Passas All About Positive Reinforcement

Vince Passas has worked with every great Saint Louis School quarterback NATHALIE WALKER PHOTO

Vince Passas has worked with every great Saint Louis School quarterback

Marcus Mariota has heard them. So have Darnell Arceneaux. Timmy Chang and Jason Gesser Every great local quarterback that Saint Louis offensive coordinator Vince Passas has ever tutored — Bobby George, John Hao, Jeremy Higgins, Joel Lane, Micah Mamiya, Jeremiah Masoli, Tua Tagovailoa and many others — has heard the same message. Every day.

“It’s the five things that will make you better,” Passas says.

Passas knows it’s the little things that can make a quarterback a great leader — not just the throwing motion or the footwork, although Passas teaches that better than anyone else. He knows that the quarterback is the centerpiece of most football squads, the leader who can carry a team.

When that leader has the type of character that Mariota personified during his Heisman Trophy run this past season, solid true-blue character that could propel him to the top of the NFL Draft list in the next few days, then Passas knows his message has been received.

“Marcus had total buy-in,” Passas says, “the kind of character that makes others rally around you. He has such work ethic and a supportive family; he’s the first guy on the field and the last guy to leave. That’s what you want to instill in all your team-mates and they will follow.”

So when Passas teaches today’s high school stars and tomorrow’s future stars at his every-Sunday “Get Better” Quarterback Camp at Saint Louis (where the camp fee each session is only $10), he takes the time to go over his five points. Whether you’re in the eighth-grade-and-under group that goes from 10 a.m. to noon, or in the high school group that runs noon-2 p.m., Passas takes the time to remind you what’s important.

“Our camp works to help you not only to become a better quarterback,” he says, “but also a better person.”

No. 1: Take care of your mom. “Give her a hug before you leave for the day and ask her how her day’s been when you get home,” Passas says. “Think of her as the head coach of your home. Get a calendar and mark down when Mother’s Day is, then mark the next day and the next. Every day should be Mother’s Day in your house.”

No. 2: Make at least two people smile every day. “The more people you make smile, the happier your life will be. Brighten up every room when you enter.”

No. 3: Perform at least one act of random kindness daily. “Don’t expect anything in return, and do it when no one is watching. The more people you help, the more you will be helped.”

No. 4: When you hear the ambulance, give the sign of the cross and give your blessings to someone who needs help. “Be grateful about what you have and care about others who are in need.”

No. 5: Be a team player at home. “Wash the dishes, take out the trash, clean your room, wash your parents’ car. Do it when nobody asks you. Being a great teammate on your team starts with doing it at home.”

Passas keeps the five points positive.

“There was a time when coaches motivated by yelling at you,” he says. “I believe in being positive. The kids are more receptive that way.”

Just ask Marcus Mariota — the message is being heard loud and clear. Get better with Vince Passas.