Gruden QB Camp grad, Whitfield student Petty eager to apply lessons in NFL

On the set of NFL Live (L-R): ESPN NFL analysts Jeff Saturday and George Whitfield; Baylor QB and NFL Draft prospect Bryce Petty;  host Trey Wingo and analyst Tim Hasselbeck stand before a camera operator.  ( Joe Faraoni / ESPN Images)
On the set of NFL Live (L-R): ESPN NFL analysts Jeff Saturday and George Whitfield; Baylor QB and NFL Draft prospect Bryce Petty; host Trey Wingo and analyst Tim Hasselbeck.
(Joe Faraoni/ESPN Images)

When ESPN and ESPN2 air Rounds 2 and 3 of the 2015 NFL Draft tonight (7-11:30 p.m. ET), Bryce Petty expects to be watching intently from his Midlothian, Texas home while enjoying extra helpings from a crawfish boil.

What’s a crawfish boil?

“‘What’s a crawfish boil?'” the former Baylor quarterback repeated the Front Row question with a chuckle during his recent ESPN Car Wash.

“You could easily eat 3 to 4 pounds of crawfish by yourself. You get big bags of crawfish, you boil them up, you throw them on the table with corn on the cob, potatoes. You go to peeling them, shucking them. You need to look it up.”

Many experts, including ESPN analysts George Whitfield Jr. and Jon Gruden, feel Petty has the ingredients to be a successful NFL quarterback. Petty is expected to be chosen tonight, perhaps as the third quarterback selected overall after Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota were snatched with the top two picks when the Draft opened Thursday.

Quarterback guru Whitfield has worked with Petty since the Bears quarterback was a sophomore; Gruden tutored Petty during a recent episode of QB Camp.

Petty, who set 31 Baylor school records during his career in Waco, raves about what he has learned from both Whitfield (see sidebar) and Gruden.

During his session with Monday Night Football analyst and Super Bowl winner Gruden, Petty learned “to have a plan – not to make a plan during the game but to have a plan before the game. Learn, understand and study the Xs and Os to a point where when you see it, you already know what to do.”

Sometimes, though, life throws you a curve – or a Nerf football-throwing contest. Petty enjoyed his Car Wash appearances on various ESPN platforms including NFL Live. Still, he shook his head recalling his less-than-stellar SportsCenter passing accuracy contest against co-anchors Nicole Briscoe and Jay Crawford.

“It was fun, but at the same time, it was extremely hard throwing a Nerf football,” said Petty, who completed nearly 63 percent of his passes for Baylor but was not nearly as successful under the hot SportsCenter lights. “That was difficult.”

Petty on working with George Whitfield Jr., QB guru and ESPN analyst

Bryce Petty has worked with quarterback engineer George Whitfield Jr. for years. What has he learned from Whitfield that’s been most useful?

Petty emphasizes two things.

“My sophomore year, I was really ‘wide’ with the way I threw. George said, ‘act like you’re throwing in a phone booth.’ Immediately, that phone booth reference just clicked with me. The very next rep, I threw a ball I had never thrown before.”

This spring in Florida during the Gruden QB Camp experience, another Whitfield lesson came in handy, Petty said.

“On a lot of my tape, I stand ‘tall’ in the pocket. I never use my legs, everything’s kind of with my arm,” he said.

Whitfield had advised Petty to “play to 5-11 instead of 6-3.”

Petty said: “That’s really helped me incorporate my legs. The next rep, I threw a ball I’ve never thrown before.”

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