By JIM REESE
Robert Marve's coach keeps a close eye on his academic and athletic achievements, which suits the Plant standout just fine.
TAMPA - Plant quarterback Robert Marve and his coach, Robert Weiner, have formed a bond that seems to have the 6-foot-2, 195-pound senior-to-be on the road to success.classroom, on the field or in the weightroom is charted and filed in Weiner's office.
"This attention to my well-being is what I needed to achieve structure in my life," Marve said. "I felt I could have been a pretty good player, but Coach has shown me that I had the ability to be a good student, too."
This method seems to be working.
After struggling with a 2.4 grade point average last year, Marve posted a 3.4 GPA in the spring semester and achieved the qualifying score on his SAT needed to meet NCAA standards. Thanks to this improvement, none of the schools recruiting Marve have expressed concern about his academic eligibility.
Marve also said he has matured mentally on the football field. As the quarterback and field leader, the team improved to 9-3 last season with a district crown. The Panthers were 3-7 in 2004.
"He has a total knowledge, not only of his own responsibilities of running the team by analyzing defenses, down and distance, time remaining, etc., but he also knows the blocking assignments of all of his players," Weiner said. "He got that way by analyzing tape over and over and over.
"We visited a football camp at the University of Alabama last week and (Crimson Tide) coach Mike Shula said what impressed him more about Robert than anything else was his ability to go to the chalkboard and break down defenses the coach had put up there."
As solid as Marve was as a junior, he did have a tendency to throw interceptions (11), which resulted in a relatively modest 139.20 QB rating, eighth in Hillsborough County. That, he said, is something he has addressed.
"I think I learned from that," Marve said. "I don't let things like that bother me. I know my team and coaches need and expect me to bounce back from throwing a pick."
Weiner isn't deterred by the interceptions.
In fact, he's quick to offer an example of his signal caller's resiliency.
"Against Robinson, he threw an early interception only to come back and throw two scores just before the half in what was a huge win for us," Weiner said.
Physically, Marve looks nothing like the skinny 170-pounder of 2004. Time in the weightroom and proper dieting habits, also charted by Weiner, have helped him add 25 pounds. And he hasn't lost any speed.
"I feel a lot stronger now and when I release the ball, I can feel more power and greater accuracy going into my throws," Marve said.
To date, Marve has received offers from schools such as USF, Connecticut, Kansas, Mississippi State, UNLV and Wyoming. Florida, Illinois, Iowa State, LSU, Minnesota and Purdue are among those actively recruiting him.
"I realize I've been given a wonderful opportunity," Marve said. "Now it's up to me to go for the real prize, a chance to play in college and get a degree in business."