The NFLPA Collegiate Bowl Presented by Winnol is going down on Saturday, January 19 at The Home Depot Center on the campus of California State University Dominguez Hills in Carson, California. In the days before and after the game, we’ll have continuing coverage—from player and coach interviews to videos, photos and highlights. For more on the game, follow @NFLPABowl on Twitter.
After the Southern Utah Thunderbirds finished the season with a disappointing 5-6 record, quarterback Brad Sorensen didn’t know whether he had played his last game of football. Now, after being selected to play in the NFL Players Association Collegiate Bowl, he’s fighting for a potential spot in the NFL with every snap and every pass that he throws.
At 6-5, 230 pounds, Sorensen has the physical attributes NFL scouts crave. And despite an underwhelming 2012 season, Sorensen was named the Great Western Conference Offensive Player of the Year in 2011, throwing for over 3,000 yards with 17 touchdowns.
TDdaily recently caught up with the Southern Utah product via phone after an NFLPA Bowl practice to discuss his experience getting coached up by the American team’s head coach Herm Edwards, his legacy at Southern Utah, and his future in the NFL.
TDdaily: What does it mean for you to play in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl?
Brad Sorensen: It’s a great opportunity. I’m always excited to be able to play another game of football. I wasn’t sure if I played my last game so to have this opportunity is great.
TD: How did you find out you were selected?
BS: I got a letter—I don’t know if it was an official invite—at the beginning of the season. Then once the season ended, they got in contact with me and let me know they were extending an invite to the game and right after that I accepted, it was a no-brainer.
TD: What’s it been like to work with head coach Herm Edwards?
BS: Awesome. He’s a great guy, very animated, very enthusiastic about whatever he’s talking about. He’s super smart, knows what he’s talking about. To just be able to sit in a room with him, and just take it all in and learn as much as I can from him, that’s what I’m trying to do.
TD: Have you picked up anything in particular from Coach Edwards during your time together?
BS: I think more than just trying to teach us football right now, he’s trying to teach us life lessons. You know, trying to get the point across that we need to be on time, need to form good habits, being there and being accountable. I think I’ve learned a lot from him already.
TD: How did you feel when you were invited to the NFL Combine?
BS: It was great. I got the invitation over Christmas break, so some of family was with me at the time… we were all just really excited. We’ve watched it before and we always dreamed about how cool that would be, and to get the invite was pretty exciting.
TD: With the combine coming up, has your college head coach Ed Lamb given you any words of wisdom?
BS: I talked with him briefly the day that I got [the invitation], he was the one who actually called me to let me know the news. He was just positive and he encouraged me to work hard and to take advantage of this opportunity.
TD: You played for three schools in college (previously at BYU and San Bernardino Valley). Do you think that helped or hurt your development?
BS: I think it helped. To learn from three different coaches, offensive coordinators, to learn different schemes. I think it helped me be more balanced as a football player.
TD: After being named the Great West Conference’s Offensive Player of the Year in 2011, what areas of your game did you look to improve heading into this season?
BS: Everything. I think if you’re not improving as a quarterback and you think you’ve got it all figured out, you’re wrong. So I’ve worked really hard in the offseasons to try and get to know the offense and the run game so I can make checks at the line of scrimmage a little better, and then just overall mechanics, working on fundamentals.
TD: You’ve set some pretty impressive statistical marks in your years at Southern Utah, what do you think your legacy will be there?
BS: I feel like I’ve left a positive impact on my teammates and the program. The work ethic that I was able to put in during the offseason, I think that culture has been established a little bit with the younger quarterbacks, and that will carry on. Hopefully the rest of the team can follow the example I tried set.
TD: What parts of your game do you think translate well to the NFL?
BS: I think I’ve got good size, athleticism, and a strong arm. I’ve got that but I still have a long way to go working on other parts of my game too.
TD: What kinds of things do you think you need to work on to get the attention of NFL teams in need of a QB?
BS: Everything. You find out playing in an all-star game against such good competition that there’s not much room for error. You’ve got to be right on with everything—footwork, your eyes, mechanics. I think just getting better at everything.
TD: Does playing in a game like the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl with other top-level players help provide extra motivation?
BS: Yeah, absolutely. You see what the other quarterbacks are able to do and how balanced they are. So it just makes you want to get better and pushes you to be the best that you can be. And then obviously to go against a defense that plays such good coverage and has such small windows to fit the ball into, it makes it so you have to be right on.
TD: Who was your favorite NFL team/player growing up?
BS: I grew up watching the 49ers. My parents and the whole family are all big Steve Young fans. So I grew up idolizing him and all the success the 49ers had.
TD: Did you try to model your game after Young or anyone else in the League?
TD: You’re considered a top prospect in the draft coming from a small school. Joe Flacco, who played for a few different smaller schools in college as well, is getting ready to face the Patriots in the AFC Championship this weekend. How successful do you think you could be in the League?
BS: I have no idea. All I know is that I have a long way to go and a lot to work on and get better at. But if a team likes me and is gonna take a chance on drafting me, I’m going to try to help their organization by being the best quarterback I can be.
Daniel Friedman is an editorial intern for SLAM and TDdaily. Follow him on Twitter @DFried615.
Photo via SUU News.