WKU and Herald alum holds book signing in Paducah

Former WKU and Herald alum Thomas George’s new book “Blitzed” delves into how and why NFL teams take chances on franchise rookie quarterbacks. George held a book signing in his hometown of Paducah on Saturday, Sept. 9.

Alec Jessie

On Saturday alumnus and former Herald staff writer Thomas George held a book celebration for his newest publication, “Blitzed: Why NFL Teams Gamble on Starting Rookie Quarterbacks” in Paducah. George credited collaboration with his main editor Jason Katzman and the folks at Skyhorse publishing.

“Blitzed” is a deep dive about how and why NFL teams make the decision on which quarterback they want to lead their franchise. The book is padded with interviews and conversations about the process of scouting, drafting and developing these young gunslingers.

Rather than monotonous work, he saw the 16-month project as a labor of love and passion, with each discovery adding to his interest.

“I did some research and had some conversations and, like in any great story, the more you peel, the more layers appear and the more you find out about the direction you want to go with it,” George said.

As for his favorite part of the book, George said his interview with former Philadelphia Eagles and Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams head coach, Dick Vermeil.

“He talks about how in identifying the rookie and franchise quarterback how important it is to have that mental toughness, the ability to get knocked down and get right back up,” George said of Vermeil. “I love the way he tells stories.”

In a bit of controversy, former Rams offense coordinator Mike Martz denied an interview in the book which had some eyebrow-raising quotes.

In the interview, Martz questioned the 2016 No. 1 overall pick Jared Goff’s landing spot and was expressed jealousy toward the Rams new head coach Sean McVay.

“What is he, a couple of months older than Jared? They hired a buddy for Jared,” Martz told George in an interview. “The NFL has nothing to do with being the friend or the buddy of the quarterback. You’ve got to coach them and work them hard with respect. But buddy? And this guy is a quarterback expert? An offensive expert? Wait a minute while I puke.”

Even with the attack from the former coach, George played it cool and found some humor from it.

“It’s par for the course for Mike,” George said. “He has strong opinions and isn’t afraid to share them. One of the main things to take away from this is Mike Martz isn’t alone in being upset that 31-year-old Sean McVay got a chance before older, more renown names did.”

George said even when defending his comments, he still agreed with the principles of what he said in the interview.

George, a current writer for SB Nation, decided to celebrate his newest work back in his hometown. George saw a brilliant turn out at the local Books-A-Million with dozens of family and friends eagerly waiting for him to sign their books. Among the guest speakers there was George’s former preacher and former NFL linebacker Al Smith, who claimed George was the perfect blend of talent and character and called him a trusted friend rather than a colleague.

George graduated from WKU in 1982 and has worked for the New York Times and Detroit Free Press before ending up at SB Nation.

Bob Adams, George’s former professor at WKU, also spoke, saying he’s mentored Thomas since his junior year of high school and remained in contact with him ever since. George happily acknowledged that even though his beginnings were small, he always knew he had a chance to be special.

“I knew it was possible,” he said. “Not only did I know it was possible, I thought if I worked really, really hard I expected it to happen.”

George embraced the chance to come home to celebrate this special occasion with the ones he loved and was most loyal to.

“Here’s another reason why it’s a big deal: Western, Paducah, and Paducah Tilghman [High School] share some history,” George said. “There’s many, many people from this area that went to Western and have gone on to do great things. There’s a reach for excellence in these two places.”

George relished his time at WKU, saying it helped him strive for excellence and taught him how to be versatile within the field.

“Young people have their future in this business today by continuing to pursue excellence and when you do that, everything works out alright.” – WKU and Herald alum, Thomas George

As for advice for young, aspiring journalists, George pinned the pursuit of excellence as key.

“Young people have their future in this business today by continuing to pursue excellence,” he said. “And when you do that, everything works out alright.”

George is in talks to potentially come to Bowling Green for a book signing and to talk to journalism classes at WKU.

Reporter Alec Jessie can be reached at 502-648-7190 and [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @Alec_Jessie.