By Dan Picca
“I want a quarterback who hates losing more than he likes winning.” Quince Orchard High School (Gaithersburg, MD) Head Football Coach Dave Mencarini
*On a blistering-hot August afternoon, Chris Baucia gathered together his coaching staff to discuss final preparation for the day of quarterback training that awaited. The former Virginia Tech signalcaller and current Gilman School (Baltimore, MD) offensive coordinator has been directing the Quarterback Factory since 1999.
“Our camps are an opportunity for players from middle school through rising seniors to improve their technique on the field. As an educator, I can emphasize the importance of performing even harder in the classroom and being the kind of high-character student/athlete that colleges look for in their programs,” Baucia told me at the center of The Severn School field.
One of Baucia’s star performers on this day would his own Gilman quarterback, Shane Cockerille. The powerfully-built 6’2″, 210-pound southpaw modeled many of the drills for his fellow campers. Coming off an appearance at ESPN’s Elite 11 regional in New York City in April and in Vegas in late June, Cockerille is the very definition of a dual-threat racking up 1,100 passing yards, over 1,300 yards rushing yards and 26 total touchdowns for the Greyhounds. The home state Terrapins secured the services of the lefty gunslinger in April, making 2nd-year University of Maryland head coach Randy Edsall a very happy man.
The college decision for another camp standout William Crest has not been finalized. The highly recruited 6’4″, 190-pound junior’s raw athleticism stood out yesterday, making it obvious why he already has racked up 17 offers from the likes of Virginia, Virgina Tech, West Virginia, Maryland, Rutgers, Purdue and Ohio State as well as an early invite to the UnderArmour Game in January 2014.
Camps such as this one are not only vital for skill-set development, but also for getting exposure through scouting outposts like Rivals and recruiting services like Upper Hand Promotions, who covered the event.
“If these kids are able to parlay their football skills into a college education someday, that is the ultimate achievement,” declared Baucia.
Baucia brought in top-notch coaches from both the college and high school ranks to provide expert instruction. Kyle Smith played quarterback at Purdue from 2001 to 2005 and served as a graduate assistant coach there before becoming the position coach at Catholic University in Washington D.C. The personable Smith fired up the players on the field with his hard-nosed Big Ten-style of play, and then enlighted them in the classroom film session at the end of the day.
“I learned a lot from Drew Brees and Kyle Orton at Purdue. You don’t play for as long and as well in the league (NFL) as those two have without having the mental intangibles and leadership to go along with the physical tools,” stated Smith.
Dave Mencarini is entering his ninth year (85-14 record, eight straight playoff appearances) as the head football coach at Montgomery County, Maryland’s powerhouse Quince Orchard High School in Gaithersburg. He became one of the youngest head coaches to win a state championship (2007), when his Cougar team rallied with 29 fourth-quarter points to stun Arundel High School. But it was the last-play loss in the title game a year ago to Old Mill High School that he spoke about at length to a mesmerized crowd of young gunslingers.
“I’ve replayed that game a thousand times in my mind. We had the lead with two opportunities to salt it away late. I am chomping at the bit to get back to practice with the Cougars this week,” recalled Mencarini
Summer camps are over for the prestigious Quarterback Factory. Coaches Baucia, Smith and Mencarini will return to their schools and begin the preparation for their own 2012 regular seasons.
Chris Baucia wrapped up the event yesterday by proclaiming:
“We hope the training we’ve offered today makes you a little more confident, a little more prepared with the new season looming. And even if we (Gilman) play any of you this season, I wish you the best of luck in the gridiron campaign ahead.”