Friday, February 20, 2009

Q&A: Hunter Cantwell, QB, Louisville

What is your height, weight and what do you expect to run in the 40?

My height is 6’4” probably 235lb and I am looking to run a 4.9 in the 40

What do you want to showcase at the combine, what is first and foremost in your mind that you want to showcase to the NFL scouts?

I think definitely my throwing ability, the accuracy, the arm strength. I am a good athlete, not a great athlete. I am not going to wow anyone with my vertical jump or my three-cone or L drill. What I excel at is throwing the football and hopefully that will come through in the throwing drills at Indianapolis.

Your position gets critiqued and picked apart more than any other. Of the criticism that you hear, do you think any of it is at all accurate and illustrates some things you have to work on? And which criticisms do you disagree with...

I think after the season a lot of NFL teams/scouts said that my release was too long; it was giving the DBs and safeties a chance to break on the ball. It was giving a “tell”, so to speak, when I was getting ready to throw. I think that’s something I've worked very hard on in this combine preparation, shortening that release. I have a QB coach out (Bob Johnson) here in southern California and we’ve been working really hard on that. I think another criticism that you laugh at is people saying, 'he’s a big guy and he doesn’t move that well'. Like I said before, I am not going to wow anyone with my agility or speed, but I think I’m a better athlete than people give me credit for.

How about Brian Brohm? You had to play behind him for a couple of years, can you tell us if you still talk to him and what do you hear from him about going into the NFL? Was it difficult sitting behind him and not to try to do too much this year because you only had one year to show what you can do?

Playing with Brian, backing him up for those four years was a great experience for me. Obviously he was a heckuva college football player and being able to learn from him and just watching him play...the best thing you can do as quarterback trying to learn is to watch a great guy like Brian play. Being around for his process as he went through the combine, pro day and got his feedback kind of helps me understand the whole situation and what the scouts are looking for. It was tough at times playing behind Brian because going into my senior year, I did want to show that I had the ability to play at a high level and live up to Brian’s expectations. I don’t think that made me press at all during the season, but that is always in the back of your mind.

What do you think your best feature is, your arm strength, your accuracy or your ability to read defenses?

I take pride in all three of those things. The scouts would tell you, from what I have been hearing from them, is my arm strength. It is just something I have been able to do since I was little, throw the ball far with velocity, so I think that is what they would tell you - arm strength.

I am sure in the coming weeks and the coming months you are going to have a lot of questions thrown at you by NFL personnel. What do you tell teams that may be skeptical about picking you because you only had one year of starting experience at quarterback?

That is definitely something NFL teams will look at, and I do have only one year of starting experience, but throughout my time as a backup I was able to play more games. I was able to start four games going into my starting season, so there is a lot more film on me out there, a lot more games started than just one season. I think there have been a lot of guys who have either played only one senior season or played a lower level of competition for one year and still had success, so I think there is precedent for guys who have only played one year.

A guy like Kurt Warner...


Looking back at your career at Louisville, what particular moment really stands out for you?

: I can remember when Miami came in, I guess it was two years ago. I think they were sixteenth in the nation and we were twelfth and even though we were ranked higher, Miami was still getting considerable love. This was the University of Miami of Florida and I remember they came into Papa John Colonel Stadium and we were getting real excited and they came in and jumped on our bird before the game! It almost started a fight on the fifty-yard line. That game was very high energy, high octane from the get go and in the third quarter the game was still in the balance. It was back and forth and Brian was injured, he had a thumb injury and had to come out of the game. I remember going in and on the first play, Coach Petrino had the confidence in me and called a deep post pattern and I was able to hit Harry Douglass, who is now with the Atlanta Falcons. I hit him on the post route and he was tackled at the one and the crowd just went insane. I knew from that point on we were going to score, and we were going to beat Miami. A lot of people weren’t expecting us to win that one, so I think that memory will probably stand out.

We've been talking a lot about getting ready for the combine and a lot of the focus is on the physical, but you are also going to have to take the Wonderlic test and interview with a lot of teams. What have you done to prepare for those things, to take that test, which I hear is kind of strange, as well as speaking to these NFL executives?

The Wonderlic is pretty different. I’ve taken it numerous times actually. When the scouts came in for senior pro day, they would make the juniors take it, so I’ve already taken it once with the NFL. I’ll take it again at the combine and one thing you just got to learn is not to try to answer them all. Answer the ones you know and move on as the time passes. You don’t want to take too much time. It is not something like the SAT or the ACT, something that you can prepare is something you don’t really worry about too much. As far as meeting with NFL GMs and executives, that’s huge, because as a quarterback they are basically giving you the keys to their organization. You want to come across as intelligent and confident, you don’t want to be over-cocky. From what I've heard, a lot of teams will bring in psychologists and analysts, people who study body language. They really do look for everything. I have had some interview preps, but a lot of things my agents have heard is that a lot of guys over-prepare and go in sounding like robots. Everyone has his own set of answers that they give to tough questions, so the good part is about it is going into those interviews you don’t want to sound like a robot, you want to be confident, you want to say the right thing, but you also want your own personality to shine through, so that will be big for all of the quarterbacks at the combine.

What team you would like to land with? (Chat room/Rams fan)

I would love to stay as close to home as possible, but obviously I would be delighted whichever team took a chance on me. Not to pander to the crowd, but St. Louis and the Titans would probably be the two closest to my hometown of Paducah, Kentucky, so I would be excited if the Rams or Titans picked me up.

What was your favorite team growing up?

Kansas City Chiefs

Favorite movie of all time?

Dumb and Dumber or Sandlot

What is your favorite hobby outside of football?

Snow skiing, but I haven’t skied in a couple of years due to the injury factor, so I will go with fresh water fishing.