In the months after undergoing back surgery last November, Brady Quinn began plotting out his next move. His football career wasn’t over — not officially, anyway — but the former Notre Dame standout and Chiefs quarterback could see the end.
“It makes you think about what you want to do after your career,” Quinn said. “I wanted to pursue life after football, and being able to broadcast and be around it was something that I thought was pretty cool.”
Quinn, who will be 30 in late October, signed on with Fox Sports during the summer and will serve as the color analyst this Saturday for the Texas-Kansas game on Fox Sports 1 — just his second game since heading into broadcasting.
It’s a nice assignment for Quinn, of course. Not only will Quinn get to catch up with KU coach Charlie Weis — his former coach at Notre Dame — but he also is familiar with Texas coach Charlie Strong, who recruited him while he was an assistant at South Carolina.
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The Star caught up with Quinn this week before Kansas opens the Big 12 season against Texas:
QUESTION: This is your first season in the booth. Has the transition to broadcasting come natural? People always wonder what the initial adjustment is for a player who just stopped playing.
QUINN: I think it comes natural. Once the ball is kicked and the game starts, that part is natural. I think all the other stuff that comes along with how the show and everything is produced. That’s an entirely different world. People still are telling me what their title is and all this stuff, and I’m still like: ‘I have no idea what they do.’ They do a great job, but I didn’t go to school for this. I majored in Finance and Poli Sci, so it’s very different from the world what I thought I would be entering into after I was done playing.
But the preparation is very similar to what you would do in a game week. You watch a lot of film; you scout and look at strengths and weaknesses of players and all that.
QUESTION: From the outside, it seems like players really enjoy playing for Charlie Weis; what is it about his style that players enjoy?
QUINN: Well, he’s smart. And everything he does makes sense and he explains it to you, and helps push you and put you in a position to succeed. I always felt like players need to be more accountable for their play. He is a tremendous play-caller; he puts in a system that plays to the strengths of a team. And when you look at whether he’s had success or lack of success, in the end, with any coach, they got to have players to go out there and do it. You can’t just plug in, like pawns, to go out there do it. Players are what make it all possible. That’s not to take anything away from coaching. But I think, a lot of times, players don’t take enough accountability away from their play.
QUESTION: Kansas has a young quarterback in sophomore Montell Cozart, who is still kind of growing in the position. What do you see in him?
QUINN: I think he’s a young guy who is still coming along, and becoming more and more consistent. You look at last week’s game (against Central Michigan), he played great. That’s the kind of strides you’re going to need him to make, in order to have that the success that coach Weis wants to have and everybody else wants to have.
It’s good to see that Coach has finally found someone that’s been able to take the system and run with it. And be able to be successful with it. Because I know I always felt like: “We always had a chance to win.”
QUESTION: What else stands out for you about Kansas on the film?
QUINN: Offensively, the one thing in particular is the running game. I think they’ve got to get that going in order to be successful in this game. Whether it’s (freshman Corey) Avery or (junior college transfer De’Andre) Mann. And also Tony Pierson, I think you’ve got to find a way to get him the ball; get the ball in his hand and allow him to be that playmaker; he’s one of their best playmakers on the field. And if you’re looking at them defensively: If you’re looking at the stats Ben Heeney has put up and just the way he plays football, you better believe Texas is going to have a hat on him every single time they’re running the football. They’ll be keying on that big time. Ben is one of those kids that stands out by the way he plays.