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New Power QB to serve as his own offensive coordinator

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Friday, Feb. 21, 2014, 10:54 p.m.
 

Tommy Grady is the Power's 13th quarterback over the past four years, but the man who wears No. 10 can identify with a few other numbers.

Like 7, 12 and 18, the respective jersey numbers of Ben Roethlisberger, Jim Kelly and Peyton Manning; quarterbacks given the creative latitude to, for various stretches, call their own plays.

Grady piled up record numbers for the Utah Blaze in 2012, and he did so by serving as his own offensive coordinator, without so much as a wristband with plays on it.

It's that intuition the Power hope will ignite their passing game.

“It's the same exact offense I've run the past five years,” Grady said Friday after the Power opened training camp at Southpointe Fieldhouse in Canonsburg. “I know it pretty well.

“It gives me an opportunity to call everything I'm comfortable with. There's never a play where I don't know where I'm going with the ball.”

Calling plays runs in the family. His brother, Jeff, was the passing game coordinator at Fresno State from 2009-12.

When Tommy Grady left Oklahoma and transferred to Utah, one of the biggest selling points was offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig, who coached Jeff Grady at Fresno State.

“I enjoy the game,” Tommy Grady said. “I want to learn as much as possible. Every day you learn your receivers, learn your players and do what they do best.”

Grady, Power coach Derek Stingley, wide receivers coach Damian Harrell and Grady's record-setting teammate in Utah, wide receiver Aaron Lesue, have been teaching the offense to teammates.

Stingley said there's “a certain system” that exists, so Grady isn't exactly running Kelly's K-Gun or Warren Moon's run and shoot. Eighty percent of the calls will be Grady's, 20 percent Stingley's, the coach said.

Still, “More than likely, he's the play-caller with everything,” Stingley said.

Despite so much to think about, the 6-foot-7, 250-pound Grady doesn't wear a wristband, something Roethlisberger — and most every quarterback — has done.

Everything's memorized, Grady insists.

“I did it in college,” he said. “Obviously when I come to the sideline, I'll look at the play sheets and stuff, see what coverages they're running. But I have most of that stuff in my head and know it pretty well.”

The 2012 AFL MVP will listen to his receivers, but he tends to not make adjustments from play to play, only between series.

The Power ranked last in 2013 in points per game at 40.3. They averaged 241.8 passing yards (11th of 14 teams) and were second to last in pass efficiency at 84.5. But when the Blaze folded after last season, Grady was reassigned to Pittsburgh.

Notes: Three veterans were assigned to the Power, including veteran wideout Alvance Robinson, who has 2,795 yards and 53 touchdowns in four seasons. Defensive linemen Anthony Hoke (18 sacks in three seasons) and Larry Ford, who played college football at West Virginia, are the others.

Jason Mackey is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at jmackey@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Mackey_Trib.

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