught me a lot of things I need to know for the next level. So that’s definitely been a positive just having that knowledge part of it. A negative might just the fact that people are going to doubt the strength of schedule and… but that doesn’t really mean anything. We don’t have a team of 100 all-stars, you know, we have a couple of good players and enough players to field a starting defense and a starting offense. Our depth isn’t what the other teams are but that could be the only knock on our team. That and our schedule. So I don’t see it as a huge negative and I don’t think at the end of the day people don’t care where you came from, this is all about what you can do and what you can do to help a team win.

Garda: Absolutely and just to point out, I mean, in 2007 you had four very good passing games against the likes of , at the time #23 Texas A&M, at the time # 4 Oregon, at the time # 21 Boise State, and a Kansas State that I don’t think was ranked at the time but was still pretty stiff competition and you had a career high 300 yard passing game so I guess when it comes down to it, it’s all in the perception and as long as guys are looking at your tape, it doesn’t lie.

Tom Brandstater: Yeah, I mean that’s what I’m hoping for. It’s all about a couple guys up there in key positions in the NFL have to like you and not every guy is going to like you or think that you can fit with their system but when a couple of guys like you and a couple of guys are willing to go after you, that’s all it really takes. It really takes one but once you get a couple in there, it’s going to guarantee your odds and that’s what I’m trying to do. I’m just trying to do my thing and hoping my thing is what some of the people are looking for.

Garda: You yourself mentioned that you pretty much have the prototypical size, the build the guys are looking for in the NFL for a quarterback. But at the same point, you’re still mobile. You can move the bootleg, you can move in and out of the pocket, you don’t lose anything for being that size. What do you do to keep up that agility, to work on the speed that you need to kind of keep things going long enough for a wide receiver or even a running back – one of your other options, if the primary is covered, to get open?

Tom Brandstater: First I’m gifted that a lot of it comes natural. Some guys just can’t run to save their life and luckily I’ve been blessed to be able to run. And then it comes down to working hard in the weight room and doing different things, different agility drills that allow you to be able to move around. I think that that’s a big part of my game. I’m not a Michael Vick by any means, but I think when things break down I have some ability at least to make the play happen and try to extend the play and at least get the ball out of my hands so I don’t get sacked let one of the playmakers make a play.

Garda: You know, we were just talking about how the perception of small schools at one point was sort of a negative. And it has turned to where it’s a positive or at least on the level of any other school. It seems to like now to me, virtually everyone I talk to be it scout, quarterback, analyst or Joe on the street, seems like to me the new ‘small school’ label is now the spread offense. Let’s flip the script on that – what do you think are the strengths coming out of something that uses the spread offense and what’s your reaction to people who do bring it up as a negative going into the NFL?

Tom Brandstater: Well the positive of it is, you know, the stats are pretty mind-boggling. You can put up some pretty good numbers in the spread offense. But the negative is the fact that you’re not going to run that offense in the Pros and there’s a lot guys that are going to look down upon that so that’s really, to me, that doesn’t affect me. Some guys will talk about it, even though I wasn’t in that offense, it’s going to help some guys as my peers or hurt guys. That’s not really my decision, but I think it is what it is. And I believe I wasn’t in an offense like that but if I was it’d be a lot of fun, you put a lot of points on the board and try to make the most of the situation.

Garda: Well, despite not being in a spread offense, 2,600 plus yards for two seasons in a row and 15 plus touchdowns for two seasons in a row is not too shabby really when it comes down to it. That’s some pretty good production.

Tom Brandstater: Yeah, you know, we definitely did some good things on offense. There were games where we’d like to have done more, you know like any position isn’t going to be satisfied with what they did. But, yeah we did some good things and that was good. We had a lot of good players here at Fresno State and I enjoyed my time here and it’s been awesome and the next step in my dream is getting closer and it’s exciting to live it out a little bit.

Garda: So as we’re getting close to the end here, a couple more questions for you here Tom. First of all, tomorrow is your Pro Day. What is your biggest goal going into tomorrow’s workout? What is the one thing that you think more than anything else you need to go out there and just hit a home run on?

Tom Brandstater: Well, actually, my Pro Day is tomorrow but I’m not going to be able to do anything. Two weeks before [the Combine] I tore my lat muscle in my side…..underneath my arm. So I re-aggravated it at the Combine. I haven’t been able to do anything for the last … since the Combine. I’m not even going to be able to throw tomorrow at [Pro Day]. So my situation is a little bit different, and basically it’s going to turn into a meet and greet for me to talk to the scouts and then before the actual draft. But my Pro Day is not – I won’t be doing anything at the Pro Day.

Garda: My bad. Sorry about that.

Tom Brandstater: Yeah that’s relatively new information yeah, so I mean, I got the doctor after the Combine and we found out I tore my lat while I was at the Combine. In a way it’s good, because I threw so well at the Combine, but I did it all with a torn lat, so hopefully there’s more to come and even better things for me out there.

Garda: All right, so when you are able to work out, where have you been working out and what were you focusing the most on when you’re able to throw the ball?

Tom Brandstater: Well I’ve been training in Southern California with my agent and a whole bunch of – we got about five quarterbacks. We got Curtis Painter, Pat White, Mark Sanchez and Nate Brown. We’ve been out there doing everything. I think the little things are what makes good quarterbacks great, so I’m trying to work on little things and making sure that I’m a complete quarterback. Whether it’s moving the pocket, accurate throws and just doing all the things that you have to do. I think footwork is my biggest emphasis, because I want to make sure that – anyone who knows anything about quarterbacks know that footwork is the most important thing and your arm and the ball will follow what good feet do. So that’s been my emphasis since I’ve been training.

——————————-

My take on Brandstater: This wasn’t the sort of thing that would hurt him, though it’s more about the depth (or lack thereof) in the class than the injury, missed Pro Day or anything else. Most of these quarterbacks are projects. Any team could very well go any direction and – if they are willing to be patient – could very well end up with the next Matt Cassel three or four years from now.


Brandstater is a guy who is a decent quarterback and has the basic tools to suceed, though in my opinion I’m not sure he is starter material. But since he’s a project, with the right system and coach, he has as much of a shot as most of this class of quarterbacks.

NFL Commisioner Goodell on ‘Rome is Burning’

Here is the interview I talked about on tonight’s Thundering Blurb Fantasy Football Show. It runs 14 minutes and I thought it was pretty good, touching on several hot subjects from thsi week including Pacman Jones and the Pittsburgh/San Diego debacle.