Stephens: QB’s enrolled in Brohm, Petrino passing school

Brad Stephens

Damarcus Smith made an interesting comment Friday after practice.

The sophomore quarterback and his two signal-calling colleagues, Brandon Doughty and James Mauro, were sharing their thoughts on the first few weeks of spring practice, WKU’s first under Bobby Petrino.

“It’s the first time in my life,” Smith said, “I’ve had some real coaching like this.”

The Topper quarterbacks have received all sorts of coaching over the last month. The tutelage has come from two of the best in the business, Petrino and assistant head coach Jeff Brohm.

Both are former quarterbacks themselves — Petrino at NAIA Carroll College in the early 1980s and Brohm with Louisville and five NFL teams in the 1990s.

The pair parlayed that experience into successful careers primarily spent coaching quarterbacks.

Current or former NFL starters like Jake Plummer, Mark Brunell and Jason Campbell all spent at least a year being coached by Petrino.

Brohm, alongside Petrino, helped develop younger brother Brian Brohm into a record-setting quarterback at U of L. He also coached fellow Cardinal Stefan LeFors and Illinois QB Nathan Scheelhaase to career years.

So when Smith made the coaching comment he likely meant no offense to his former coaches at Seneca High School or to last year’s WKU coaching staff, who he worked with a short time last spring before being declared ineligible to play.

He was just expressing the thought that he, Doughty and Mauro are getting the kind of coaching most of his peers across college football aren’t receiving.

Anyone that’s been to one of WKU’s nine spring practices thus far knows that coaching is hands-on (in a good way, not a Mike Rice way).

Brohm is a perfectionist, getting on quarterbacks for everything from botched handoffs to wrong cadence calls.

Petrino is just as involved, “critiquing everything,” according to Mauro. The sophomore Texan added that’s not a bad thing.

“I want to be the best player I can be,” Mauro said, “so anything I need to improve on that he can help me with is good.”

The on-field quarterbacking results haven’t been perfect.

Doughty seems to have grasped the offense but is still missing some throws. Mauro has looked uncomfortable at times. Smith has a cannon arm but has had trouble making some completions underneath.

Honestly, that’s all OK.

If they’re still struggling during the fall, then it would be a concern.

But expecting total perfection from the trio this spring, its first under a brand new coaching staff and offensive system, is unrealistic.

The goal this spring is getting the three as many reps as possible so they can all familiarize themselves with the new staff’s system and be ready for the fall.

It’s more about Doughty, Mauro and Smith pursuing perfection rather than achieving it.

“We’re making strides in the right direction everyday, said Doughty, the veteran of the group. “We’re just trying to get better and learn this offense and perfect the offense, not just learn it. Things are going good.”

Brohm and Petrino’s coaching is tough but their methods have been proven over the past decade.

WKU’s quarterbacks are getting a monthlong crash course in those methods this spring.

Expect this process to result in success this fall.