Jeff Carlson watches son, Haden carry QB torch to FIU

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They're near mirror images of one another, but Haden Carlson's fascination with football didn't begin the way it did for his dad.

While Jeff Carlson hoped his son would follow in his footsteps - playing in the NFL - in middle school, Haden appeared he was going to take a different path, playing soccer.

But as he grew older, Haden says it was peer pressure more than parent pressure that made him switch to football.

"To be honest, football is a little more popular than soccer," said Haden. "So kids at my school were pushing me to play other sports and football just came in my path."

Haden's father was happy his son caved to the peer pressure.

"Pleasantly surprised," laughed Jeff Carlson. "I was just hoping that, sooner or later, that would come to fruition."

"Even when he was a little, little boy, he would wear stuff, whether it was my old Buccaneer helmet or shoulder pads. We have pictures of him in a Brad Johnson jersey. He just loved that feeling of being enclosed in stuff. Don't know exactly what it was, but he loved it," he said.

Haden's dad quarterbacked in college and was drafted into the NFL by the Los Angeles Rams in 1989. He played QB for the Bucs and the New England Patriots in the early '90s. 

Now, Jeff Carlson coaches up-and-coming QBs on the weekends, training middle and high school players.

But when it comes to coaching his own son, Jeff Carlson is still just dad. 

"I might be a little more critical of Haden," said Jeff. "I can see what any kid need to improve on and I'm willing to talk to him, There's a lot of time where I had to not go on Haden as much as I would like to because he is my kid and he will treat me differently than he might another coach. Definitely more than another coach."

Haden said, "It's the hardest taking coaching from you dad because you can argue with him and say whatever you want to and basically."

In four seasons playing quarterback at Steinbrenner High School, Haden's has gone from backup to an undefeated starter his senior year. He also earned a full scholarship at Florida International University and currently has the fourth-highest QB rating in the state in class 8-A.

He's couldn't be happier that he switched from soccer. 

"Football is 100% the hardest sport to play and especially at the quarterback position," said Haden. "Being challenged that much and having that much weight on your shoulders. I definitely like that the most about it."

"He's still in love with the game and still is learning a lot," said Jeff. "That keeps you interested, as opposed to 'I've been doing this for 10-years and you're starting to get tired.' I think he's still on the upswing of his ultimate ability."