May 27, 2024

Jon Gruden’s QB Camp: Joshua Dobbs edition

With Tennessee quarterback Joshua Dobbs set to pursue his dreams of becoming an NFL quarterback, he must first go through the toughest program in all of sports: Jon Gruden’s Quarterback Camp.

Jon Gruden: (Narrating as scenes of Florida consume the screen. Waves crash on a beach, emulating something of a mini documentary detailing the sudden rise and fall of the Big Three and Jeb Bush talking somewhere. Dad rock is playing in the background) Spring time in Florida. Not a better place to be, cd, or e in the world for my quarterback camp. This year, I have 13 quarterbacks coming into the FFCA. 13 backwards is 31. 31. 3-1. The Warriors blew a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals. What a time to be alive.

(Cuts to highlights of Tennessee quarterback Joshua Dobbs).

Gruden: Today, I have Sir Joshua Dobbs coming in. He’s a dual-threat quarterback and a two-year starter for one of the most prestigious programs in all of college football. He’s been instrumental in bringing the Vols back into the national spotlight, he’s had to make a ton of sacrifices along the way and, in case you haven’t heard, his major in college was Aerospace Engineering. Not only can Dobbs fly a plane, he can also make that pigskin fly. Bacon flesh taking flight. Gotta love it.

(The video cuts to Gruden and Dobbs inside FCA room. Gruden is sitting on one side of the table while Dobbs is sitting on the other).

Gruden: (Reaches over the table to shake Dobbs’ hand) Joshua Dobbs. Welcome to the FCA.

Joshua Dobbs: Thanks for having me.

Gruden: Gooooooooooooooooooodddddddddddd Oooooooooooollllllllllllllllllllllllleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrroooooooooooocccccccccccckkkkkkkkkkkkkkkyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy Top! Woo! Dobbs, do me a favor, stand up and sing Rocky Top for me.

Dobbs: What?

Gruden: Actually, no, wait a minute. I got some people here for you. (Gruden gets up and opens a door. He begins signaling. The Pride of the Southland marches in and starts playing Rocky Top). Come on Dobbs, sing!

Dobbs: Oh coach, I’m not much of a–

Gruden: (Interrupting) Dobbs! Get up and sing before I make you sing like a canary!

Dobbs: (Immediately stands up and begins singing) Rocky Top, you’ll always be, home sweet home to me. Good ole Rocky Top, wooh! Rocky Top, Tennessee! (The band stops playing and leaves. Dobbs sits down)

Gruden: (With a huge grin) Ah, Knoxville, Tennessee. What a place.

(A picture of Peyton Manning goes on the screen).

Gruden: You know who that is?

Dobbs: Is that Papa John’s?

Gruden: (Laughing) No silly goose, that’s Peyton Manning!

Dobbs: Oh, he went to Tennessee?

(A picture of Heath Schuler goes on the screen).

Gruden: What about him?

Dobbs: That’s Heath Schuler.

(A picture of Condredge Holloway goes on the screen).

Gruden: What about him?

Dobbs: Condredge Holloway. He’s a legend.

(A picture of Tyler Bray goes on the screen).

Gruden: What about him?

Dobbs: That’s the G.O.A.T. right there, Tyler Bray.

Gruden: Excuse me, did you just call another human being a goat?

Dobbs: (Confused) No?

Gruden: That’s what you just said. You called Tyler Bray, the greatest of all time, a goat.

Dobbs: Coach, you just said what goat m—

Gruden: (Interrupting) Does he look like a member of the Bovidae family? Does he look closely related to sheep? Does he look like he belongs to the goat-antelope subfamily of Caprinae?

Dobbs: No, I was just say—

Gruden: (Interrupting) Then zip it Dobbs.

Dobbs: Yes, sir.

(A picture of Gruden as a graduate assistant at Tennessee pops up on the screen).

Gruden: You know I used to coach at Tennessee?

Dobbs: Yes, sir.

Gruden: As a graduate assistant. And let me tell you, there isn’t a fan base who loves football more than those folks on Rocky Top (A picture of fans wearing checkered overalls, painted in orange, pretending to eat alligators pops up on the screen) I mean, look at them, they’re vicious (Dobbs starts laughing and clapping). What was it like playing in Knoxville?

Dobbs: It was an honor. It’s a great college town and the fans are extremely passionate. I can say with relative certainty that they are the best fan base in the nation.

Gruden: But while you were playing football in this high-pressure situation with one of the most passionate fan bases in the country in the toughest conference in all of college football, you also had a lot to deal with academically. (Gruden puts on glasses and pulls out a piece of paper) Let me talk about some of the classes you took, just in case you forgot. You have classes such as Fluid Mechanics I, Astronautics and Matrix Computations. How in tarnation did you handle this workload and play quarterback?

Dobbs: You know, it was tough at times, but it’s just about prioritizing your time and finding that balance.

Gruden: Come on Dobbs, you might be able to fly a plane, but nothing is flying over my head. Come on, tell me, how much did they pay?

Dobbs: Nothing coach, I swear!

Gruden: (Raising voice) HEY! (Calms down) Sorry, went Chucky mode there. Anyway, I know you’re lying kid. Nobody can focus on quarterbacking and plane-constructing simultaneously. You’re blowing hot AIR!

Dobbs: What a pun!

(The TV cuts to views of Neyland Stadium via drone, proceeded by a slow motion video of the hallowed Vol Walk).

Gruden: (Narrating) While Tennessee does have one of the richest histories in all of college football, it hasn’t felt like 1998 since 1998 up there in Knoxville. And if there’s something I know about 1998, it’s that I was getting jiggy wit’ it.

Gruden: (The video cuts back to room with Gruden and Dobbs) So you come into Knoxville in 2013 and, at the time, the Vols were in a tough spot. Legendary head coach Phillip Fulmer was fired in 2008, Lane Kiffin showed up in 2009 and left for USC after one season and the Derek Dooley era didn’t go as planned. So you come in as a freshman and you have this guy from Cincinnati named Butch Jones as your head honcho (a picture of Butch Jones pops up on the screen). Tell me a little more about this Butch Jones character.

Dobbs: He’s a champion of life. Always teaching us about going 1-0 every week, but there are seven days in a week, so I guess for six days we don’t exist. Also, gap discipline. I’ve been to Gap a few times and I act reckless, so I need to work on that. I’m much better at American Eagle, I always behave there. Plus, the Eagle is the symbol of America, and I love America, so—

Gruden: (Interrupting) Hey Dobbs?

Dobbs: Yeah.

Gruden: Shut up.

(Awkward silence)

Gruden: So anyway, you come to Tennessee, you’re a freshman, there’s a new coach, the program is basically starting all over. (A picture of a brick goes on the television screen) What’s that?

Dobbs: (Quickly rushes to the white erase board, frantically calculates a problem using the lift equation and sits back down upon completion). That’s a brick.

Gruden: Tell me about bricks and what they mean to Tennessee.

Dobbs: You know, they mean a lot. Coach Jones always said we’re going to build the program “brick-by-brick” when I arrived in Knoxville and that’s what we did.

Gruden: Is it true you guys would just randomly carry around bricks?

Dobbs: (laughing) Yes, it actually is. We all love bricks. We trade bricks with each other. We’ve all taken classes on the method of making bricks. And it’s something that’s really captivated the fan base because sometimes I’ll be sitting in my apartment running around pretending to be an airplane, and suddenly a brick flies through my window. (Gruden starts chuckling like a little school girl.) It’s weird though, it only happens after losses.

Gruden: Have bricks taken over your life?

Dobbs: Most definitely. I renovated my room to have brick floors and brick walls. I only eat pizza from a brick oven. Every Halloween, I dress up as a brick. I get bricks for Christmas. Do you know who my favorite movie director of all time is?

Gruden: No, tell me.

Dobbs: Stanley Ku-BRICK!

(Both Gruden and Dobbs laugh uncontrollably for five minutes)

Gruden: (Wiping away tears) Oh man, that’s a good one right there. I got one for ya. You know why my bones break easy?

Dobbs: No, why?

Gruden: They’re very BRICK-le!

(Both Gruden and Dobbs laugh uncontrollably for five more minutes).

Gruden: Oh, what a time to be alive!

(Commercial break)

Gruden: (Narrating as highlights of Dobbs play on the screen) The most impressive thing about Joshua Dobbs is that he’s made a ton of sacrifices. His redshirt was burned not once, but twice in his career, and he accepted that. You know who else had a red shirt burned? LeBron James. Joshua Dobbs is the next LeBron James. You can’t make this stuff up.

Gruden: (Cuts to FCA, where the screen shows Dobbs entering Tennessee’s game against Alabama in 2013) So here you are, Dobbs, you come into your first game as a true freshman against the mighty Alabama Crimson Tide after your starting quarterback gets hurt. What was that like?

Dobbs: It was tough because obviously, as a freshman, you’re nervous for your first experience. Plus, you’re going against Alabama, one of the best teams in the country.

Gruden: You faced a lot of tough teams while playing in the SEC. Tell me about playing in that conference and how it helped you progress as a quarterback.

Dobbs: It’s a real challenge because you’re facing the best athletes and the best players in the country on the defensive side of the ball. Week in and week out, you’re playing teams loaded with NFL-caliber talent, so that prepares you for the next level. I mean, we played Alabama’s defense, but we also played South Carolina and Vanderbilt, two teams who had really potent defenses in 2016.

(Screens cuts to Dobbs taking big hits)

Gruden: Not only are you playing against some of the best defensive players in the country, you’re playing against some of the most physical defenses in the country. I’ve seen you take a number of vicious licks, some that I thought you wouldn’t be able to recover from, but you always seems to bounce back up. Where does that come from?

Dobbs: HGH.

Gruden: Oh, interesting. But one thing that you didn’t do a lot is slide. (Tape of Vontaze Burfict scorching Mother Earth and her offspring shows on the screen) You know this guy?

Dobbs: Not personally.

Gruden: (With attitude) Oh you know what I meant, Dobbs!

Dobbs: Sorry. Yes, I know who he is, sir.

Gruden: Anyway, in the NFL, you have guys like Vontaze Burfict all over the place. These ain’t no softies now, Dobbs. They’ll rip your head off. You have to learn how to avoid taking punishment. To put it to you this way Dobbs, in the NFL, the way you run, it isn’t going to SLIDE!

(Both Gruden and Dobbs laugh uncontrollably for five more minutes).

Dobbs: What a pun!

Gruden: You know what Dobbs, you’ve not only gone through the physical part of football, you’ve also dealt with the mental side of it. You’ve had one roller coaster of a career. So many epic victories in comeback fashion. (Footage of the Vols’ 2014 game against South Carolina rolls) This game right here was really your breakout moment, wasn’t it?

Dobbs: Yes, sir.

Gruden: (Footage of the Vols’ 2015 game against Georgia rolls) In this game, you’re down 24-3, you’re coming off two heartbreaking losses to Florida and Arkansas, the season is pretty much over at this point. Then, you face a fourth down in the second quarter and (watches play) touchdown Tennessee. You guys come back and win. How important was that game for this program?

Dobbs: You know, it was really important. We were 2-3 at that point, not really living up to our expectations, and without that win, we don’t go 9-4 that season. That game was definitely a momentum builder for the next season, where we also went 9-4.

Gruden: (Footage of the Vols’ Hail Mary against Georgia in 2016 rolls) What about this game right here? Your defense just gave up a Hail Mary, and here you are, winning the game with a Hail Mary. I mean, seriously, are you Aaron Rodgers 2.0?

Dobbs: (Laughing) I like to think that Aaron Rodgers is Josh Dobbs 2.0.

Gruden: (Footage of Vols’ 2016 game against Florida rolls) What about this game? You’re playing against your bitter rival. A team the Vols haven’t beaten in 11 stinkin’ years. You’ve been up close and personal to a few devastating losses to these Gator creatures and in this game here, you fall behind 21-0 at one point and 21-3 at the end of the first half. Then, in the second half, you score five touchdowns and outscore them 35-7. How did you do it? How did you manage?

Dobbs: That’s our team for you. We never give up. A lot of games last year, we faced large deficits early on, but we found ways to get back into the game. We could be down 210-3 and still believe we could come back and win.

Gruden: See, that’s important. In football, the situation won’t always be ideal. Sometimes, you’ll be struggling for an entire game against an inferior opponent with the SEC East on the line, but you have to find a way to make it happen. (Gruden begins looking for footage where Dobbs accomplished just that) Uh, well, this is awkward.

(Commercial break)

Gruden: (Narrating as footage of Dobbs throwing incomplete passes floods the screen) When I evaluate quarterbacks, the first thing I look at is accuracy. If your quarterback isn’t accurate, he isn’t going to complete passes. And if you aren’t going to complete passes, then your offensive coordinator is going to get fired. And if your offensive coordinator gets fired, he’s going to have to look for a job. And if he’s looking for a job, it can get really stressful around the house. And if it gets stressful around the house, his wife and kids might move to Aunt Deborah’s house across the country. And if they move to Aunt Deborah’s house across the country, then his family has time to move on. And if his family at Aunt Deborah’s house has time to move on, that’ll crush the offensive coordinator’s soul. And if that’ll crush the offensive coordinator’s soul, he’ll become a criminal seeking revenge. And if he becomes a criminal seeking revenge, he’s going to be a risk to society. And if he’s going to be a risk to society, he’s going to jail. So, moral of the story, if you don’t want to go to jail, make sure you have an accurate quarterback.

Gruden: (The camera cuts back to room with Gruden and Dobbs) One of the most important qualities a quarterback can have is accuracy. Accuracy deals with ball placement, it deals with touch, can you throw in tight windows, can you throw with anticipation, can you deliver a ball on time in the face of pressure, can you throw a ball before the receiver breaks his route? All of these things go into accuracy. Now, when I watch you (screen shows example of a Dobbs’ bounce pass) I noticed that you’ve progressed since your freshman season, but I still notice inconsistencies. On this play against South Carolina, you had the receiver wide open, but threw a bounce pass. Now, last time I checked, you aren’t a point guard in the NBA. What’s that about?

Dobbs: First off, don’t assume my sports. Second off, I thought he was going to run a dig route. Our offensive coordinator, Mike DeBord, said that’s when the receiver digs a hole into the ground, build an intricate underground tunnel system, anticipates where I’m going to throw the ball and jumps up through the ground to catch the ball.

Gruden: You know what Dobbs?

Dobbs: What?

Gruden: I can dig it!

(Both Gruden and Dobbs laugh uncontrollably for five more minutes).

Dobbs: What a pun!

Gruden: Alright, enough of this, I want to see how much you know. Go to the board and show me a play you guys liked to run in Knoxville.

Dobbs: (Dobbs gets up and goes to the board, then begins drawing X’s and O’s) Alright, this is a play we liked to run, especially against Alabama. So, as an offense, we know that their front seven is amazing. So, this is what we called “The Jalen Hurd two-yard special” where I would line up in shotgun formation, hand the ball off to this running back who doesn’t have a lot of speed and attack the teeth of the defense. It’s called the “Jalen Hurd two-yard special” because Jalen Hurd was the running back and we would only gain two yards.

Gruden: Beautiful. Music to my spleen. In college, offenses are not nearly as complicated as NFL offenses, and it mostly has to do with the language. You speak a second language?

Dobbs: No, sir.

Gruden: No French? No Korean?

Dobbs: No, sir.

Gruden: Well, in the NFL, it’s another language. The name of the plays become longer. You have to go in the huddle, look a bunch of men in the eye and say, “Listen fellas, we’re running a Knick Knack Paddy Wack Give A Dog A Bone” and not only do you have to say it word for word, these men have got to believe in you as their quarterback, their leader, their CEO. Think you can handle it?

Dobbs: Definitely.

Gruden: Alright, well you’re about to go prove it to me outside.

(The camera cuts to Dobbs and Gruden outside. With them are a bunch of players in shorts and t-shirts. Dobbs initially is talking to players, but eventually runs around pretending to be an airplane).

Gruden: Hey Dobbs! Stop pretending you’re an airplane and get over here (Dobbs runs over to Gruden). Alright, I want a No. 1 medium combo, hold the lettuce, put in an extra packet of mayo, salt the fries for 3.68 seconds and a sweet tea to drink. Got it?

Dobbs: Got it coach!

(Dobbs goes to the huddle and calls the play. As he goes to the line of scrimmage, a plane flies overhead. As a result, Dobbs is too distracted to snap the ball and receives a delay of game penalty).

Gruden: (Blows whistle and begins yelling) Dobbs, get your head out of the (Gruden signals for a dummer, who arrives at an instant) clouds! (Drummer plays da-da-ts).

Dobbs: What a pun!

(Dobbs snaps the ball, runs all the way back to the 43-yard line, texts Jauan Jennings, who takes three hours to show up to the field. Jennings has brought with him a few Georgia players, who proceed to go to Gruden’s players and force them out of the play. Jennings runs to the end zone, the Georgia players all stand behind him, Dobbs launches a Hail Mary, completes it and all of the sudden, everyone is transported to Oct. 1 when Dobbs’ Hail Mary actually happened. Gruden is bewildered by the turn of events, not knowing how he time traveled from Florida to Athens, Georgia. Dobbs is running around, screaming “I’m an aerospace engineer and a champion of life!” After the celebration is over, everyone teleports back to Gruden’s QB Camp).

Gruden: (blows the whistle) Dobbs! I didn’t call a stinkin Hail Mary. And also, stop with the time travel, dang flabbit!

Dobbs: Sorry coach!

(Dobbs snaps the ball, sees four receivers open in the end zone, but instead tries to run it in).

Gruden: Dobbs! What are you doing?!

(As Dobbs approaches the goal line, he initially wants to time a jump so he can get blasted by a defender, but because Gruden’s players aren’t allowed to tackle, Dobbs instead stops at the one-yard line, punched himself in the ribs for six minutes and fumbles the ball at the one-yard line. Out of nowhere, Jalen Hurd appears and jumps on the ball in the end zone. Gruden blows his whistle).

Gruden: Dobbs! I asked for you to run a simple play, alright! A simple play! A freakin No. 1 medium combo! Easiest play in the book and you can’t run it! Seriously? You know what Dobbs, at this rate, you’re never going to LAND a job in the NFL!

(Both Gruden and Dobbs laugh uncontrollably for another five minutes).

Dobbs: What a pun!

Edited by Nathan Odom

Featured image by Ben Proffitt

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