A Year in the Development of the Quarterback
By Joe Davis, Passing Coordinator and Quarterback s Coach
Sunday/Monday – After our staff has thoroughly broken down our opponent and spent multiple days developing the game plan, how it is presented and sold to the quarterbacks early in the week may be the difference between a win and a loss.
Tuesday – We will first go over the fundamental scheme and personnel of our opponent. We then will set 4 QB Keys to Victory and let those drive us throughout our preparation for the week. Again, you get what you emphasize. Find the traits that the QB must execute for the team to be successful versus this specific opponent and re-visit them daily. The regular down game plan is 1st presented to the room. The quarterbacks will get detailed notes on every play in the game plan down to the basics of the correct footwork and reads on the simplest zone play. The notes will be put up live on our video server and also handed out in paper copies. They will receive a new set of notes every day as plays and schemes are tweaked throughout the week. We will begin by showing a 6-10 play cut up of the top looks for our first formation. We then will intricately go through the runs, throws, screens and specials for that formation and how/why they fit our opponent. This is an important time for dialogue between the coach and quarterbacks while also knowing you do not have a ton of time on your biggest installation day of the week. We will follow up normal downs by installing the short yardage and goaline plan for the game. During these Tuesday installations, it is imperative to never forget to install the exact footwork, body position and eye discipline associated with each play regardless of the opponent. Great quarterbacks will never take these for granted.
Wednesday – The quarterbacks will come in for a short morning meeting to review the previous day’s practice film. That practice film should be organized in sequential fashion to marry up with exactly how the game plan was installed the previous day. This way they can see the plan begin to formulate and gain a more intricate understanding of why and how we are going to attack our opponent. Prior to practice, we will install the red zone plans along with all of the 3rd down distances. The cut ups created for these situational installations are very important as protection checks and specific route adjustments need to be highlighted and detailed. The quarterbacks must understand that a 50% conversion rate on 3rd down will put our offense among the national leaders. Teaching and re-emphasizing to the quarterbacks that he must always know what his NBT (Next Best Thing) is and have the ability to evaluate IHO (Is He Open?) when making throws has much to do with our success in critical situations.
Thursday – We begin every Thursday quarterback meeting by letting each QB talk about his week (are your parents coming to the game? What classes are giving you trouble? What are your relationships like with your roommates?) This continues to build the trust and respect each player has for himself, his teammates and playing the position. We will review Wednesday’s film, again organized by situational game plan cut ups. The final touches to the game plan will be installed during this meeting such as 2 point plan, 2 minute plan and what we will do when backed up. Because of extended special teams work, we are able to pick up extra individual time during the Thursday practice. We will get back to some basics such as exact footwork sequence on drops, run game reads and a simple read and recognition high/low drill to get their eyes in the correct area. For our final individual period, I will let the starter choose what “spot” throw he wants to work on based on our game plan. The mission of this practice is always “perfect Thursday”. There should be a very businesslike & competitive demeanor to the quarterbacks during the team periods of this practice. The importance of the 3 T’s (Touch, Timing & Trajectory) should be emphasized during these periods.
Friday – Our initial Friday meeting will be spent reviewing Thursday’s practice film. This meeting should be one filled with positivity and encouragement as the QB must be sharpening his focus towards the execution and buy in of the game plan. Depending on travel, we will have the ability to use a Friday walk through to fine tune the opening script and work in any possible looks the QB may not have repped during the week. The final QB meeting will take place following dinner to go play-by-play through the game plan. This is an excellent time for the starting QB to voice his comfort level with certain plays in certain situations. This is also a perfect time for the play caller to finalize his ranking of calls on his call sheet. The meeting should culminate by reminding them of the 4 QB Keys to Victory and how excited you are for them, as their coach, to watch them play outstanding football.
There are many great lesson plans for teaching and developing today’s quarterback, this one has been particularly successful for us. One of the most fulfilling parts of being a football coach is watching your quarterback have fun, play with passion and execute the game plan to a winning effort on game day. It has been my pleasure to share this article with you. Please reach out to our staff anytime!