For a quarterback, every rep counts on the practice field and a strong showing in Mobile can elevate stock to historic proportions.
Connecticut signal caller Dan Orlovsky had a lot to prove in front of the contingent of scouts and coaches during Senior Bowl week. Coming from a small program and without the benefit of top notch receiving talent, Orlovsky staked a claim that said he belonged.
He admits it was similar to a first date, nervous at first and not wanting to say or do the wrong thing before settling in and just being yourself.
“I started off a little shaky on Monday and I think some other people did,” Orlovsky said. “It was just a product of being in front of that many scouts and working that closely with professional people.
“Be confident in ourselves and play well.”
Orlovsky is a believer in the old adage that says you have to fail before you succeed. Unfortunately, scouts may not view that in the same light on the stage of the Senior Bowl. The talent evaluators don’t mind failure as long as it is left at the door of the Mobile airport.
Recruiting out of high school by teams like Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue, Virginia, and Notre Dame, Orlovsky passed those up to play for his hometown team, the Huskies of UConn.
Along the way, Orlovsky set UConn passing records throwing for 3,485 yards and 33 touchdowns leading the Huskies to a 9-3 record as a junior.
He came back to complete 65 percent of his passes as a senior, throwing 23 touchdowns to 15 interceptions.
Blessed with size, 6-foot-5, and an accurate arm, Orlovsky had a lot to gain by coming to Mobile for Senior Bowl week.
He was able to throw to a bevy of receivers that were more talented than any he had on his UConn roster and the advantage made him look even better than his stats with the Huskies.
“It is probably a little different for me,” Orlovsky admitted. “It was an honor to come out and throw to those guys. You see these guys, they are so explosive in their routes and they catch anything that is thrown in the vicinity of their body. They are competitors.”
The knock on Orlovsky is his tendency to lock onto a particular target through the route and thus his penchant for getting picked off. While he has amassed 86 touchdown passes in his college career, he has also thrown 49 interceptions.
But with his frame and knack for accuracy, scouts believe the bad habits he developed can be erased from his game.