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FAU quarterback Rusty Smith's delivery will not look the same as it did against Nebraksa in the season-opener.

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Revamped release

Quarterback coach George Whitfield says Rusty Smith's revamped release will have NFL scouts back on the Smith bandwagon.

Originally published on 3/3/2010

by Chuck King

> Video: Watch Smith workout with new release
> Pro Day: Thursday's schedule of events 
> Player list: Latest expected participants

Like most of the football universe, FAU quarterback Rusty Smith spent a little time last week trying to decipher whether Tim Tebow’s reconstructed throwing motion will allow the Florida quarterback to become an NFL quarterback.

Smith, though, was a far more interested in his own right arm.

Like Tebow, Smith spent the last few weeks enhancing his delivery. He will debut that new throwing motion on Thursday when Smith and about dozen FAU seniors work out for NFL scouts during FAU’s Pro Day.

Just don’t look for any mammoth changes.

“I wouldn’t say that I’m changing my motion, I’m just tweaking it,” Smith said, whose elongated delivery had scouts wondering whether his release was quick enough to play at the next level. “I don’t have to go through the radical changes that (Tebow) went through.”

Smith has spent the last couple months working with noted quarterback coach George Whitfield in California, who calls Smith’s progress “remarkable.”

The 2007 Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year, Smith threw for more than 10,000 yards in his FAU career and is looking to become the first FAU player ever drafted by an NFL team. Smith’s success on the college level made him reluctant to do much more than tinker with his release.

Whitfield, who’s most notable pupil is Ben Roethlisberger, saw in Smith a quarterback whose delivery wasn’t maximizing his physical tools, which was robbing the 6-foot-5 right hander of speed and velocity.

While Smith’s elongated throwing motion seemed the obvious change to make, that’s not where Whitfield started. Instead of the arm, Whitfield focused on Smith’s feet and lower body first. Then he moved to speeding up Smith’s hands.

Only after Smith had improved other parts of his mechanics would Whitfield begin making changes to Smith’s arm action.

“If your motion can keep up with everything the new 2.0 version of you can do,” Whitfield told Smith, “you can keep it.”

NFL scouts got their first look at the new beta version of Smith – call it Rusty 1.5 – at Feb. 6’s Texas vs. The Nation college all star game.

Aside from proving he was fully recovered from a shoulder injury that cut short his senior year, Smith’s performance in the game was by no means historic, completing 5-of-12 passes for 63 yards. In the practices leading up to the game, however, Smith’s new throwing motion which all but eliminated the elongated cocking of the ball made multiple scouts take notice.

Now, four weeks later, Smith said the passing skills he will show on Thursday will be far more polished than the ones on display in El Paso.

“I’ve gotten used to it more and I’ve gotten better control of it,” Smith said. “I feel with the throwing motion I have now and will have forever more is just as deadly and precise as I’ve always had.”

When Smith throws passes on Thursday, Whitfield expects scouts will notice a release that is a full second faster than the one Smith showed during the season.

“Now he’s deadly accurate, quicker, more direct and has more touch,” Whitfield said.

How much does Whitfield believe in Smith’s new motion? When Tebow started talking to potential quarterback coaches to help him revamp his delivery, Whitfield decided to put together a video of what he’d like Tebow to look like.

Smith was one of the stars of that video.

Whitfield didn’t land Tebow as a client, but after watching snippets from this week’s NFL scouting combine he thinks Smith has the better future.

“(Dan Lefevour), (Colt) McCoy, Tebow - I’d take Rusty Smith over all three of them,” Whitfield said. “Some coaching staff will be sitting around the table drinking beers thinking, we just had the heist of the draft getting this kid.”

Thursday's Pro Day Schedule

7 a.m. Scouts Film Review
8 a.m. Players arrive
8:45 a.m. Physical measurements
9:15 a.m. Oxley Center Weight Room: Vertical jump, Standing broad jump, Bench press
10:10 a.m. Track: Timing Drills (40-yard dash, 3-cone drill, 20-yard pro shuttle, 60-yard Long shuttle
11 a.m. Track: Individual position drills

Note: Only drills at track are open to the public

Seniors expected to participate

WR Chris Bonner
WR Cortez Gent
TE Jamari Grant
TE Jason Harmon
OL David Matlock
DB Erick McIntosh
OL Kevin Miller
P Keegan Peterson
FB William Rose
QB Rusty Smith
Ol Carl Spitale
OL Lavoris Williams

 

 

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