Louisville Extreme quarterback by day, Daviess County QB Coach by Friday night

June 2, 2021 | 12:04 am

Updated June 2, 2021 | 12:38 pm

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While Dalton Oliver is helping impact the young athletes at Daviess County, he’s also making an impact on another field — specifically at the KFC Yum! Center.

Oliver has come a long way since his start in football in the third grade, but his journey to Daviess County quarterback coach and Louisville Extreme starting quarterback wasn’t exactly clear cut.

After high school, Oliver made his way to Kentucky Wesleyan as a walk-on, but bloomed late earning the starting quarterback job his junior and senior years.

Oliver was on a tear both seasons, throwing for over 30 touchdowns and 3,000 plus yards each season. He said definitely helps when one has a great receiving core led by now New York Jet and six-year NFL wide receiver Keelan Cole.

Oliver said that Cole was an absurd talent, but it was their working relationship on the field that really elevated both of them in their respective games.

“Playing with Keelan was great, obviously,” Oliver said. “Receivers like that make a quarterback’s job easy, but off the field, we had a core group of guys that every summer would stay in town and that’s really where I learned to work. Keelan would always say, he would go to his Instagram with the hashtag and say ‘pro is the goal.’ Once we all decided that’s what we wanted to do we kind of learned how to work as professionals together.”

After leaving Wesleyan, Oliver looked to chase his own professional football dreams, but it didn’t go according to plan.

“After that, I signed with an agent [and] attended a pro day at Murray State,” Oliver said. “I went to Phoenix for a regional combine, where I was in contact with a few teams with my agent. Some teams you know were saying ‘hey we’re not ready yet, if something happens he’s on a shortlist.’ That being said, a shortlist never came.”

So Oliver waited a year without playing trying to find a way to make it to the NFL, before ultimately deciding to go to Europe to get some experience professionally.

This was the first of many stops, as Oliver played seasons in Paris and Serbia before coming back home not sure of what was next. That was until the AFL came calling.

“I played two weeks with a team in Iowa,” Oliver said. “Which all that is kind of an asterisk to me because I came in and it was spur of the moment and it was just unprepared. I still count this as my rookie year in the AFL.”

Now Oliver is five months removed from signing his contract with the Louisville Extreme and has gotten the starting nod in their most recent games.

Since taking over as the starting QB for the Extreme, Oliver has put up some solid numbers.

While he did have two interceptions in his first game under center, Oliver threw for 168 yards and three touchdowns, while also rushing for a touchdown. In his second game, he threw for 138 yards and three touchdowns, avoiding an interception while also rushing for a touchdown.

Daviess County head coach Matt Brannon — who’s known Oliver since he was born because of playing for Oliver’s dad in high school and even coached Oliver at Kentucky Wesleyan for a year — said that he has thoroughly enjoyed watching his growth as a player during his wild journey.

“The coolest part about it is to watch him grow as a player,” Brannon said. “I coached against him in high school when he was a player. They ran an option offense that didn’t necessarily allow him to blossom as a quarterback the way he did when he went to college. And then just to see him take off has been pretty cool.”

It wasn’t until 2019 when Oliver made his way back to the Bluegrass State and was planning to coach with Daviess County while figuring out his next step. 

But leaving the Iowa Barnstormers turned out to be a blessing in disguise, because joining the Extreme allowed him to coach and play — something Brannon is thrilled about.

Brannon said that Oliver reminds him a lot of his dad in how he carries himself and that his players being able to see him achieve his professional football dreams is also extremely cool for the Daviess County athletes.

“We lift weights together with him and a couple of our other coaches,” he said. “He still has that edge to him that you need to have as a player and obviously that helps coaching as well, but he does a really good job. He’s a professional athlete. We tease him all the time, but that’s the way he carries himself. He works as hard at his craft as he makes his players work. So to see him balance the two has been really cool.”

One of those athletes being Daviess County standout quarterback Joe Humphreys, who Oliver has been a key factor in helping his development continually increase.

“Obviously it’s helped tremendously,” Brannon said. “We have two really good quarterback coaches so-to-speak — our offensive coordinator played quarterback as well — but to have somebody that has played the position at the highest levels [and] has had success in college and professionally for Joe has been good. Plus it keeps him in line because the legitimacy of the instruction he is getting is second to none.”

Oliver said that he loves Humphreys and that their already strong relationship grew during the summer in which his initial season with the Extreme had been canceled due to COVID-19. 

The two began to work out together and Humphreys never missed the opportunity when Oliver offered.

“I wasn’t there to coach him, I wasn’t there to push him and I wasn’t there to make him do anything he didn’t want to do,” Oliver said. “If he just wanted to stay how he is then whatever, but not one time did he ever hesitate … And honestly I got so much joy out of his eagerness to learn that it turned into instead of me working out, I was drawing up plans to work him out, to see what I can do to help him improve.

Oliver knew he wanted to make an impact on younger athletes through coaching, but his continued experience professionally has helped make him a better coach through the process of learning with age.

“Practice professionally, even though I may not be Patrick Mahomes and I may not be throwing to Randy Moss, these guys, we’re all still professionals,” Oliver said. “It’s grown men trying to perfect a craft and chase a dream. So you learn the process of how to be professional.”

There was a specific message Oliver was told and he hopes to use that message and inspire the athletes on the field through coaching.

“What was told to me was ‘amateurs do it until they get it right, professionals do it until they can’t get it wrong …’” Oliver said. “So if I can find any way to get a kid to reach their max potential, which a lot of these guys in this locker room are trying to achieve, it’s almost like an iron sharpens iron type of thing.”

All in all, Oliver said that while they are two completely different scenarios, his goals for playing and coaching go hand-in-hand.

“Playing wise like I said, I would like to reach my potential…” Oliver said. “I don’t think anyone would’ve predicted that I would be getting paid to play football… I’m at the point now where I’ve exceeded expectations from others, but I know my loved ones are still proud so I’m going to continue to chase it as long as I’m in love with it. Coaching wise it’s the same thing. I would like to be a great coach and that doesn’t necessarily mean getting wins and losses. Even though it’s about winning, it’s [really] about making a major impact on the kids around me and the community.”

June 2, 2021 | 12:04 am

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