BRAD OTTON - 10
Tumwater, WA (Tumwater/Weber State)
6-6, 235 - Sr.*/Sr.
CAREER: Otton is eighth on USC's career passing chart (214-of-348, 61.5%, 2,710 yards, 20 TDs, 4 interceptions) and is 10-1-1 as a Trojan starter. His 216 consecutive passes attempted without an interception at the start of his USC career (over the 1994 and 1995 seasons) is a Pac-10 and USC record (he also owns the NCAA mark of 202, which doesn't include bowl games). He is 22nd on USC's career total offense list with 2,660 yards.
1996: The cool, tested and talented Otton--at 6-6, the tallest quarterback in USC history--returns to guide the Trojans in 1996 as a senior and should be in line for post-season honors. He is known for his intelligent and poised play, an accurate arm and good scrambling ability. He's also available as a backup holder on all placekicks.
JOHN ROBINSON SAYS: "Otton could wind up as one of the top quarterbacks in the country. He displays great poise and leadership, and he has proven to be a very intelligent and accurate passer. He has all the tools you look for in a quarterback. He is very intuitive about the game and has great instincts on the field. He's very elusive and can stay alive in the pocket while keeping his eyes downfield better than anyone I've seen. He has a cool demeanor, too. Physically, he's gotten much stronger and his arm is stronger."
1995: Otton shared time with Kyle Wachholtz at quarterback as a junior in 1995. Otton played the first and third quarters of games (except for the last 5 games, when Otton played the entire second half at Washington, while Wachholtz quarterbacked the last 3 quarters versus Stanford and the entire game at Oregon State, then Otton played the final 3 quarters versus UCLA and all of the Rose Bowl against Northwestern). Otton, who was third in the Pac-10 (23rd in U.S.) in passing efficiency (136.9 regular season, 141.7 overall), was 159-of-256 (62.1%) for 1,923 yards and 14 TDs with just 4 interceptions in 1995 (that's 10th on USC's single season passing list). He also had minus 17 yards rushing on 22 carries (-1.5 avg.) with 1 TD. His 1,906 yards of total offense ranked 16th on USC's season list. Against San Jose State, Otton was 14-of-20 for 182 yards with 1 TD and added an 8-yard TD scamper. Versus Houston, he was 14-of-21 for career highs of 4 TDs and 223 yards (he was the first Trojan to throw 4 TDs in a game since Rob Johnson did so in 1993 against Houston). At Arizona, he was 12-of-17 for 95 yards, then against Arizona State, he was 15-of-26 for 192 yards and 2 TDs. At California, he was 14-of-21 for 160 yards. He was 14-of-24 for 130 yards and 1 TD versus Washington State (his third quarter interception ended his Pac-10 and USC record streak of consecutive passes without a pick at 216, dating back to 1994). At Notre Dame, he went 8-of-17 for 110 yards and an interception. In the tie at Washington, he played the fourth quarter instead of Wachholtz and led USC back from a 21-point final period deficit; Otton was 21-of-36 for 251 yards (all career highs) and 2 TDs overall in 3 quarters (including 13-of-22 for 137 yards and 2 TDs in the final quarter). He suffered a mild concussion early in the Stanford contest (he was just 1-of-7 for 38 yards and an interception) and was sidelined the final 3 quarters. He was held out of the entire contest at Oregon State while still feeling the effects of the concussion. After Wachholtz started against UCLA, Otton played the last 3 quarters and completed 17-of-23 passes (for a career-best 73.9%) for 151 yards and 2 TDs. Against Northwestern in the Rose Bowl, Otton played the entire game for the first time in 1995 and was outstanding: he hit 29-of-44 passes for 391 yards (all career highs) with 2 TDs and no interceptions (the yardage was 1 yard shy of Rob Johnson's USC record and was the third most in Rose Bowl history).
1994: Otton was a pleasant--and somewhat unexpected--addition to USC in 1994. He transferred to USC in the spring of 1994 after a record
setting season at Division I-AA Weber State and proved to be a super sub as a sophomore backup quarterback to Johnson. Because of ankle sprains to Johnson, Otton filled in admirably for him in 5 games in 1994 (he was 2-0 as a starter). Overall in 7 games in 1994, Otton was 47-of-78 (60.3%) for 641 yards, 4 TDs and no interceptions. He was immediately eligible to play at USC because of a new NCAA rule on Division I-AA transfers (the rule has since been rescinded). Otton came on in the third quarter at Oregon (completing 7-of-15 passes for 79 yards with no interceptions and just 2 sacks). He played the entire game at Oregon State (going 13-of-21 for 208 yards and 2 TDs, without a pick and only 1 sack). He jumped in during the second quarter at Stanford (going 10-of-20 for 114 yards, no picks and 1 sack). He started again versus California (completing 75.0% of his passes, 15-of-20, for 196 yards, 2 TDs, no picks and 1 sack, including 14-of-19 for 188 yards in the first half; he left the game after USC's first series of the second half with Troy up, 42-0, as backups came in). He then played the last 7 minutes against Arizona (leading USC to a TD and field goal while hitting both of his passes for 44 yards, including a 43-yard bomb on his first snap). He also played most of the second half in USC's rout of Texas Tech in the Cotton Bowl, going 8
of-14 for 146 yards and 2 TDs (including an 86-yarder to Keyshawn Johnson, 1 yard shy of the USC and Cotton Bowl record), with no interceptions or sacks. He also played briefly against Baylor, but didn't throw a pass.
WEBER STATE: Otton was Weber State's starting quarterback in 1993. He set NCAA Division I-AA freshman single game records when he threw for 540 yards and had 536 yards of total offense against Northern Arizona. He earned 1993 All-Big Sky honorable mention notice while completing 183-of-314 passes (58.3%) for 2,307 yards and 15 TDs. He was 13th in Division I-AA in total offense (249.1 yards per game). He started 7 times for Weber State, which was 7-4 in 1993 and ranked 11th among Division I-AA teams in passing offense (279.5) and 12th in total offense (444.7). Otton also made the 1993 Big Sky All-Academic team. He redshirted in 1990 in his first year at Weber State, then went on a Mormon mission for 2 years to Italy, followed by 2 months in Brooklyn, N.Y.
HIGH SCHOOL: Otton prepped at Tumwater (Wash.) High in 1989 and led his 13-0 team to the state championship. He completed 92-of-159 passes (57.9%) for 1,576 yards, 29 TDs (third most ever in the state) and just 4 interceptions as a senior while coached by his father, Sid. He also ran for 3 scores. He was All-State first team and Black Hills League MVP in 1989. He was the backup quarterback during his sophomore and junior seasons, hitting 10-of-14 passes (71.4%) for 128 yards and 2 TDs. Tumwater also won the state title in his 1987 sophomore season. He also played basketball (16.0 scoring average) and tennis at Tumwater.
PERSONAL: His father, Sid, was a 1965 All-American back at Weber State (as a prepster at Lewiston High in Idaho, he was coached by Bud Riley, father of USC offensive coordinator Mike Riley), while his older brother, Tim, was a defensive end at Weber State. His sister, Tana, is on the women's basketball team at Western Washington. Otton is a business major at USC. He was married in May of 1996 and his wife's name is Deanna.
BRAD OTTON ON:
His composure: "I don't really think about the pressure that's on me. I guess what pressure there is, I kind of enjoy it and roll with whatever happens...I'm not going to go out there nervous for the only time I'm really enjoying it. There's a personality behind every player, and I guess that's my personality."
His passing accuracy: "I'm not out there thinking that I can't throw an interception because I have some streak going...I throw plenty of interceptions in practice!...I was taught by my coach at Weber State, Dave Arslanian, that you should test the limits of what you can get away with in practice. You've got to find things out whether you can sneak things in the hole, whether you can look this guy off and throw behind him...That usually means throwing a lot of interceptions in practice, but that's when you need to find things out so you don't make the same mistakes in a game."
Sharing time with Kyle Wachholtz in 1995: "I think Coach Robinson did it because he had two good quarterbacks and he couldn't justify telling one to sit on the bench. While I wish it didn't have to be that way, I definitely understand...I don't make the decisions. The coaches make the decisions. They went with what they thought would be best for the team. The main concern was how I was going to deal with it. I'm for doing what's best for the team. I learned a lot about football and a lot about life through it...It was tough, not only to come in cold and having to get into a rhythm, but also to not be the guy in the fourth quarter...You're just a little more tense, a little more conscious that you have to make something happen or people are going to start talking and wondering whether you should be in there. It's more of a pressure situation than playing 4 quarters and being able to relax and enjoy yourself...Kyle and I had a lot of respect for each other...I'm happy Kyle got a chance to show what he could do. I think the best thing was we were able to get along. We supported each other."
His first year at USC: "I was prepared not to play. I just wanted to establish myself and perhaps get a leg up in the competition for the starting spot in 1995...Trying to stay involved in practice, when you've gone from being the guy to a spot where you've just got to kind of look on all the time, was a lot harder than I thought it would be. I tried to stay involved in practice and pay attention. But you start thinking of other places you could be, of other things you could be doing. I even told my mom I shouldn't have left Weber State. She told me to wait, that things would turn around...It's kind of weird how things worked out...I just kept going out there and doing my best."
The difference between USC and Weber State football: "I haven't really noticed a big difference. The players have more speed and maybe they're more intense than I thought. But if there's a big difference, I haven't noticed it yet...I went to Weber State because at the time I didn't have any false delusions that I could play Pac-10 football. I needed a couple years to grow into my body...I grew so fast, that I was so skinny and so awkward."
Why he selected USC: "When I visited the other schools, I could feel the pressure the minute I got there. They were kind of looking for someone to save the team. Here, I got a chance to come in and adjust to things...I don't watch much football on T.V., so I didn't know a lot about USC. I remembered that they had a redheaded quarterback (Todd Marinovich) who couldn't eat Big Macs! Other than that, I didn't know much. I didn't even know USC and UCLA were rivals...I knew about the Apple Cup (the trophy for the winner of the annual Washington-Washington State game), but I didn't know if USC versus UCLA was as big as the Apple Cup...I knew USC was in Los Angeles, but I didn't know UCLA was in L.A.!...When I first got here, I didn't know why the players did the peace sign when the band played. The victory sign. I thought I had joined a cult or something. I didn't know what was going on...But I decided to come to USC because I want to win a national championship...I didn't want to not play for a year. Then I bought a magazine and read an article about how Coach (John) Robinson wanted to win a national championship in 3 years or so. Maybe I wouldn't mind waiting for a year if I was going to get a chance in the next 2 years to play for the national championship."
Leaving Weber State: "I know I hurt a lot of people there by leaving, but it was something I felt I had to do. I felt if I was going to transfer, that was the time to do it...They were in a tough situation (with the precarious financial status of the football program). If I had been a senior, I never would've left. When I thought about my friends there, I kind of felt like I dumped on them. But when I thought about myself, I got excited about my new situation...When they win a game, I feel like I'm off the hook for a week. It's on my conscience a little bit. That school meant a lot to me, it meant a lot to my family. The only reason I buy the Sunday morning newspaper is to check the Big Sky scores."
Originally committing to Washington State before USC: "The day after I told Coach (Mike) Price I'd come to Washington State, he called me. They already had 6 quarterbacks in school and when they heard I was coming, they were all in his office the next day, he said...I didn't want to go there with all those people hating me right away. So it became sort of a mutual decision...We agreed it wouldn't be a good situation, so I called Coach (Mike) Riley and told him I'd come to USC."
His Mormon mission to Italy and Brooklyn: "There are only about 7,000 Mormons in the whole country (of Italy). I don't know if I converted anyone, but everyone I talked to was polite and seemed interested...There wasn't a ton of interest, so I did a lot of community service and tried to break down the stereotypes people have of Mormons, that we have a million wives and wear black hats. I'd play a lot of soccer. Sometimes I'd get out a football and teach people how to throw it...At the end, they let me decide where I wanted to finish up. I had liked Italy, so I wanted to go to a place where they had a lot of Italian people. I remembered 'Welcome Back Kotter.' That was all had heard about Brooklyn."
The toughest player he's faced: "My brother, Tim, is 4 years older than me and a lot bigger. He always made sure to give me an extra elbow or something. He didn't want me to turn out to be a wimpy quarterback."
Comparisons to Todd Marinovich: "My dad was a coach, too, but I grew up on Fruity Pebbles and Quarter Pounders with Cheese."
WHAT OTHERS SAY:
USC offensive coordinator Mike Riley: "Brad is very, very poised. He just kind of plays the game easily...He doesn't feel pressure. He's very mature. He may not be in awe of things in the Pac-10, but he's certainly no country bumpkin."
USC running back Shawn Walters: "He's cool. He makes everyone at ease...That's the way Brad is. When he comes into the game, he tries to calm everyone down. He doesn't feel right unless he gets one smile in the huddle."
Former USC running back Terry Barnum: "He's just super smooth. When the pass blocking breaks down, he doesn't get that 'Oh-my-goodness' look, that 'Please-help-me' look...He'll stick his head in the huddle and say, 'Hey guys, long time no see!'...When a play is signalled in, sometimes he says, 'Hey, I think we're going to score on this one'...The series is like a long dialogue, a story. The 'happily ever after' is the touchdown."
Former USC All-American wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson: "Otton is cool. When you look at him, you see the leadership in his eyes."
Sid Otton, his father and high school coach: "On the football field, Brad's always had a special charisma about him that's made him a good field general. He's always had poise and he's showed that in the games...Brad might come across as real cool and hardly ever stressed, but he's a tremendous competitor."
GAME-BY-GAME WITH BRAD OTTON
|San Jose St.*||20||14||0||.700||182||1||42|
|Texas Tech (CB||14||8||0||.571||146||2||86|