WATERVILLE — The most important thing you can teach a young football player is pay attention. That’s the advice of Patrick Pass and Harold Shaw, who each played fullback for the New England Patriots.
“Pay attention to the coach,” Shaw said.
Added Pass: “Kids this age have the attention span of a goldfish, which is not very long. The more you can keep them paying attention, listening to details, the better you’ll be off. We come in and teach them, not the game of football, but to pay attention to what’s in front of you and behind you. That’s the best way to learn, from your peers.”
Pass and Shaw are in Waterville coaching at the Central Maine Youth Football Clinic. The duo will be back at the clinic today, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the North Street Field. Before Friday’s session with 15 kids was cut short by a thunderstorm, the pair helped instruct in a number of drills.
A seventh round draft pick from the University of Georgia, Pass was with the Patriots from 2000-2006, and finished his career with the New York Giants in 2007. His best season was 2005, when Pass ran for 245 yards and caught 22 balls for 227 yards.
“I didn’t really have a defined position,” Pass said. “I did it all, receiver, running back, fullback, whatever I needed to do on the field, that’s what I was going for.”
A sixth round selection from Southern Miss, Shaw played with New England from 1998-2000. A tailback in college, Shaw had to adjust to a position change in the NFL.
“I was 230 (pounds), so they moved me to fullback,” Shaw, who had 18 carries for 35 yards and four catches for 42 yards in his career, said. “It took some getting used to.”
With the passing game taking prominence in today’s NFL, the position of fullback played by Shaw and Pass, a hard-nosed blocker who can run and catch the ball, is rare.
“It’s more of a dinosaur position now. You go back in the day, we were watching guys like Tom Rathman (who played fullback for the 49ers) and (former Charger) Lorenzo Neal. Those were bruisers then,” Pass said. “Now you’ve got these hybrid tight end-fullbacks. Guys that are a lot bigger than a normal fullback, but can still run and catch the ball out of the backfield.”
Pass and Shaw both live in Rhode Island, and stay active with the Patriots Alumni Association.
“We do a lot of stuff like this, a lot of charity stuff,” Shaw said. “We’ll go to schools, read to kids. Just keep in the community.”
Both still follow the Patriots closely. While Shaw hesitated when asked to predict how the team will do in the upcoming season, Pass stuck with the same prediction he made last year.
“This year, I’m going to predict again, 12-4, and the Super Bowl,” Pass said.
Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242