Apollos QB Anderson maturing quickly in quest for roster spot
By Tom Alexander / The Alliance
Kevin Anderson is trying to get better every day. The Orlando Apollos quarterback came into training camp in San Antonio as a darkhorse candidate to become the starter. Some outside observers even called Anderson a “developmental prospect” because he played college football at Fordham University, a FCS school, and was coming off an injury in his final college season.
The Apollos chose Anderson in the fourth round of the four-round Alliance of American Football “Protect or Pick” QB Draft last fall. Given that Apollos head coach Steve Spurrier has said the team will likely only keep three quarterbacks of the four on the current roster when training camp ends, Anderson certainly looks like a longshot to make it.
That is, until you watch him play. He’s certainly the fastest quarterback in camp, and the one who scrambles the most. With training camp halfway finished, Anderson is, perhaps, the most improved quarterback on the roster. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound signal-caller has shown a knack for making big plays, whether it’s with his arm or his legs.
Early on, it seemed like Anderson, at times, tried too hard to make those big plays. It could have been because he was overly excited or trying to prove himself, as a player from a smaller school. He’s different now. More often, Anderson appears to be focused on using his gifts to execute the offense, instead of just trying to cash in with a big play.
He’s even slightly different in conversation now, compared to early in camp. Before, he spoke about priding himself on his arm strength and taking shots downfield. Now he talks more about focusing on learning from the Apollos’ coaching staff. We caught up with Anderson after a recent practice to talk about his development so far.
Q: Week 2, how are you feeling out there?
A: Great, it’s so fun. Every day is a blessing. It’s really exciting, even days when it’s grey and cloudy, and we’re in the second week, day 15 or so. A lot of times people get down, but we’re all playing pro football again, so it’s exciting. I’m happy to be out here, I’m thrilled. It’s great camaraderie.
Q: Are you really relishing the opportunity to be out here?
A: Yeah, definitely. I’m just trying to get as much coaching as I can and get better every single day. I feel like I’ve been doing that. I’ve been put in more and more leadership positions, like the end of the two-minute drill, stuff like that, so they’re getting more confidence in me and I’m feeling more confident because of that. I’m just trying to pick these plays out and really execute them at the highest ability.
Q: What are some of those key things that you’ve been working on in your own game?
A: Just always studying, taking Coach Spurrier’s coaching. Not pressing, not trying to do too much. Just do what the defense dictates instead of trying to, “Oh, I want this. I want to hit this. This is the play we have designed to hit this.” No. See what they’re giving us and then just dish it out and let my playmakers make plays.
Q: Do you have any plays that have stuck out in your mind in practice that you’ve really hit on?
A: Yeah, one play that just happened today (Thursday) in the two-minute, it was like a third-and-15 and the defense all was in a type of prevent. A younger me, first week of camp, first this, want to show myself, prove myself to other guys, show off my arm, would try to fire it in there. I checked it down to the little bopper and he got the 15. Stuff like that, just trying to be more and more mature, take coaching and show that I’m a guy that can execute everything and make all the throws.
Whether Anderson earns one of the final 52 spots on the Apollos roster or not, he’ll come out of training camp a better quarterback than he was when he came in, one with what looks to be a bright football future.
Tom Alexander covers the Orlando Apollos for The Alliance of American Football. Follow him on Twitter @TheTomAlexander.