Former NFL, Preds coach Pat O’Hara launches QB Tactical

Pat O’Hara has been immersed in football as a quarterback and coach at various levels for more than four decades.

An NFL Draft pick out of the University of Southern California, O’Hara will continue coaching the intricacies of the game in Orlando after spending the past nine years as an assistant with the Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans.

O’Hara, 55, has launched QB Tactical, a local training and consulting company geared toward teaching, developing and inspiring the next generation of quarterbacks.

“I’ve been a starter. I’ve been benched. I’ve been hired. I’ve been fired,” O’Hara told the Orlando Sentinel late last week. “I’ve broken bones and come back from them, and been cut and been traded. I’ve learned a ton over the years.”

He’s also played on three ArenaBowl championship teams with the Orlando Predators and Tampa Bay Storm during an 11-year career in the Arena Football League.

That was after being drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 10th round in 1991 and spending time with the San Diego Chargers, Washington Redskins and Ohio Glory of the World League of American Football.

Then came his work in the entertainment industry with Game Changing Films, where he helped consult, coordinate and choreograph football movies that include Any Given Sunday, The Waterboy and The Longest Yard.

All of this despite not starting a single college football game because of a severe knee injury that ended his junior season before it even began.

“There’s just a lot of experiences I’ve had,” O’Hara said. “It’s the football wisdom and life wisdom I hope will be able to help a lot of young people as it relates to their age level. My goal is just to help kids out.”

O’Hara started working with young athletes as a high school football assistant during the AFL offseason in 1998 at New Smyrna Beach. He coached at Olympia from 2001-03 and later inspired his own children’s love for the game as they grew up in east Orange County.

Tyler and Trace O’Hara were football teammates at East River High in 2017. Tyler went on to play NAIA football as a quarterback at Waldorf University in Iowa. Trace graduated in December from UCF, where he was a scout-team player at defensive end.

They’ve seen their dad’s coaching carousel play out as an AFL head coach with the Preds and New Orleans VooDoo from 2010-14 and the jobs that followed with the Texans and Titans.

O’Hara worked as an offensive assistant assigned to quarterbacks in Houston before becoming an assistant QB coach in his third year. He spent five seasons as the QB coach in Tennessee until last year when he took over as passing game analyst.

“The preparation has always been with the quarterbacks,” O’Hara said. “I understand the level of what that takes from a leadership standpoint, from a daily routine. Not just the drills itself and the techniques, which I feel comfortable doing, but also the ability to mentor young people all the way from middle school to pro.”

Several former players from his arena league days are now part of the coaching profession, including Preds quarterbacks Nick Hill and Collin Drafts and offensive lineman Chris Jamison, who is an Edgewater assistant.

Hill is entering his ninth season as a college head coach at Southern Illinois. Drafts, who coached Tyler O’Hara as an East River junior, is the head coach at Nease High in Ponte Vedra, where former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow won a state championship in 2005.

“Pat was a player’s coach. Guys loved playing for him because he was super organized and he got it, he had been in our shoes,” Drafts said. “He was always even-keeled during games, even if you made a mistake. He never got riled up and beat you down in those moments. It was, ‘Let’s go on to the next play,’ and I always respected that as a player.”

New Orlando Predators head coach E.J. Burt, a former Preds lineman, has turned to O’Hara for guidance while preparing his team for its return to the AFL. The Predators open the season on the road vs. the Albany Firebirds on Saturday at 8 p.m. on NFL Network.

“I’m proud of all those guys. It’s been cool to see how they’ve grown,” O’Hara said. “I hope some of their interactions with me as a player helped with their development in some way or another.”

It’s a similar mindset he’s taking into the launch of QB Tactical.

“I’ve been playing or coaching the position since I was nine years old and evolving with the trends and changes,” O’Hara said. “There are some real-life skills you need to have as a quarterback. It’s not just throwing the football and completing passes. There’s a whole aspect of leadership and preparation. There’s a whole aspect of being the same guy every day.”

This article originally appeared on Email J.C. Carnahan at