Why Bryce Young’s father says being undersized has actually helped QB

CHARLOTTE – Bryce Young couldn’t get to the end of his introductory news conference on Friday without someone asking about his size.

How fitting. During the NFL draft process that led to the former Alabama quarterback being selected No. 1 overall by the Carolina Panthers, Young’s size – 5-10 1/8, 204 pounds – was the question that wouldn’t quit.

Yet this time, after Young toured his new NFL home at Bank of America Stadium, the question about size came with a different twist.

For all of the perceptions about his stature being a disadvantage, how has it been an advantage?

“You’ll make my dad happy with that one,” Young replied as his parents, Craig and Julie, sat nearby in the front row of the team’s auditorium. “He’s always wanted someone to ask that question.

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“Honestly, I think for me, I don’t know if he’ll like this answer. I always look at it as, again, I only know one way to play the quarterback position. I’ve been this size relative to everyone around me. I don’t really look at it as a advantage or disadvantage. I think I would have to know another perspective to know that.

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“I focus on myself…(Being) the best version of myself day in and day out. I know that size has been something that everyone wants to talk about, but I’ve never thought about it. Never thought about, ‘How am I going to navigate this? What am I going to do differently?’ I only know how to play one way. Disadvantage, advantage, it’s just me and how I know how to play the position.”.

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Craig Young has indeed wondered why the size issue hasn’t been framed as an advantage. He said it’s been a “lazy narrative” in assessing his son’s ability. Sure, Craig may be biased as the father of a Heisman Trophy winner. Yet he has his reasons.

“I always wondered for someone to perform at that level with supposedly the size issue, nobody ever asked what are the advantages?” Craig Young said, speaking to a small group of reporters on Friday. “How was he successful? Instead of saying why he won’t be successful, I always asked why no one asked how he was going to be successful.”.

Young’s father then went out to outline some of the reasons.

“About the quick release,” he said. “About sliding in and out of the pocket, navigating angles, different arm angles and how the game has changed.”.

Bryce Young’s father was also his first coach, way back when he started playing football at seven years old for a YMCA team in Pasadena, California.

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Let Craig tell explain how his son became a quarterback in the first place.

“There was a running back that was faster than him,” Craig said. “It was, ‘Either you’re going to be a backup running back or we have a quarterback position open.’ And so he was like, ‘I’ll try it.’ “.

And with the flashback, Young’s father further explained why size only matters so much.

“Literally the first time he dropped back, he eluded a rush, threw off-balance and completed a pass,” Craig recalled. “We were like, ‘Oh. Maybe we have something here.’ And he’s been a quarterback ever since.”.

At whatever size.

Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Jarrett Bell on Twitter @JarrettBell.

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