Jimmy Garoppolo Talks To JoeJanuary 15th, 2014
Earlier this week at the East-West Shrine practices, Joe had a chance to talk with quarterback wunderkind Jimmy Garoppolo of Eastern Illinois. “This Joe” is more than a bit interested in Garoppolo because “this Joe” graduated from the same higher institute of learning.
While Eastern Illinois (or as natives of the Land of Lincoln call it, “Eastern,”) may not be a Division-I program, it has produced some quarterbacks of note, including a couple of guys who turned out to be decent coaches, Mike Shanahan and Sean Payton, and a quarterback Bucs fans would drool to have, Tony Romo (don’t try to sell Joe on the notion that Mike Glennon is better than Tony Romo you Mike Glennon Mob crazies). Garoppolo put up eye-popping numbers and, given Eastern’s linage, people are expecting big things from Garoppolo.
JoeBucsFan: Is there any pressure on you? Yeah, Eastern Illinois isn’t in the Big Ten, it isn’t Alabama; it isn’t Florida State; it isn’t USC. But there is a linage there of quarterbacks.
Jimmy Garoppolo: There might be, but I always thought I put more pressure on myself. I was the same way going into this past season. People were predicting us to finish first and what-not. It was a lot of pressure but I will put more pressure on myself than anybody.
Joe: Are you surprised at how far you have advanced in a year or two? You went from an unknown to on everybody’s radar?
Garoppolo: Not really surprised but more than I expected it. But I do feel like I have advanced immensely. Especially in the knowledge of the game; especially in learning the game inside and out and learning our offense. It really helps you on the field.
Joe: Yes, Dennis Hickey of the Bucs talked to you, but did Lovie Smith?
Garoppolo: No, but he’s a great coach. Lovie Smith did great things in Chicago. I am a big Bears fan and watched him bring the Bears to the Super Bowl. I saw all that happen. And I think he will bring the Bucs back to what they were in the early 2000s.
Joe: What have you learned last few days?
Garoppolo: I learned a whole new offense, really. There are a couple of new concepts that are the same as ours but for the most part they are whole new stuff. Being under center; the play-action that we are doing is a bit different; a lot of zone-reading, things like that. The whole offense in general is different. The scouts have helped me learn inside and out. I have learned a whole lot about the league. It is a fun experience, really.
Joe: So June Jones is your offensive coordinator this week. What have you learned from him?
Garoppolo: He is awesome. He really simplified the offense. When I first looked at the play book it looked like there was a lot going on. He helped calm me down. He is a real calm guy, calm demeanor. He is my kind of a coach: laid back, relaxed and knows his stuff.
Joe also had a chance to talk to Jones, who has a lot of experience in the NFL, and this is what Jones had to say about Garoppolo:
“I’m very impressed with how sharp he is and his accuracy is what really jumped out. You tell him to put it on a guy’s shoulder and he puts it on the guy’s shoulder. I think with his accuracy, he will make it in the NFL because he is that accurate. My Hawaii teams played against [Eastern Illinois] when they had a guy named Tony Romo and he was very accurate with the football. I am really impressed with Jimmy.”