Part 1 … Taylor Potts
Texas Tech QB Taylor Potts, fresh from his experience at the Manning Passing Academy, where all know by now he won the "Air It Out" competition was scheduled for a press conference earlier in the day. As fate would have it, I couldn't make it due to a prior commitment. It turned out all for the best as I went by the football offices later and had a chance to visit not only with Potts but Sheffield as well ... one on one.
As the visit with Potts began, the topic of the day was his most recent accomplishment and cause for ink … winning the Manning Passing Academy "Air It Out" award. In a word, he said the whole experience was a "BLAST!" Getting to be around other top college QBs and in the company of various coaches including some NFL assistants was an invaluable experience and a chance of a lifetime.
Spending individual time with the entire family and legacy of Manning quarterbacks was also something really special. It was a great camp not only from focusing on the skills part of the game but also in listening to these guys talk about the mental part of the game while having relaxed dinner after a day on the field. He said it is a nice confidence booster to have gone out and competed and bested guys who are going to start for their schools.
Potts' character and humility really showed when talked about the actual "Air it Out" competition. While everybody was giving it his best shot to win, he said, "it was really just a matter of hitting Wheaties cereal boxes mounted as targets on golf carts" as they crisscross the field at progressively farther distances. I could make a comment about completing passes to receivers in fishing boats … but on second thought … nah.
During our visit, I couldn't help but notice the fairly significant scar on his hand from his well-publicized injury and subsequent surgery during spring practice. The scar starts from the middle joint of his pointing finger … over the top of the knuckle and then takes a bit of a dogleg turn for about an inch or more into the top of his hand. He said they quite literally filleted that part of his finger and hand to get access and make the repairs. OUCH! There's also a much smaller scar on the palm side webbing between the fingers. Potts said the hand is completely healed but he's still is doing a little rehab for flexibility.
He also cleared up what had been a misconception (at least for me) as to how this happened in the first place. It's not any great revelation, but I'd always thought this injury occurred when his hand hit a helmet and faceguard of an oncoming rusher. According to Taylor, his hand actually struck the up raised hand of a defensive player attempting to block the pass. That's the final word on that from the man himself.
When asked about the prospects for the offense this year, he beamed and said, "it's gonna be good." For those concerned about the offense changing and getting away from the pass, just sit tight … wait and watch. "It's going to be very fast paced and still with plenty of air," he said.
Next up … Part 2: Steven Sheffield