Arizona Football: Job gives Foles confidence

2011-07-28T00:05:00Z 2014-07-08T15:44:53Z Arizona Football: Job gives Foles confidencePatrick Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
July 28, 2011 12:05 am  • 

LOS ANGELES - Nick Foles hung out with the Mannings this summer.

Yeah, those Mannings.

And get this.

"Cooper's probably the funniest person I've ever met in my life," he said.

The Arizona Wildcats quarterback couldn't help but be awed by Cooper's two kid brothers, either.

NFL stars Peyton and Eli Manning were as nice as could be.

"They were really just normal, good guys," Foles said Tuesday. "You never see them in trouble. There's a reason."

Foles also spent time with their "awesome" father, Archie, while serving as a counselor at the Manning Passing Academy.

Held each year in Thibodaux, La., the academy features college stars serving as camp counselors to high schoolers, with America's first family of quarterbacking looking on.

At the camp this year were more than 30 Division I-A quarterbacks, including Stanford's Andrew Luck, LSU's Jordan Jefferson, Oklahoma State's Brandon Weeden and Miami's Jacory Harris.

"It's a really good time for you to just show what you got," Foles said.

For Foles, the chance to compete with his peers - and to watch how they work - could be a career-changer.

"The one thing I took away from it was, I felt confident," he said. "It was the first time I'd ever really gone against those guys.

"There's no doubt in my mind I can measure up against anyone."

He's not alone in the league. The senior is one of nine returning quarterbacks in the Pac-12.

"Year after year, we seem to produce the best quarterbacks and the most sophisticated offenses in the country," commissioner Larry Scott said. "And 2011 promises to be no exception."

For Foles to be atop that list, he knows he needs to get better.

The Texan - who completed 67.1 percent of his passes for 3,191 yards and 20 scores last year - said he doesn't really pattern himself after other collegians.

Rather, he mimics NFL signal-callers.

"All of us really watch a lot of pro guys," he said. "We're all so raw in college … You don't really look at another guy like, 'I want to be like that.'

"I really look at pro guys. That's who I watch."

Here are the little things he loves about four of the NFL's stars:

• Tom Brady's cool. The Patriots quarterback seems unflappable, something Foles knows is easier said than done. Especially when defensive ends are trained on you.

"I like how Tom Brady is really calm in the pocket," he said.

• Peyton Manning's feet. No one will ever confuse the Indianapolis Colts legend with Michael Vick, but Manning's footwork is impressive nonetheless. By never stopping his feet, Manning keeps all options available. He is able to point his shoulders in any direction and even step away from the pass rush - though you won't see him take off with the ball often.

"I just love how his feet are moving like pistons when he gets back there," Foles said.

• Drew Brees' presence. The New Orleans signal-caller is significantly smaller than Foles. But the 6-footer has a few inches of charisma, shown in the way he dictates the high-octane Saints offense.

"Just how he runs everything," Foles said. "And he's always calm."

• Aaron Rodgers' smile. Each Sunday, perhaps no quarterback is as visibly joyful as the defending Super Bowl champion.

Without an established running game, Rodgers flung the ball like a schoolyard quarterback, posing with his make-believe wrestling title belt every time the Green Bay Packers scored.

Foles thinks it looks fun.

"That dude's just out there slinging it," he said. "He just looks like he's having a good time."

The four above quarterbacks give Foles someone - and something - to emulate.

With fall camp starting next week, the UA quarterback is aiming high.

"I would love my drops to look like Peyton Manning's and Tom Brady's, and I'd love my ball to fly out of my hand like Michael Vick," he said.

"In a perfect world, that's how it'd be."

Two more ex-Cats heading to NFL camps

Add Adam Grant and Conan Amituanai to the growing list of former Arizona Wildcats in the NFL.

The offensive linemen agreed to terms as undrafted free agents Wednesday, just in time for the start of training camp. Grant, a beefy tackle, signed with the Denver Broncos. Amituanai, a guard, signed a deal with the Minnesota Vikings. They will report to their respective teams today and will be in uniform when the Broncos and Vikings open their camps in the next few days.

Scouts view the 6-foot-6-inch, 325-pound Grant as a backup right tackle in the NFL. He earned second-team All-Pac-10 honors as a senior and was invited to the annual NFL combine.

The 6-foot-2-inch, 332-pound Amituanai was a two-year starter at the UA.

Grant and Amituanai are the latest former Wildcats to find NFL homes in the days after the NFL's lockout was lifted. Center Colin Baxter (Chargers), running back Nicolas Grigsby (Dolphins), defensive tackle Lolomana Mikaele (Bengals) and wide receiver/kick returner Travis Cobb (Bears) all agreed to terms with their teams Tuesday. Kris O'Dowd, a Salpointe Catholic High School graduate who played collegiately at USC, signed with the Cardinals.

Ryan Finley

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Pac-12 South football standings

  Conference Overall
Team W L T PCT W L T PCT
Arizona 7 2 0 0.778 10 3 0 0.769
USC 6 3 0 0.667 8 4 0 0.667
UCLA 6 3 0 0.667 9 3 0 0.750
Arizona State 6 3 0 0.667 9 3 0 0.750
Utah 5 4 0 0.556 8 4 0 0.667
Colorado 0 9 0 0.000 2 10 0 0.167

Pac-12 North football standings

  Conference Overall
Team W L T PCT W L T PCT
Oregon 8 1 0 0.889 12 1 0 0.923
Stanford 5 4 0 0.556 7 5 0 0.583
Washington 4 5 0 0.444 8 5 0 0.615
Cal 3 6 0 0.333 5 7 0 0.417
Washington State 2 7 0 0.222 3 9 0 0.250
Oregon State 2 7 0 0.222 5 7 0 0.417
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