AFC South reporter
Parks Frazier’s training journey can be summed up by an all-consuming preparation.
At Samford University, as an unpaid defensive quality control assistant in 2015, Frazier spent March nights with close friend and fellow coach Spencer Phillips redoing recruiting boards and draft book templates game so that they were easier to use for the technical staff months later in the fall. They worked so late that sometimes they slept in the office.
When Frazier became Frank Reich’s assistant to head coach in 2018, he regularly sought advice from Phillips, then played a similar role with the Eagles assisting then-coach Doug Pederson. The calls would come in at midnight or 1 a.m., with Frazier still in the office.
“Would you do this for Doug? Did you make it easy for him? How could I do this for Frank? How can I do this for the quarterbacks?”
“He’s the type of person that if there are 100 stones to turn,” Phillips said, “he’ll turn (all of them) twice to make sure he’s got everything.”
That mentality has been part of his rapid rise, helping to lead to success in an unprecedented situation.
Frazier, the Colts’ passing game specialist and assistant quarterbacks coach, guided the Indianapolis offense to one of its best performances of the season in Sunday’s 25-20 win over the Raiders, just days after being designated as a player for the rest of the season. by interim coach Jeff Saturday.
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At just 30 years old, and in his game debut at any level, Frazier’s game plan helped a struggling unit to its most balanced performance of the season. For the first time in 2022, Indianapolis had over 200 yards passing and rushing. The team also averaged a season-high seven yards per play.
While the entire offensive coaching staff stepped up in a tumultuous week, in which Reich was fired, Frazier pulled it together in a win to boost the franchise’s morale.
“He called a fantastic game of football,” he said Saturday after the game. “Understanding what the team’s needs were at that moment … When you think about the plays that were there to make, they were there to make them. That’s all you can do from a coaching perspective: put it in the hands of the players, allow them to execute and those guys executed really, really well.”
Why did Saturday choose him? It’s worth noting that Colts quarterbacks coach Scott Milanovich declined first dibs. But Frazier is the longest-serving staff on the offensive side of the ball, moving from Reich assistant (2018-19) to offensive quality control assistant (2020), assistant quarterbacks coach (2021) and adding a specialist in game passes in his role. this season He has experience despite his youth.
Frazier’s knowledge of the Colts offense is unmatched.
“I’m never going to say I have all the answers because I don’t think anybody has all the answers and that’s what I told the guys, ‘However, I’m going to work my tail off to find them.’ .'” Frazier said last week. “That’s all I can do is say I’m going to give you my best. That’s what I bring to the table.”
What he also brings is future coach material, according to those who know Frazier best.
One of the first things they point out? His intelligence.
He is a computer science major from Murray State, where he played quarterback for three seasons (2012-14). He’s “brilliant,” Phillips said, at understanding systems.
Buster Faulker, currently the offensive quality control coach at Georgia, calls Frazier “the smartest human being I’ve ever been around.” Frazier was his right-hand man in their time together at Middle Tennessee State and Arkansas State. Faulkner was an offensive coordinator at both schools; Frazier was a defensive quality control assistant at MTSU, an offensive graduate assistant at quarterbacks at Arkansas State. But Faulkner gave ideas to Frazier, fresh out of college at the time. He always seemed to be on the “cutting edge,” Faulkner said.
At MTSU in 2015, before a game against Marshall, Frazier proposed a play, a vertical switch concept with two tight ends, to Faulkner. The Blue Raiders ran it and scored a touchdown.
Early in Frazier’s tenure with the Colts, Faulkner saw Indianapolis use a similar play to score a touchdown on tight end Jack Doyle.
Faulkner asked him about it.
“He said, ‘yeah, I actually used our Middle Tennessee setup tape and showed (the Colts) how we did it,'” Faulkner recalled. “I thought it was pretty cool.
“He’s the smartest guy in the room, but he doesn’t act like it.”
Beyond his X’s and Os’ knowledge, Frazier is also praised for his likability. He is loyal. He is calm by nature, even in the chaos intertwined with football. He doesn’t raise his voice or curse very often, but still gets his message across effectively.
“His ability to relate to people, for his age in any setting and to do things the right way and come across in the right way, is something you don’t see very often at that age young,” Faulkner said. “He can get a message across to any audience and I think that’s really important in coaching. He can put it down. He can talk to anybody.”
Being educated in football, Frazier compares his coaching mentality to the “next man up” mentality that is poured into players. He prides himself on being ready even when it’s not his time.
As Reich’s assistant, his approach was, “If I’m the head coach, what would I do?” As an assistant quarterbacks coach, he saw Milanovich and former offensive coordinator Marcus Brady think, “What would I do if I were in his position?” Watching Reich as an interlocutor, he thought, “How do I want to do that?”
Approaching the game that way, Frazier said, is part of growing up.
“Obviously, you don’t have that experience of doing it,” Frazier said last week, “but when you take that ‘how would I do it?’ approach and put yourself in that position, it gives you the ability to be ready” .
Opportunity has found preparation.
Ben Arthur is the AFC South reporter for FOX Sports. He previously worked for The Tennessean/USA TODAY Network, where he was the Titans beat writer for a year and a half. He covered the Seattle Seahawks for SeattlePI.com for three seasons (2018-20) before moving to Tennessee. You can follow Ben on Twitter at @benyarthur.
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