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Monday, February 4, 2013
Coach talk: QB Tyler Ferguson

By Josh Moyer

What kind of player is Penn State getting in Tyler Ferguson? And what can fans expect?

NittanyNation turned to one of the people who knows most what Ferguson is capable of on the field -- Robert Dougherty, his junior college coach at Visalia (Calif.) College of the Sequoias -- and asked what separates him as a player, how he first noticed Ferguson's ability and when he especially showcased his potential.

QB Tyler Ferguson, Visalia (Calif.) College of the Sequoias, 3 stars, Grade: 77
6-foot-4, 200 pounds

Dougherty, on what separates Ferguson from other players at his position: "I think, for his size, he's deceptively athletic. Out of high school, he got offered some basketball scholarships as well, so he can move. One of the things that first impressed me about him was that he can change his arm angle really easily and still stay accurate -- and a lot of quarterbacks can't do that.

"The reason I know that is that we were throwing a bubble screen, and someone came into the throwing lane, but he sidearmed the ball right below the defender's arms. I played quarterback in the CFL and Europe, and usually you teach not to change the arm angle at all -- but he threw that ball perfectly."

When he first knew Ferguson would be something special: "Well, the first time he changed the angle of that throw, that's when I knew the kid was special. That was the first thing. There was another game, too, where he was around 406 yards passing -- and that's a situation where, with a player like that, you take him out of the game. He was close to the record, so he wasn't happy about being taken out, though.

"The thing is with some QBs, you have a guy who runs it or won't run it and just stays there. Tyler knows when he should take off and get yards when he can. He can do both and, sometimes, he'll just find the running back and make improvisational plays quarterbacks can't make. He did that a lot in that game."

When Ferguson surprised him or really showcased his ability: "Well, against the No. 1 team in our league (American River), he made two great play-action plays off a power play and two deep posts to our big-time wideout for like 70 yards. Tyler, basically by himself, almost beat that team. With like one minute left, they went 92 yards for the [game-winning] TD. That was the top team in our league, and we were very ordinary. We had their QB sacked, and then he completed the ball on a 4th-and-17.

"[Ferguson's completions] were long strikes on the exact play-call. The safety was backing up, and we were getting behind him with the post pattern. That week in film, Tyler actually noticed that and brought it to my attention. We ran that just that week to take advantage."