QB coach: Mississippi State’s Nick Fitzgerald has traits you ‘physically cannot teach’
Fitzgerald spent time this summer working with quarterback coach Ken Mastrole in south Florida. Mastrole also worked with Arkansas quarterback Austin Allen.
“If he works on certain functional things, he’s going to be a heck of a quarterback,” Mastrole told GN. “He’s got things that you physically cannot teach, like that’s genetically programmed in you.”
Fitzgerald threw for 2,423 yards and 21 touchdowns,and rushed for 1,375 yards and 16 more scores. His rushing total was second in the league, behind only Derrius Guice’s 1,387 yards.
Fitzgerald (6 feet 5, 230 pounds) was a lightly recruited player out of Richmond Hill (Ga.) High, a town of about 10,000 near Savannah. Fitzgerald ran the wing-T offense in high school.
Mastrole said he has heard stories of how Bulldogs coach Dan Mullen saw potential in Fitzgerald despite his unrefined tool set. Mastrole said Fitzgerald’s boundless potential can be seen on film.
“He has the ability to slide in the pocket,” Mastrole said. “Let’s say the pocket collapses to the right, and he slides to the left. Most of the time, the quarterback’s read will go to (that) direction. … He has the ability to get back across the field and find that safety valve of like a running back or someone checking down on the other side of the field.”
Mastrole also says its important to recognize Fitzgerald’s football IQ.
“They don’t run an easy offense,” Mastrole said. “Part of the reason that Dak Prescott can play in the NFL is that he’s physically gifted and the mental curve. They run a sophisticated offense.”
The biggest improvement Mastrole would like to see Fitzgerald make in 2017 is maturing as a leader. He wants to see him continue developing “chemistry” with his teammates as a second-year starter.