Kizer Comments On Being Named Starting QB


Photo by Joe Robbins / Getty Images 

On being named the starting QB for the third preseason game at Tampa Bay:

“This is awesome. Obviously, another step in this process that we have been talking about for the last couple months now. I obviously know there is a lot of responsibility that comes along with starting a game as far as preparation goes throughout the week and as far as the responsibilities that happen off the field and representing this team the right way. As awesome as it is, it just means I have to work harder and try to do whatever I can to continue to have some success out on the field and hold onto this position as tight as I can.”

On his expectations today knowing Head Coach Hue Jackson was going to name a starting QB for the third preseason game:

“We have a meeting every week, and we address this quarterback situation. Obviously, I have been building some confidence in the last couple weeks. I just listen to Coach, and I go in and play whenever he tells me to play.”

On what he has to do to remain the starter for Week 1 against Pittsburgh, given Jackson’s comments:

“Just continue to get better and try to execute every time I am out on that field. Obviously, I will be the first guy taking snaps this week, and it is going to take a full room to allow me to continue to have that success that I have had these last couple weeks. This preparation comes from all four of us in there working together, and obviously, one guy steps out their first, but every guy has been in these last couple weeks so for me, I think the biggest thing to do is continue to build off of what I have been doing and continue to become more comfortable and more confident, and just keep letting it rip.”

On why he is now ready for the opportunity to start:

“This is a process that is going to allow me to continue to get better week in and week out. By me saying that [I was not ready to start] in the past, it means that through (Head) Coach’s (Hue Jackson) decision not to put me up with the starters in the first game that I wasn’t ready for that week, but now every time I have been asked, I have directed you guys to Coach Jackson. This time, Coach Jackson felt that I was ready. This is an opportunity that is something I have been working very hard at and now it is about whatever I can do to go out there and continue to have the success I have had in the last couple games.”

On if there is added pressure to perform this week, given it may impact his ability to start Week 1:

“It is a part of the game. Anytime you are stepping in and anytime you have a rep, there is a little bit of added pressure in the sense that you are looking to not only gain respect from the coaches but also the players around you. Yes, every time I step out there I do feel that pressure, but as far as whether it was last week going in second or this week going in first, I am looking to gain the respect of the coaches and the players every time I am out there.”

On his emotions now compared to when he was named the starter at Notre Dame:

“Very similar. This is an awesome opportunity. Obviously, when I first became the starter at Notre Dame, it was because of an unfortunate injury of another guy, but to come out here, to work hard and to earn an opportunity to be a starter here is a dream come true. There are only 32 guys who are going to step out and be starters for the third preseason week, and I am going to be one of them. Once again, I understand that responsibility and I can’t wait to go out there and continue to prove to my teammates and to this coaching staff that I can continue to have some success out there and put us in a position to win games.”

On what he has to show to veteran OL Joe Thomas as the starting QB:

“There is a lot to show Joe Thomas. That guy has seen quite a few quarterbacks obviously. My ultimate goal is for him to not see another one. In order to do that, I have to continue to show him the type of worker that I am and how much time I am putting in off the field in my preparation and making sure that he can go out and get the wins that he absolutely deserves.”

On if he has talked to Thomas since being named starter for the third preseason game:

“I have not.”

On if he has thought about what it would be like to start Week 1 against Pittsburgh:

“It is always in the back of your mind, but it is easy to forget about that when you step up here and you start to prepare. We are worried about Tampa right now. There is so much that needs to go into this game plan on a short turnaround of a week that the last thing I am really worried about is what is two weeks ahead. Right now it is about how can I co in today and prepare myself to be the best quarterback I can be and continue to earn the respect of my teammates.”

On if beginning training camp as the third QB has helped him develop, given he has been named the starting QB at Tampa Bay:

“Absolutely, I think it is the best way to do things. This process that Coach Jackson told me the first day I was drafted has been dead on, straight on. There has been open communication. I have taken, like you said, the gradual ride up, and I think that has helped me big time in my confidence in understanding a different position from being a rookie, to rookie camp, working in with the ones and then being the third quarterback and the second quarterback to first allowed me to grow my confidence to be able to step up there now and potentially hold onto that starting job.”

On if his middle schools was a spread offense as was his high school offense:

“Middle school is middle school. You can call it spread. You can call it whatever you want. We are just out there throwing the ball all over the place, running trick plays and trying to score touchdowns.”

On when he first began playing under center:

“At Notre Dame, we had a good section of our offense that was under center. We just never had to get to it. There were a few games where we would get under [center] down in the red zone and things like that to help out the running back getting the ball deep so that you can get into the end zone. I have always had some experience with it, but this is truly the first time where I am expecting to have a good percentage being under center.”

On the transition playing more under center:

“It is awesome. It has helped me quite a bit on my mechanics. When you are under center, it requires you to lock in to your footwork. When your footwork is locked in, then your mechanics up top tend to be more locked in and it causes you to have a more accurate ball.”

On if he is comfortable enough under center where he doesn’t have to think as much about his mechanics and it comes more naturally:

“Yeah, absolutely. That is long behind me. We spent quite a bit of time on that in the first couple weeks and in my pre-draft process. Since then, it has become second nature.”

On his biggest improvements from the first preseason game to the second:

“Understanding the footwork that goes along with each play. This is the first time that I am required to take five steps out of the gun for instance. That is something that in the back of my mind, I always want to stop at three. I was able to go in, practice and work on that making sure that I am getting my depth and my drop the right way and adding the right footwork to the right plays. I was able to do that pretty well in this last game, and I look forward to just moving forward in terms of that.”

On if he is comfortable sliding to avoid a big hit:

“100 percent. I played baseball all throughout high school. I could slide all day long.”

On if his decision to not slide was purely based on wanting to show he can take a hit:

“Yeah, it was an opportunity for me to split two defenders there and show my teammates that when that time does come throughout the season that I am willing to take a hit to get a couple of extra yards. Obviously, I know now that in this position as a starter it is my duty to do whatever I can to be out there all 16 weeks if I do continue to have this role with this team. In order to do so, it is to take as many hits off myself as I can.”

On if he was a pitcher in high school:

“I pitched up until my sophomore year. I shut it down and got ready for football.”

On the rhythm and timing the offense, given he has not taken a full week of reps with the first team offense:

“Although we were splitting reps, I was getting a lot of one reps. I have been getting a lot of one reps since I stepped out here, and that is for this exact moment right now. (Head) Coach (Hue) Jackson has stuck right to the process that we have been talking about since Day 1, and that is to prepare me to head in the right direction as fast as I possibly can. Part of that was getting reps with some of those guys. I’m getting to learn how (WR) Corey (Coleman) runs his routes, getting to learn how (WR) Kenny (Britt) runs his and (WR Rashard) Higgins and (WR) Ricardo (Louis) and all of those guys across the board. That confidence level is already there so I look forward to going out there and throwing to those guys consistently.”

On having a full starting lineup on Saturday:

“It is going to be awesome. This team has playmakers all the way across the board. The offensive line that we have been able to build and the confidence that we are getting, we are running the ball quite well as well. If we can continue to stay in front of the chains to do whatever it takes to not defeat ourselves, I think this offense is going to put up points. Obviously, you have seen in the last couple of outings that our defense is going to be able to stop teams. That is all we want to do is put ourselves in a winning position in the fourth quarter and make sure that the ball ends up in our hands with us having more points than the other team.”

On if there was a moment in the process where he believed he would be ready to be the starter:

“As a competitor, you always think you are ready to be out there. Once I was able to understand the offense and once I was able to get some first team reps out here in practice and put it against our first team defense, that confidence has been building all throughout training camp. Obviously, when you go out in the preseason, you play against an opponent and you do a little bit of game planning, that confidence continues to grow, but there hasn’t been a specific moment when I was like, ‘Alright, I’m ready to be the starter’. Once again, I have just been trying to focus in on reps, and now Coach Jackson, it is his call to determine whether or not I was ready to be a starter, and that has come this week.”

Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content