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A Different Kind of QB Derby


Brian Schottenheimer brought four quarterbacks to the Jets facility on Sunday, June 10, for some video review followed up by a brisk 45-minute workout. But Chad Pennington, Kellen Clemens, Marques Tuiasosopo and Brett Ratliff were not seen on campus.

Kevin Eriksen, who just completed his sophomore year at Baldwin High School, was the winner of a recent quarterback clinic auction. Eriksen, a backup quarterback on Baldwin's junior varsity squad, also brought along three teammates: Matt Fox and Evan Johnson, who both play tight end and linebacker, and wide receiver/corner Ray Persaud.

"He didn't want to be the first guy to bid because then the other guy is going to automatically bid higher than you," James Eriksen, Kevin's father, said of the process. "He wanted to make sure we got it, so we waited. It actually developed into a bidding war and he ended up getting it."

This was a present of sorts for young Kevin. He recently turned 15 and had the opportunity to celebrate with his good friends and Coach Schotty.

"He was extremely excited because he was talking about it since the day he saw it on the Web site," said Mr. Eriksen. "It was a birthday present. What better gift than to walk out on the field and meet Coach Schottenheimer? It's unbelievable. It's a once-in-a-lifetime thing."

In the classroom, the Jets' offensive coordinator played tape of Joe Montana, Doug Flutie, Drew Brees and Philip Rivers. He stressed the importance of footwork and then took the young passers to the Fieldturf, where they built a stance and worked on three-, five- and seven-step drops.

"I learned a lot about drops and the footwork and drills you need to do to improve that footwork," said Kevin.

Despite having a minor case of cerebral palsy, Kevin can bring the heat. With Schottenheimer telling the boys to place the ball "facemask to belly button," Kevin unleashed more than a few rockets. He impressed the Jets coach so much that Schottenheimer at one point said, "My man can throw."

Before receiving a tour of the locker room, the training room and the weightroom, there was an interesting contest on the field. To see who would "buy the Gatorades," the coordinator and his four camp participants lined up at the 5-yard line. The goal was to hit the crossbar in the back of the end zone.

There were close attempts, but only Evan and Steve Spurrier's apprentice at Florida could strike once as everybody had two throws. Then Schottenheimer stepped up the stakes and stood at the 20 — it was all or nothing from 30 yards away. He dropped back effortlessly, cocked and delivered a spiral in the direction of the crossbar. The ball clanked and the boys roared.

"I'm competitive. I guess I got the competitive juices flowing a little bit there," Schottenheimer said. "I make that throw maybe four out of 10 times."

The memories will surely last for Kevin and his friends. Schottenheimer, who brought the same energy to the field Sunday as he has displayed in OTAs, genuinely enjoyed working with the wide-eyed amateurs.

"I like doing these kinds of things," he said. "I attended the Manning camp a few years back and I was at the Coach Mangini camp last year, so this is something I like. These are good kids, too, so it makes it better."

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