Podcast: Doug Flutie on Patrick Witt Rhodes Scholar dilemma, Tim Tebow, Tom Brady and playing drums with Boston

Welcome to episode 2 of the OTB podcast Harassing the Pros With Josiah Schlatter, this week featuring the indubitable Doug Flutie. For those without speakers, we’ve included some highlights below. For the audio inclined, you can find the podcast here.

There was controversy a few weeks ago because Yale quarterback Patrick Witt gave up a chance at a Rhodes scholarship because the interview was scheduled during one of his football games. You were a Rhodes scholar finalist; what would you have done? 

My senior year was very important to me. We had a chance to play in a new years day bowl. I think I would’ve ended up playing the game. The odds are you won’t win the scholarship, and you’d love to represent your school and yourself and have that opportunity but you’re playing percentages there as to whether you win the scholarship or not, and what’s important to you. I could’ve gone to Harvard, could’ve gone to Yale but in the last minute Boston College offered me a division one offer and I realized, you know what? Football really is important to me. I’m still going to get a great education there so I took the scholarship and went division I. It’s on an individual basis on what’s important for you.

Let’s talk about that last year at Boston College, one of the most dominating years any man can have. You won the Heisman, you had the Flutie pass, almost won the Rhodes Scholarship. How’d you feel at age 21 when you were on top of the world?

I was just having fun and playing football. We on at Alabama, we tied Clemson the reigning national champion, we won in Miami, beat Penn State. All these big wins and we were too stupid and naive to realize what we were doing. We were a bunch of young guys having fun. We didn’t realize the national platform. We didn’t feel nervous because we were just having fun. That really helped us to go out and play well. Nowadays there’s so much attention and everything is over analyzed. I don’t think you can get away with that mentality anymore. It’s so intense you can’t realize or not realize the platform or the situation.

You were really famous for being a 5’10″ quarterback. If you had the chance to talk to God and say, “Can I be 6’3″, would you be 6’3″ or would you stick with 5’10″?

Hahaha. You know, I always said this: I always thought of my speed and quickness as an advantage. I only knew the game from my perspective so I don’t really know how it feels to play at 6’3″. I just wish I could’ve been 6’3″ for one day. When I signed my contract. Then turn around and continue playing the game at 5’10″ the way I like to play it.

CFL football was a lot of fun. There was no restrictions on me, I had the opportunity to design my own offense and call my own plays and it really allowed me to develop as a quarterback so I really enjoyed my days with the CFL.

I read that you played drums with the band Boston. How was that?

Oh, that was a blast. I’ve played drums for as long as I can remember and I’ve had the opportunity to sit in and play with Bon Jovi, the guys from Aerosmith, Boston, Lynrd Skynrd, you name it. It’s been a ton of fun. I think there’s a youtube video out there where I played Smokin’ with the band Boston. Those are opportunities that are pure fun. You don’t get beat up, you don’t bruise.

Who was faster, you or Darren?

I always thought Darren was a half step faster than me in the 40. We were both in the 4.5′s but I always thought he was a fraction of a step faster than me, straight out. Being a wide receiver he developed that a little bit more than me, but I had the speed and agility and the quickness while Darren was ten pounds heavier than me and a little stronger. I always thought he’d have been a heck of a quarterback because he had a head for the game.
Let’s talk a bit about Tim Tebow, because he reminds me a lot of you, not in terms of athleticism or size or anything, but in pure intensity for winning football games. Do you see that?

What I see in Tim is that he’s not your prototype quarterback for the NFL. There’s more than one way to get it done and he’s finding a way to get it done. I get a little frustrated in the fact that he’s not throwing the ball better than he is but he’s doing a good job of not turning over the football, running the clock and keeping the game close, and all of a sudden at the end of the game he figures out a way to win. And that’s the bottom line, finding a way!

The NFL gets frustrated with guys who won’t do it their way and they’re very slow to change. I root for him because he’s not the prototype but he finds the way.

Do you think you could teach the guy to throw a football because he needs A LOT of help.

Hahaha, I’ll tell you what. He’s got a strong arm. It’s just … he’s got to develop some touch on the ball, some feel.

Is it the mechanics? How did you approach throwing the football? 

Everybody has their own way of throwing the football. There’s an arm slot that’s natural for you. My natural arm slot is about three quarters. I don’t throw over the top, though I CAN throw over the top. Some guys throw sidearm, some guys push the ball like Philip Rivers, Bernie Kosar in the old days. There’s a hundred different ways to get it done. Tom Brady and I talked about it all the time. Tom always felt the more over the top he was, the more accurate he was. There’s a bunch of different ways to get it done, and arm strength isn’t everything. Joe Montana and Steve Young didn’t have the strongest arms in the world, they were just very accurate with the football.

source: Who’s the most accurate QB you’ve ever seen?

It’s Brady. No doubt about it. The mental aspects of the game is his strong suit. He has an extremely strong arm, he’s the most accurate passer I’ve ever been around, but it’s the mental part that separates him from the pack.

Can you tell me a little about the Capital One Cup you’re touring on behalf of?

It’s a truly unique award, honoring the top mens’ – and womens’ – collegiate programs in the country. And it’s not just about the high-profile sports: it takes into account all sports that have a Division I championship. That said, there is more weight given to sports like football. Last year Auburn, who won the BCS championship, scored enough points to hold the Capital One Cup lead until the final week, the College World Series, where the Florida mens’ program – while they didn’t win the baseball title – placed high enough to take their overall program to the title.

The thing I love most about the Cup: beyond the trophy, it gives a combined $400,000 in student-athlete scholarships to the winning schools. With Boston College recently ranking No. 2 in student-athlete graduation rates, off-the-field excellence is extremely important to me. The other thing that I think is great about this award is that it creates a sense of comradery on campus. At some schools we’ve seen the football teams going out and rooting on some of the so-called non-revenue generating sports, hoping they too can help garner that program some Capital One Cup points. It’s truly been fun. For fans that want to keep track of the standings by going to www.capitalonecup.com or by following @CapitalOneCup on Twitter.

Doug Flutie Hail Mary.

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