In the Spokane Shock’s last 13 games, the Arena Football League team has had eight players take snaps at quarterback.
It’s safe to assume current starter Adam Froman, pressed into duty when Erik Meyer was sidelined late in the season opener, won’t be confused with anyone on that list (Meyer, Kyle Rowley, Bill Stull, Casey Hansen, Steven Sheffield and receivers Chas Gessner and Emery Sammons).
For one, Froman was so preoccupied with soccer as a youngster that he had never thrown a football prior to turning out for the sport as a high school sophomore in Santa Rosa, Calif. For another, Froman calls himself a California country boy who drives a lifted Ford truck with “Froshow” on the license plate.
Throw in the fact that he ran a 4.55-second 40-yard time – Andrew Luck timed 4.59 at the scouting combine – and scored 41 on the Wonderlic test – apparently second among 2011 draft eligibles to Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy’s 43, which put McElroy in the “genius” category – and Froman tends to have a unique skill set.
It’s probably why the former Louisville quarterback was able to handle being tossed into the fire when Meyer was injured with less than 2 minutes remaining and Spokane trailing Iowa by two touchdowns. He helped the Shock force overtime, where Iowa prevailed.
“It wasn’t the easiest situation imaginable,” Froman said, “but as a backup quarterback you have to be prepared to play, and the coaches did a good job during training camp preparing both of us.”
Froman’s first start came five days later at San Antonio, again under less-than-ideal circumstances considering the travel and limited preparation time. His first pass was intercepted and returned for a touchdown. Spokane fell behind by two touchdowns but rallied to win 63-60.
“He’s incredibly intelligent, studies the game and watches a lot of film,” coach Andy Olson said. “He was upset (with the interception), but he’s a guy that can shake plays off, learn from it and move on. We scored on the next drive. It’s very important in this game to drop the mistakes. You just can’t make them twice.”
Froman was lightly recruited out of high school, in part because he directed a Wing-T offense for a couple of years. He went to Santa Rosa Junior College, first backing up Greg Alexander, who succeeded Colt Brennan as Hawaii’s starting quarterback, and then earning junior college All-America honors as a sophomore. That sparked recruiting interest from several West Coast schools, including a couple in the Pac-12, but he opted for Louisville.
“I wanted to get away,” the 6-foot-4, 220-pound Froman said. “I was 21 years old. Louisville just felt right, especially with its quarterback tradition.”
Froman passed for nearly 3,000 yards and 17 touchdowns in two seasons, but his senior year was cut short by a torn quadriceps muscle. He earned a degree in communications while making the Big East All-Academic team.
After brief stints with the Atlanta Falcons and Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Froman came to Spokane to enhance his long-range goal of returning to the NFL.
But first things first. He’ll probably be Spokane’s starter for several weeks while Meyer is on injured reserve. He’s getting married next month – he said it won’t interfere with Spokane’s game schedule – and he’s taking a crash course in the nuances of the arena game.
“The biggest change is angles,” Froman said. “A lot of people don’t think about the geometry involved in football. When you’re throwing a corner route (outdoors) you know when to plant your foot, you don’t think about it, and your arm already knows where to put it. You get on smaller field and you have to change that muscle memory.
“That’s the thing I’ve had the most issues with, changing what’s been hammered into me the last eight years. Reps are the biggest thing and I’ve been getting a lot of reps.”
Froman’s next assignment is against division rival San Jose, which visits Friday night.
“The goal is to get back to the NFL and the best way to train in the offseason is to play, reading live defenses and throwing to live receivers,” he said. “That’s the grand plan behind all of it.”