by Greg Doyle, Patriots Daily Staff Writer
Bill Cundiff is a small school quarterback who had a great year for Division II Ashland in Ohio. He threw 24 TDs and just 1 INT and was the player of the year in his conference. He started out at UConn and transferred back to his home in Ohio at Ashland and had a great career there. He’ll be working out at the Ohio State Pro Day and has a chance to be drafted and will be looked at by many NFL teams looking to give a chance to a young, small school quarterback in their camp.
Hi Bill. You started out at UConn and left there, what made you transfer to Ashland?
I left UConn due to the fact that I was homesick. Looking back I know it was not the right move to make and I kind of laugh at why I left from time to time, but it was a good life lesson that I can now reflect on. I know I could have had a good career there, but everything has worked out for me so I try to look forward and not backward.
Did you play any other sports growing up?
I played basketball. When I was young basketball was actually the sport that I excelled in the most. As high school came around I began to get better at football and that’s where most of my attention turned to.
Who was your favorite team?
My favorite team is unfortunately the Cleveland Browns. Being from Akron Cleveland is only about 40 minutes away so I am a big Cleveland fan in every sport. It is tough being a Cleveland fan but I hope it will pay off soon here with the Cavs.
Your offensive coordinator this year, Mike Bath, was a pretty successful college QB and played in Canada and the Arena League I believe. What did you learn from him?
He taught me a lot about the game. He was my 5th QB coach of my college career and I learned a lot from all of the coaches I had. Since he came in my senior year he did not try to change a lot of things about how i play, so he really asked what I felt I needed work on and he helped me to excel in those areas. I am grateful for this because those were areas that i needed to get better at and some coaches sometimes want a player to change how they are as a player in some ways and he did not.
What kind of offense did you run with Ashland this year?
We ran a pro style offense where we were under center a great deal of the game. We would be in the gun sometimes too, but most of the time it would be on known passing downs.
You only had one interception this year, how did you pull that off?
I attest the one interception to how I was brought up as a player. I was taught never to make a throw that you are not sure about, but always be sure where you are going to go. I also think that my accuracy has a good deal to do with it because there are sometimes when you have to fit a ball into a small window, and do it effectively.
Do you remember what happened on that play?
My interception happened on a screen play where one of our running backs swung out to the left. I threw the ball and it ended up bouncing off his hands then his face mask into a defensive lineman’s hands. We redeemed ourselves on the same play later in the game and scored on it.
I believe you are doing your pro day workout at Ohio State? What are you doing to prepare for it?
I am doing my pro day at Ohio State, and right now I am in Charlotte, NC training with a group of guys right now. My agent has had us all down here since the 2nd of January.
I heard Bill Belichick say this year in his opinion accuracy and intelligence were the most important qualities a QB can have, even more so than arm strength, how do you stack up on those two qualities in your opinion?
I feel that these two are my strongest abilities. My numbers alone back this statement up, but I feel to be a good quarterback one must study the game more than he thinks he has to. If you know what the defense is going to give you then sometimes it feels like you’re out their throwing against no defense.
Arm strength has to be somewhat important in the NFL though, do you think you have a strong arm?
Before I got to North Carolina for training I was not sure of my arm strength because I always compared myself to other D2 quarterbacks. Now that I am here though I know I have a strong arm because the guys that I am throwing to and the guys that are working with us have commented on my arm consistently. We have also worked with current and ex-NFL players and they have also said that I have an NFL arm.
I watched some (Facebook) video and it looked like you threw well on the move. Is this something you like to do? Do you agree its a strength of yours?
As a junior I did not throw as well as I would like to on the run, so in the offseason leading to my Senior year that is one area of my game that I worked on. Now I feel that it is a strength of mine.
How hard do you think it’ll be to adjust from a small school to an NFL style offense?
I know that the game will be a lot faster coming from a Division 2 school to the NFL, but just like in high school transitioning to college a quarterback must watch a lot of film and know the offense inside and out. Now i know that it will still be a major adjustment for me, but the more sure I am of the offense and what kind of defenses I will be facing the easier the transition will be for me.
Sometimes its the little things that can help a small school prospect stick, have you ever done any kick holding?
I have never done any in games, but I did some in practice when i was younger, but as I grew as a quarterback my coaches never wanted to put me back there.
Have you followed the success of the New England Patriots in the last decade or so? Any thoughts on them?
I have definitely followed their success and for any NFL fan it is hard to miss. I feel they are one of the best run franchises in the league with a good front office and coaching staff. It doesn’t hurt to have one of the greatest QBs of all time either.
There is an NFL kicker named Billy Cundiff, any relation?
(Laughs.) I get this question a lot, but as far as I know I do not think he is related to me. Cundiff is not a common name though so their might be a chance that we are.
Thanks Bill for talking to us. Good luck in your Pro Day and career.
I appreciate you doing this and look forward to reading the interview.