Marcus Mariota says soccer background prepared him for football

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Marcus Mariota is famous for what he did as a football player at Oregon.

But many of the skills he showed off as a Heisman Trophy winner for the Ducks have a basis in soccer, the first sport he played as a kid.

"I think soccer is a great fundamental sport -- I think it built a foundation for me as an athlete," Mariota said during a visit with The Midday 180 on 104.5 The Zone in Nashville, Tennessee. "Whether that's my footwork now, or relative to just kind of seeing the field and instincts.

"I think soccer is just such a game where you have to understand the complexities and the system of what's going on, and you have to know that before you get the ball. And once you get the ball, you have to react. I think that has helped my growth not only as a football player but as an athlete."

Mariota has worked as the starting quarterback for four of the Titans' five OTA practices so far, missing one to be with key members of the rookie class at the NFLPA's rookie premiere event.

He threw exceptionally well on the move on Monday.

Quarterbacks coach John McNulty said Mariota is always in balance and has his feet under him to be ready to throw, even as he moves.

"He can just make those throws without having to get shoulders, feet, hips, everything aligned to make a throw. He can flick the ball to somebody without getting set, on the move, and it will hit them right in the face," McNulty said.

Tennessee has five more OTA workouts including one Thursday, and then the team's mandatory minicamp from June 16-18.