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Continued: Rookie at QB not new for Vikings coaches

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Last update: October 20, 2011 - 11:48 PM

Vikings offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave was Atlanta Falcons quarterbacks coach when Matt Ryan broke in as a rookie in 2008, leading the team to an 11-5 record and a playoff berth. Ryan now is ranked with the best quarterbacks in the NFL.

Vikings quarterback coach Craig Johnson was in that role with the Tennessee Titans when Vince Young joined in 2006 and ended up winning the NFL Rookie of the Year Award.

So the two coaches were asked to talk about their experiences with rookie starters in the past and how they compare to Christian Ponder.

"[Ryan and Ponder] played in good offenses at college, [were] well-schooled and asked to do a lot of pro concepts," Musgrave said. "They have some good time on task from college."

Both Young and Ryan were the No. 3 overall draft picks. Ponder was the No. 12 selection in April.

Musgrave said that, like most rookies, Ryan was green as grass when he started.

"They've got a lot to learn, and the only way to learn is to get out on the field and experience it," Musgrave said. "Same with Ponder. He'll see some things that he's never seen before, but if history is any indication, he'll learn from his mistakes and get better all the way."

Musgrave said he didn't know if anybody ever anticipated Ryan progressing at the rate that he did that 2008 rookie year in Atlanta, but he said Ryan, who played four years at Boston College, was a good student and did a good job of learning from his mistakes, a skill essential for any quarterback.

As for Ponder, Musgrave said: "He was a fearless runner at Florida State. He knows he needs to use better judgment at this level so that we can keep him upright."

Both Ryan and Ponder were four-year players at Atlantic Coast Conference schools, but Musgrave said as quarterbacks, they are a little different.

"Ryan is taller [6-4 to 6-2], maybe a little bit more of a pocket passer. I think Christian's movement will be one of his fortés," Musgrave said.

Musgrave believes Ponder has the traits to be a good starting QB in the NFL.

"His background, his competitiveness -- he's awfully sharp, and again, his athletic ability [is] really a strong suit," he said. "He just has to get out there and butt his head up against it, a little bit like he did on Sunday night. You have to be on the field to experience the speed and the vitality of all those defenders and bring yourself up to that speed and start executing."

Recalling Young

Young also had a reputation as a scrambling quarterback coming out of Texas, where he led the Longhorns to the 2005 national championship. Johnson said every young quarterback has his own skill set, and that applies to Young and Ponder as well.

"I think every guy is unique and every guy has their own style," Johnson said. "I think that the biggest thing with Christian is, he's done a good job on the practice field, as we've talked about. I thought that the game did not overwhelm him coming in against Chicago. As I said, it's a little different role when you come in as a starter. But he's practicing fast, he's working hard at it, and we're going to do everything we can to try to get him to be ready to play this week."

Like Ponder, Young didn't start right away; his first start came in Week 4.

"In fact," Johnson said, "the roles were somewhat similar. ... This will be our seventh game for Christian. But the bottom line is [Ponder] had a chance to watch a little bit, both guys had a chance to.

"They kind of had a chance to learn from a veteran with [Young behind] Kerry Collins and now [Ponder] with Donovan [McNabb]. Now it's his chance to take the reins, and I'm excited to watch and see what he's going to do. But I've been blessed, like Bill, that have had rookie quarterbacks that have played pretty well for us."

Johnson said there won't be a limited offense with a rookie making his first career start.

"We're going to go in and try to make sure he's comfortable," Johnson said. "Right now, we've got a lot of it up. We'll maybe pare it down a little bit at the end of the week, make sure he's comfortable with the calls that we have -- that's standard procedure -- and then make sure he can get out there and play fast. I think that's important."

Jottings

• McNabb said he was happy with the way coach Leslie Frazier handled his demotion. "I appreciate the way he handled it and the way everything has been handled," McNabb said Wednesday. "We sat down and talked and ironed some things out. After the conversation we moved on, and again I'm preparing myself for what could happen. I'm just making sure I'm ready to go."

• Pictures of 42 Gophers football players who had at least a 3.0 grade-point average last semester are in the recreation room at the Bierman Building. And more than half of the 42 are players who see a lot of action.

• Gophers coach Jerry Kill and offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover were on the road last week watching highly recruited lineman commitment Jonah Pirsig play for Blue Earth in a 15-13 loss to Fairmont.

• Among Big Ten teams, Nebraska has faced the Gophers more than any other conference school, 51 times dating to 1900. Minnesota has had nine- and 10-game winning streaks against the Cornhuskers as a nonconference rival but has lost the past 14 meetings.

• Duane Bennett needs 24 rushing yards to move into the top 20 in Gophers history. He has rushed for 1,737 yards in his career and could tie Kent Kitzmann, who rushed for 1,761 yards from 1976 to '78.

• Hassan Mead, the outstanding Gophers distance runner who had a lot of problems with injuries last year, finished fifth overall in the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational cross-country meet last week. The Gophers, who were ranked 17th entering the meet, finished seventh out of 39 teams, beating four teams ranked higher than them. They finished the meet third among the Big Ten teams.

• Three former Gophers are off to hot starts in the NHL. Phil Kessel has a league-leading 12 points (seven goals, five assists) for Toronto. Right behind him at No. 2 is Buffalo's Thomas Vanek, who scored twice Thursday night and has 10 points (six goals, four assists). Erik Johnson, in his first full year with Colorado, is tied for second in power-play points with five assists.

• Defenseman Brady Skjei, a Gophers recruit from Lakeville playing for the U.S. National Under-18 Team in Ann Arbor, Mich., is rated No. 29 in the International Scouting Services' list of NHL draft-eligible prospects for 2012. ... Apple Valley's Hudson Fasching had a goal and three assists in his first five games for the U.S. Under-17 Team.

Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on WCCO AM-830 at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. • shartman@startribune.com

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Chicago 17 FINAL
Detroit 34
Philadelphia 33 FINAL
Dallas 10
Seattle 19 FINAL
San Francisco 3
Cleveland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Washington 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Tennessee 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
NY Giants 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Cincinnati 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Oakland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
New Orleans 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Carolina 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Arizona 11/30/14 3:05 PM
Atlanta
New England 11/30/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Denver 11/30/14 7:30 PM
Kansas City
Miami 12/1/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
Edmonton 0 FINAL(OT)
Nashville 1
ULM 54 FINAL
Robert Morris 71
Santa Clara 57 FINAL
Tennessee 64
Oklahoma 59 FINAL
Butler 46
Austin Peay 79 FINAL
Brown 58
Princeton 56 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 62
Coastal Carolina 67 FINAL
Chattanooga 78
Kansas 76 FINAL
Rhode Island 60
Wisconsin 68 FINAL
Georgetown 65
FIU 53 FINAL
USC Upstate 68
Long Island 54 FINAL
Stony Brook 73
San Diego 71 FINAL
Xavier 82
Illinois 88 FINAL
Indiana State 62
Cal State Fullerton 67 FINAL
Wright State 62
Western Ky 62 FINAL
Saint Josephs 59
Michigan State 77 FINAL
Rider 45
UCLA 56 FINAL
North Carolina 78
Long Beach State 73 FINAL
Western Mich 55
Marquette 72 FINAL
Georgia Tech 70
Stephen F Austin 73 FINAL
Prairie View 61
UAB 47 FINAL
Florida 56
Rice 71 FINAL
Mercer 77
San Jose St 56 FINAL
Washington 78
Washington St 35 2nd Half 3:54
UC Santa Barbara 61
Baylor 71 FINAL
Memphis 47
LSU 23 FINAL
Texas A&M 17
(6) TCU 48 FINAL
Texas 10
Northern Ill 11/28/14 10:00 AM
Western Mich
Nebraska 11/28/14 11:00 AM
Iowa
Western Ky 11/28/14 11:00 AM
(19) Marshall
UCF 11/28/14 11:00 AM
So Florida
Houston 11/28/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Akron 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Kent State
Ball State 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Bowling Green
Buffalo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Massachusetts
Toledo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Arkansas 11/28/14 1:30 PM
(17) Missouri
Navy 11/28/14 2:00 PM
South Alabama
(13) Arizona State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(12) Arizona
Stanford 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(9) UCLA
(21) Colorado State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
Virginia 11/28/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
East Carolina 11/28/14 7:30 PM
Tulsa
North Texas 11/29/14 11:00 AM
TX-San Antonio
Old Dominion 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Fla Atlantic
(16) Georgia Tech 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(8) Georgia
Kentucky 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(24) Louisville
So Carolina 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(23) Clemson
West Virginia 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Rice 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Louisiana Tech
Michigan 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(7) Ohio State
Purdue 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Indiana
Illinois 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Northwestern
Cincinnati 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Temple
NC State 11/29/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Syracuse 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Louisiana 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Troy
Utah 11/29/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Texas State 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Idaho 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Appalachian St
Wyoming 11/29/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico
New Mexico St 11/29/14 2:00 PM
Arkansas State
UAB 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(4) Miss State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Notre Dame 11/29/14 2:30 PM
USC
(10) Michigan State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Penn State
(22) Minnesota 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(14) Wisconsin
(5) Baylor 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Texas Tech
Florida 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
Rutgers 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Maryland
San Jose St 11/29/14 2:30 PM
San Diego St
Tennessee 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Kansas 11/29/14 3:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Connecticut 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Memphis
BYU 11/29/14 3:30 PM
California
ULM 11/29/14 5:00 PM
Ga Southern
Middle Tennessee 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Hawaii 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Fresno State
Wake Forest 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Duke
Pittsburgh 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Miami-Florida
(15) Auburn 11/29/14 6:45 PM
(2) Alabama
(3) Oregon 11/29/14 7:00 PM
Oregon State
Utah State 11/29/14 9:15 PM
(25) Boise State
Washington 11/29/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Nevada 11/29/14 9:30 PM
UNLV
UCF 12/4/14 6:30 PM
East Carolina
Hamilton 11/30/14 5:00 PM
Calgary
Hartford 43 FINAL
Furman 53
Clemson 77 FINAL
Ohio State 86
Idaho State 53 FINAL
San Diego State 68
East Carolina 58 FINAL
(22) Syracuse 69
Santa Clara 0 Cancelled
Texas-El Paso 0
Florida State 68 FINAL
Washington 80
Wichita State 39 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 56
Wisconsin 44 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 67
Kansas State 0 Cancelled
LSU 0
BYU 73 FINAL
BYU-Hawaii 52
Charlotte 58 FINAL
Montana 67
Illinois 77 FINAL
(9) Kentucky 71
Central Michigan 61 FINAL
Richmond 56
Oklahoma 68 FINAL
South Florida 83
Princeton 72 FINAL
Wake Forest 55
(19) Oregon State 85 FINAL
Butler 53
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
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Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
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