Experienced QB Timmy Graham leads Darien’s potent offense
Quarterback, Darien Blue Wave
HT/WT: 6-foot-4, 190 pounds
2015 STATS: 133-183, 2069 yards, 26 touchdowns, 1 interception, 147.1 QB rating.
QUOTE: “It’s just about having confidence and understanding the offense more, second year starting is definitely a lot easier than starting as a junior—the defense has slowed down a lot and reads have become a lot easier for me.” — Graham
DID YOU KNOW?: Darien coach Rob Trifone has coached Graham since he was in third grade.
There was no doubt Graham had the physical tools: a 6-foot-4,190 pound frame with an arm capable of making every throw and enough mobility to extend plays outside the pocket. Darien’s passing attack came down to how well Graham could grasp the offense in his second year at the helm.
“Honestly I think its Timmy’s offseason work,” Trifone said of what has made Graham so much more efficient in his senior campaign. “Both in watching film and 7-on-7 passing leagues and tournaments during the summer and stuff like that, he’s finally getting comfortable with the reads that we’ve been teaching him all along.”
Those 7-on-7 passing camps and tournaments were a large focal point when discussing Graham’s success. Playing year-round with his receivers and having the ability to make reads without worrying about the defensive line has turned Graham into a reactionary player, which is exactly what Darien wants.
Those receivers that have practiced with Graham through the offseason have also had a large hand in his success. Often times a short, high-percentage pass will turn into a long touchdown because of the ability of the Darien playmakers in the open field.
“It’s very important,” Graham said of getting the ball to his skill players. “Especially when you have Shelby (Grant, five receiving touchdowns), and Colin (Minicus, 10) and Hudson (Hamill, 4), you throw a four yard pass and they run 85 yards for a touchdown, the coaches are always telling me to get the ball to the athletes.”
While the coaches want to get the ball out of Graham’s hands quickly they came into the season with the upmost confidence in his ability despite the turnovers. Offensive Coordinator and Passing-Game Specialist Mitch Ross said that instead of trying to simplify the offense for Graham he went the complete other direction, expecting the experienced senior to be able to handle even more responsibility.
Graham’s ability hasn’t gone unnoticed with other coaches in the league. In last Saturday’s tilt with Staples Graham tossed three touchdowns in a 27-0 win.
“You can’t win the games that they’ve won without a guy like that pulling the trigger,” Staples coach Marce Petroccio said of Graham. “I was very impressed with his poise and accuracy and ability to make plays with nothing there — we tried to disguise coverages and he sniffed it out; he’s a great football player.”
All the experience, all the positives and negatives from these past two years has prepared Graham for what he’ll see when he runs out of the tunnel at Boyle Stadium in Stamford for the second time with an FCIAC championship on the line.
Yes, he’ll see 10,000 fans evenly split in Darien blue and New Canaan red, he’ll see dozens of media members crowding the sidelines.
But when it comes down to it he’ll be able to take a deep breath and see the coverage schemes of the Rams defense.
“It’s prepared me a lot,” Graham said. “Running out of the tunnel next Thursday I’ll know what to expect, you run out the first time and it’s a shell shock — 10,000 people will still be there but the game will be a lot slower and I’ll have more confidence.”
“His numbers really show he’s one of the best quarterbacks in the state,” Minicus said. “I think he’s the best.”