McNatt impresses at camp
Charles Prince, Hartselle Enquirer
Falkville's junior varsity quarterback Jonathan McNatt had the experience of his lifetime recently. McNatt attended the Atlanta Falcons youth football camp at Georgia Tech University from June 26 to July 1. McNatt was one of over 400 boys who attended the training camp.
The camp ran from 6:45 a.m. until 8:30 p.m. each day. The last day of the camp featured a game with all campers participating.
McNatt says he learned much from the experience and thinks the coaching tips will improve his play.
"There were some great coaches there," McNatt said. "They taught the quarterbacks about footwork, quickness, ball handling techniques and how to throw the ball farther."
McNatt says his throws improved by 10 to 15-yards after following the quarterback coach's advice.
"They told me that three things can help you throw further," McNatt said. "They showed us that by pointing your shoulder, chin and foot at the target you can throw longer passes. It worked every time I tried it. I know it's the right way for a quarterback to throw."
McNatt learned his footwork was not as good as it should be.
"I was doing it all wrong," McNatt said. "I learned the right way to take a five-step drop. They taught us to take two big steps and three small ones. On the three-step drop we learned to take one big one and two smaller ones."
McNatt improved so much during practice that he was chosen as the starting quarterback for the camp ending game. The game, known as the Exhibition Bowl, was McNatt's chance to showcase his new skills. He didn't disappoint his coaches, as he totaled 150 yards in total offense and threw two touchdown passes.
McNatt alternated with another quarterback every seven or eight plays, so his numbers become more impressive when you consider he only played about half the game.
Another benefit of the camp for McNatt was the friendships he made with his teammates.
"My roommate was a guy named Peter," McNatt said. "He's a linebacker. We exchanged cell phone numbers and plan on keeping up with how each other's football season is going this year."
McNatt, 14, will enter the eighth grade this fall at Falkville. He is the starting signal caller on the Blue Devil junior varsity team. Jonathan and his teammates suffered through an 0-8 season last year, his first on the JV team. He thinks the things he learned at camp will help his play this coming season.
"It really built up my confidence," McNatt said. "I'm hoping we'll do better this year. I know I'm a better passer and I'm a lot better throwing on the run now. I think I will be a better quarterback this season."
McNatt says this year's camp won't be his last. "It was a perfect camp for me," McNatt said. "I would recommend it to any player my age. I plan on going again next year."