Medlock still feels at home in new offensive system

Jonathan Jacobskind/staff writer

With a new era of FIU Football with Ron Turner at the helm, Turner and his recently hired staff have begun the process of building their offense. Learning a new set of plays and offensive schemes is a challenge for all quarterbacks, but Jake Medlock has the luxury of avoiding that learning curve.

According to Medlock, he is no stranger to Turner’s new offense. Medlock, a Fletcher High School alumnus from Jacksonville, Fla., ran a similar system in his high school years.

“It’s going to be a very fast paced offense and it’s going be what Coach Turner ran with the Bears when they made it to the Super Bowl,” Medlock said. “It’s also going to be very fun to learn this offense and understand it the way he ran it in the pros.”

The familiarity factor will need to pay dividends for Medlock as the offense struggled to the move the ball in last year’s forgettable 3-9 campaign. FIU registered an average of 383.8 yards per contest compared to their opponents’ average of 402.9 a game.

While many speculated former Head Coach Mario Cristobal’s offense was a bit predictable through his final year at the helm for the Panthers, Medlock was still able to throw for 2,127 passing yards, racking up 13 touchdowns with just two interceptions in his first year as the Panther’s full-time starter in 2012.

_DSC0181 2Along with the offense receiving loads of criticism, Medlock also dealt with a nagging foot injury in a 28-21 loss to No. 18 Louisville in just the fourth game of the season. In his second year as FIU’s starting quarterback, Medlock is poised to have a breakout year for the Panthers because the offense is geared towards his own strengths.

“The offense is more on my own mind-set and my game. I’m going to be making the calls and checks,” Medlock said. “It’s going to be pretty fun. Whatever way we get the win is all that matters.”

After a hectic couple of months of recruiting and searching for assistant coaches, Turner has finally rounded out the remaining pieces to his coach staff. Turner has elected to not hire an offensive coordinator and take over the play-calling duties.

As for the other supplemental assistants, Turner kept part of his hirings within the family tree as he hired both his sons, Cameron Turner will be coaching the quarterbacks and wide receivers while Morgan Turner’s responsibilities lie with the offensive line and tight ends.
Josh Conklin, who most recently served as safeties coach at the University of Tennessee during the 2012 season, will take the reigns as defensive coordinator and Kevin Wolthausen comes from Purdue University to coach special teams.

“They’re a great bunch of guys, intelligent, they know the game,” Medlock said. “I’ve talked to all the coaches and I just can’t wait to learn a lot from them.”

Big Shoes to Fill

The number four is returning to the field this season, but not on the player’s back fans are used to seeing it on.

Last month, Medlock asked former Panther great and now Indianapolis Colts rising star T.Y Hilton, if he could don the coveted number four.

Medlock was granted his wish and will finally wear a number that he’s yearned for since his days playing for Fletcher High School. According to Medlock, the number four is more than just a number as he is trading in his former number 12 to pay homage to a future Hall of Famer who also wore number four.

“I have been wanting to wear number four since high school. It was retired in my high school because we had a great running back that went on to play at the University of Florida and broke all state records in rushing so I wasn’t able to wear [it]. Then I wasn’t able to wear it when I came here because of T.Y,” Medlock said. “I’ve always wanted to wear number four because of Brett Favre. Brett Favre is my idol. I have always wanted to play like him. In every way, I’ve always wanted to be Brett Favre.”