Biomechanics, Motor Learning and Cognitive Psychology ... Affective, Psychomotor, Cognitive and Physical - the four domains of learning ... all terms and phrases used by co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Mario Verduzco in his daily language of teaching.
Verduzco developed a Quarterback Seminar, which is widely regarded as one of the best quarterback teaching situations in the nation. Each summer, during the month of June, Verduzco employs five seperate seminar sessions, each with a maximum of eight quarterbacks to teach young men from around the country the mental and physical skills and tools required to become an effective and efficient quarterback.
When UNI head coach Mark Farley went looking for a quarterbacks coach, he could not have landed a better technician than Verduzco. Since his arrival at UNI in 2001, Verduzco has spun his magic with the Panther signal callers. In 2001, UNI true freshman quarterback Tom Petrie was named the league's Freshman of the Year and to the league's All-Newcomer team. The Panthers also benefited from the play of backup quarterback Griff Jurgens during the '01 season. Jurgens led the Panthers to a 5-1 record as the starter including a pair of playoff victories over Eastern Illinois and Maine.
After Petrie sustained a season-ending injury in the team's fourth game of the year in 2004, redshirt freshman Eric Sanders took over the role and was named the league's Freshman of the Year when it all was over. He completed 95-of-150 passes for 1,307 yards, setting a school freshman record, and seven TDs.
Under the assistance of Verduzco, Sanders developed into one of the nation's best FCS quarterbacks. Sanders finished his Panther career ranked No. 1 all-time among FCS quarterbacks with a 69.59 percent completion percentage. Sanders completed his Panthers' career as the school's all-time leader in pass completions (714) and total offense yards (9,579). Sanders finished second in the 2007 Walter Payton Award balloting.
Verduzco's teaching extended to a new quarterback in 2008 as Pat Grace took over the reins from Sanders. Grace put together a fine season through the air and on the ground. Grace passed for a team-high 2,041 yards and 14 touchdowns, while rushing for a team-high 11 scores that earned him second team All-Conference honors - in his first year as the starting quarterback.
Not to be forgotten about in 2008 was the play of backup quarterback Zach Davis, who earned league All-Newcomer status despite only starting three games. Davis did the unthinkable as he led the Panthers to a perfect 3-0 record in three conference road starts.
In 2009, Verduzco coached Grace to first-team All-MVFC honors. Grace finished third in the voting for the league's Offensive Player of the Year after he led the conference and ranked fifth in the nation in passing efficiency. He also led the conference in total offense as a dual-threat quarterback, passing for 2,280 yards and 20 touchdowns while rushing for eight more scores.
In 2010, Verduzco developed Tirrell Rennie into a second-team All-MVFC quarterback. Rennie produced the first-ever 1,000-yard rushing season by a UNI signal caller. Rennie finished with 1,291 yards and 14 touchdowns rushing on the season. He also threw for 1,526 yards on the year.
During the 2012 season, Verduzco coached young redshirt freshman Sawyer Kollmorgen after losing stand-out quarterback Rennie to graduation. Verduzco led Kollmorgen to finishing with 2,594 passing yards and 22 touchdowns on the way to winning MVFC Freshman of the Year and Newcomer of the Year honors. Kollmorgen finished second in the conference in total offense averaging 228.4 yards per game and in passing average per game with 222.7. He also finished first in pass efficiency at 141.9. Kollmorgen passed for over 200 yards in nine games this season including a season high 333 yards against Youngstown State.
Verduzco spent five years (1996-2000) working with the signal callers and as recruiting coordinator at Rutgers University in Piscataway, N.J., the last season as head quarterbacks coach. During his tenure at Rutgers, he developed what has been described as one of the best Quarterback Schools in the country, when young players from around the country spent four days learning the skills, both mentally and physically, of quarterbacking.
His prize pupil, Rutgers quarterback Mike McMahon, quarterbacked the Detroit Lions and is a former Quarterback School participant. In total, he has coached four quarterbacks who have gone on to play in the NFL. Added to the list is UNI's Tom Petrie, who signed a free agent contract with the Washington Redskins in April 2005.
Verduzco himself learned the trade from the best, working under head coach Terry Shea at San Jose State and at Rutgers. Shea has moved on to coach in the NFL with the Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins, and most recently with the St. Louis Rams.
Prior to being named at Rutgers, Verduzco was associate head coach, Offensive Coordinator, and quarterbacks and receivers coach at De Anza College in Cupertino, Calif., beginning in 1991, moving up to head coach from 1994-95. While coaching at De Anza, he spent time with arguably one of the best NFL coaches in history as both Bill Walsh and his mentor, Shea, conducted a private NFL quarterback camp at De Anza.
Verduzco began his coaching career at Soquel High School in 1977 before moving on to Gavilan College as Offensive Coordinator and quarterbacks and receivers coach in 1987. From 1990-91, he served as graduate coach at San Jose State before moving on to De Anza.
The cousin of former Illinois and British Columbia record-setting quarterback Jason Verduzco and uncle of former Yale quarterback Bobby Verduzco, he graduated from San Jose State in 1988 with a degree in Human Performance. He received his master's in Biomechanics and Exercise Physiology from SJSU in 1990. That's when he authored the book "Quarterbacks Born or Made? The Biomechanics of the quarterback position: An integrative approach."
Upon his appointment at UNI, Verduzco said, "I think (the Panther quarterbacks) have enjoyed having me come in. I don't know a lot of things, but I know three things - there is a God, I'm not God, and the best thing there is in the world is coaching offensive football and quarterbacks."
Farley said, "Mario coaches quarterbacks like I coach linebackers. He's real detailed. He's in-depth about angles."
Verduzco was born on May 23 in Pittsburg, Calif. His wife's name is Cate and the couple has a 17-year-old son, Charles.
The Verduzco File Coaching Experience
- 2000RutgersQuarterbacks/Recruiting Coord.
- 1996-99RutgersAsst. Quarterbacks/Recruiting Coord.
- 1994-95De Anza CollegeHead Coach
- 1991-93De Anza CollegeAssoc. Head Coach/Offensive Coord./Quarterbacks/Receivers
- 1990-91San Jose StateGraduate Assistant
- 1987-89Gavilan CollegeOffensive Coord./Quarterbacks/Receivers
- 1982-86Soquel High School (Soquel, CA)Pass Offense Coord./Quarterbacks/Receivers/Defensive Coord./Defensive Backs/Linebackers
- 1979-81Soquel High SchoolDefensive Coord./Defensive Backs/Linebackers
- 1977-78Soquel High SchoolDefensive Backs
Education *San Jose State (Bachelor's Human Performance), 1988 *San Jose State (Master's Biomechanics and Exercise Physiology), 1990
- Born: May 23 in Pittsburg, Calif.
- Hometown: Pittsburg, Calif.
- Family: Wife, Cate; son Charles, 17