Healthy and running a familiar system, quarterback Jake Medlock took the reins of the offense in preparation for the 2013 season.
By Pete Pelegrin
FIU junior quarterback Jake Medlock has run the pro-style offense before but that was five years ago at Jacksonville Fletcher High. There Medlock, as a two-year starter (he sat out his senior season due to injury), threw for more than 4,000
yards and 42 touchdowns in the offensive scheme.
However, this month in camp Medlock has had his ups and downs running the offense. That was until the latter part of Wednesday’s practice. During the scrimmage portion of practice, Medlock orchestrated a 70-yard touchdown drive by meticulously picking apart
the defense. Taking what the defense gave him, Medlock completed a variety of short and intermediate passes to move the offense to the defense’s 6 where he connected with Lamarq Caldwell for a touchdown.
“I felt real comfortable in the scrimmage part today,” Medlock said. “On that drive it was probably the most comfortable I’ve felt all camp and I think it showed. [FIU] coach [Ron] Turner has done a great job installing the offense and helping me along the
way. I feel right at home with this offense.”
It’s a good thing Medlock feels like he’s back home in Jacksonville with the new FIU offense because he will be counted on to be the unquestioned leader of the unit with the departure of leading rusher Kedrick Rhodes and the uncertain return of leading receiver
Knowing the situation of the offense entering this season, Medlock honed in on his preparation throughout the spring and the summer. To start Medlock dropped 27 pounds from last season’s playing weight of 235 pounds to check in at a slimmed down 208.
Although Medlock will not be asked to run in the pro-style offense as much, if any, as he did in the FIU spread offense the last two years, he feels better carrying a lighter load and expects to be healthier. Last season Medlock dealt with a nagging foot
injury that kept him out of three games and the second half against Louisville.
“I did a lot of running and cardio at home in Jacksonville,” said Medlock, who threw for 2,127 yards and 13 touchdowns last season. “When I got back on campus I worked out in the weight room strengthening my core and a lot of shoulder workouts to get ready
for the season.”
With FIU receivers and running backs having to master a new offense, Medlock gathered the offensive skill players for players-only workouts at FIU Stadium during the summer before camp opened in August.
“I watched a lot of film from spring and of NFL quarterbacks who run this offense,” Medlock said. “I wrote down the scripts myself. We went out there, just us players, and went over every play. We perfected every play.”
In addition to guiding a new offense, Medlock is being asked to dabble in punting during camp. Like the pro-style offense, punting is nothing new to the Panthers quarterback. At Fletcher High, Medlock was not only the starting quarterback but also the punter.
Judging by his punts during camp, Medlock has done this before with 55 and 60-yard punts and has gotten lengthy rolls when he rugby-style punts. Medlock gets his strong leg from his father, Ricky, a former Jacksonville University goalkeeper and the offensive
coordinator at Fletcher since 1997. While he was a Dolphins goalie, Ricky Medlock played at FIU several times.
“When my dad first came down to FIU in my freshman year he said this is the same exact FIU soccer field he played on back in the early 1980s,” Medlock said. “My dad really helped me with punting, but I’m not expecting to be the punter. The [FIU] coaches
just want me to start working on punting just for different looks.”
The Medlock family punting connection continues with Jake’s younger brother, Sam, an FIU freshman long snapper, who is competing for the starting job with Brandon Taylor. Jake and Sam never played together because when Sam was a freshman at Fletcher, Jake
was a senior, who missed the season due to injury.
Sam prepared for his first college season by going through 6 a.m. workouts over the summer back in Jacksonville. At times Sam was joined by the youngest of the Medlock brothers, Luke, a quarterback at Fletcher. Jake is proud that Sam took it on his own to
get ready for his freshman season. But the FIU freshman credits big brother for helping to instill the work ethic.
“It’s a grind getting through camp,” said Sam. “More the mental aspect than the physical, but I’m making it. I’m loving FIU and I’m loving this team. Jake always pushed me to get better growing up. He was tough on me but he always had my back.”