Dick Harmon: Dick Harmon: John Beck likes BYU's hire of the other Beck

Published: Monday, Feb. 18 2013 4:55 p.m. MST

In this 2006 file photo, Brigham Young quarterback Jason Beck passes against Utah State during the fourth quarter of a college football game in Provo, Utah. Bronco Mendenhall's hire of Beck as QB coach is a smart move, according to former BYU quarterback John Beck.

Douglas C. Pizac, Associated Press

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PROVO — John Beck explains Jason Beck.

When Bronco Mendenhall hired Jason Beck last week, it all made sense to veteran quarterback John Beck.

“I think it is one of the great hires by the school,” said John. “Ultimately, Jason’s understanding of the game, his experience and his personality are going to make a huge difference in the quarterback room at BYU.”

The former Houston Texans’ quarterback believes the other Beck will bring a unique perspective — one that is hard to match. Jason Beck was not low-hanging fruit in last week’s finalization of the Cougar offensive staff.

For purposes of clarity, we’ll refer to these two as John and Jason. And, no, they are not brothers, cousins or even second or third cousins.

Jason, says John, was a guy very high in demand. “He had several offers the past month, including the opportunity to be a head coach.” One might assume that job was the vacancy at Jason’s alma mater, College of the Canyons in California when BYU hired Garrett Tugaue, the previous coach. Jason had offers in hand when he held out for the BYU job this past month.

“Jason understands the passing game and training of quarterbacks," said John.

“He has a feel for playing the game. I’ve been around quarterbacks a lot. There is a fine line between working with QBs with the little things like footwork and mechanics. But there comes a time you can only do so much; then you’re just doing drills. You have to cross the line and get playing football and making plays. You need to know where to draw the line because on game day it all comes down to playing ball.”

Drafted by the Miami Dolphins, John has spent time in Baltimore, Washington and Houston. He’s currently a free agent vacationing with his wife and kids in Hawaii. John says he has steadily and consistently discussed football with Jason since both graduated from BYU in 2006.

“Jason knows the mechanics. He has a great feel for the game. I’m impressed by how much he knows. I can talk to Jason as if he was sitting in my NFL quarterback room. He gets it. He’s a really, really smart guy. He understands concepts. They make sense to him. He processes quick.”

John pointed out one trait he believes will be huge for Taysom Hill and other BYU quarterbacks. After the hire, John called Jason and told him how he’ll have to chew out some players. “But in the same breath I told him it is not in his repertoire to do that.”

John has been around a myriad of QB coaches in his career. Some are screamers. While most have huge egos, some have it under control and others do not. John says the demeanor of a QB coach is crucial. The best are teachers, counselors, motivators and instillers of confidence in a meeting, practice and on the sidelines. “When you get screamed at as a quarterback, sometimes you just shut down.”

Jason is “even keel” and that trait will benefit BYU immediately, predicts John.

“I think people will get along with him. He’s one of those personalities that people like to be around. He’s always smiling, always in a good mood. He talks well with people. That is important. I’ve been around a lot of NFL quarterback coaches and the best ones were those who were even keel. You have some who like to yell or scream or lose their temper. But quarterbacks are more likely to relate to someone who isn’t up and down but always about the same. It enables them to learn and gain confidence.”

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