Chapter 7 - Drills For the Quarterback And Coach
At has been our belief that only a few coaches know how to train a quarterback. These drills will prove an excellent guide for obtaining a standard performance from quarterbacks. The drills within this chapter are neither complicated nor do they require a great deal of time. They should be so handled that they will occupy only that period allotted to group work in the early part of the season. Considerable stress should be laid upon getting the quarterback ready to handle his attack for the first game.
Great care should be exercised to avoid overcoaching. At every stage of the game the quarterback should be encouraged to make his own decisions. Everything possible should be done to develop his initiative and confidence. After the season is two or three weeks old the quarterback's coach should retire to a position of friendly criticism and encouragement. Only in this manner can the quarterback be trained to develop self-reliance and initiative.
1. Voice And Bearing Drill
A good voice is an exceedingly desirable asset. In this drill the quality of the voice plus field position is stressed.
(1) In this drill, a team or skeleton team of a backfield and center is assembled either from substitutes or quarterbacks, and the quarterback candidates are required to call formation and signals. A candidate may shift the team and change his field position slightly between each play.
(2) The coach, by example or by constructive criticism, shows the quarterback what he actually wants called. In this drill, the quality of the voice tone should be brought out. The quarterback is like an officer in command of troops and must be able to get his commands across in the proper manner.
2. Irregular Alignment Drill
The purpose of this drill is to provide training for one quarterback in analyzing irregular spacing in defensive alignment.
Another quarterback drill is handled as follows: Two complete teams, either first and second, or, if more convenient, third and fourth, are assembled. The quarterback is required to use flankers on every play and call the signal for the most advantageous play resulting from defensive players being out of position. The coach should require the defensive players to take improper distances and intervals in order to develop the quarterback's judgment. For instance, a guard at times should leave an excessive gap between himself and the tackle, or a corner back should move up close to the line. The quarterback should be required to call the play immediately. After the quarterback has developed a few days under this training, he should be required to pick flaws where he can find them by close analysis of the defense.
3. Scoring Drill
The purpose of this drill is to provide the quarterback training in calling plays within the 10-yard line.
The quarterback should have a daily drill at scoring touchdowns. This scoring drill is handled by requiring the quarterback to take positions in the opponent's territory while at either group or individual drill, and then to call the proper plays for scoring. The coach may call the down and distance. After the quarterback has developed, however, he will make his own decisions.
4. Paper-And-Pencil Drill
The object of this drill is to provide training for the quarterbacks in the off-season.
Quarterbacks should be worked during the off-season of the year off the field of play with a blackboard or pencil and paper. The coach should draw a miniature field of play, locate the ball thereon, assume the down and distance, and require the quarterback to call the formation and signal. In this manner, the quarterback can be trained and ready for spring practice or fall competition.
5. Voice Drill
The purpose of this drill is to provide practice for all three quarterbacks in voice inflection.
A clever quarterback can produce determined, concentrated play by inserting those qualities into his voice. He can also produce fire and dash from certain manners of command. Unhappily, he can, by an unfortunate use of his voice, also bring about nervousness and start his men before the ball is in play. This drill may be practiced with only four men—three quarterbacks and a center. One candidate should play the quarterback position, the other two candidates play right and left halfbacks.
6. New Play Drill
The purpose of this drill is to acquaint the quarterback and the squad with details when a new play is presented.
Whenever the squad is given a new play, the coach should first explain its execution, going over the assignment of each man, the purpose of the play, and the circumstances under which it can best be used. The last item should be stressed first with all the quarterbacks and then with the team, either on the blackboard or on the field.
7. Talking-In-The-Huddle Drill
The purpose of a drill of this type is to enforce complete attention and silence when the quarterback enters the huddle.
Upon entering the huddle, if the quarterback hears any talking he does not call the play. He waits until there is absolute silence before making his call, even if it results in a penalty for taking too much time. There may be better drills to discipline a squad of Mexican generals, but this one has proven effective.
8. Self Defense Drill
The purpose of this drill is to give the quarterback a chance to study defensive alignments.
A serious fault of most quarterbacks is calling signals with heads "buried" and seldom studying the defensive alignment of the opposition. Many times in practice not all of the quarterbacks are occupied. Occasionally have one of these quarterbacks attend the practice sessions of the defensive line. In this way, the signal caller can secure valuable insight into defensive strategies.
9. Defensive Strategy Map
The purpose of this drill is to provide defensive training for the quarterback so that he can call plays intelligently.
Many coaches begin teaching strategy to their quarterback with a discussion of offensive. Actually, offensive football is meaningless unless the field general understands the basic alignments of defense. Make a strategy map of defenses that might be encountered in various zones of the field. This is a fine drill. The quarterback must understand what he is attacking.
10. Passing Chart Drill
The purpose of this drill is to test the quarterback on his passing offense.
(1) Use an 8.5 x 11 sheet or card as illustrated.
(2) It is good practice to have the field general put down the play numbers in the zone where he thinks passes might be completed.
(3) See diagram 41.
11. Post-Practice Drill
The purpose of this drill is to train the quarterback in resourcefulness, initiative, confidence, and imagination.
Much strategy may be taught in odd hours. This may be done after practice by eating with the quarterback at the training table, by walking with the quarterback from the locker room to dinner, by walking or riding with the quarterback to his rooming house. On trips, the coach and the quarterback may ride together. This keeps the quarterback constantly thinking football and permits the coach to offer constructive criticism.
OOODOO O X X
12. Game Chart Drill
This is a postgame summary to analyze the tactics employed.
A. Play used.
B. Ball carrier.
C. Field positions.
D. Yards gained or lost.
E. First downs.
H. Passes attempted and completed.
I. Yards gained passing.
J. Punts: number, distance, and average.
By studying this chart, the mistakes of the scrimmage or the previous game can be noted and possibly avoided in the future. If film is not available, this chart can be substituted.
13. Defense Drill
The object of this drill is to provide written homework for the quarterback.
Give the quarterback one examination each week. Outline five or six defenses against your offense and the quarterback will be required to take these diagrams home, study them, and choose the plays of your own system that could possibly gain ground against these various defenses.
14. Play Assignment Drill
The purpose of this drill is to test the quarterbacks in offensive assignments.
The quarterbacks are required to diagram the duties of every man on every play. This will help when a man in the line reports some peculiarity in alignment of an opposing player. It will simplify play selection for the quarterback. Mimeographed assignment sheets are helpful.
15. Chart Drill
The purpose of this drill is to replay and analyze the previous game played.
Have quarterbacks draw charts of the games played and go back over them studying what was done and what should have been done.
16. Newspaper Drill
The purpose of this drill is to make the quarterback alert by studying newspaper accounts of the games.
By careful study of the newspapers a quarterback can often familiarize himself with many of the characteristics and weaknesses of players and of future opposing teams.
17. Rating Plays
The object of this drill is to provide training for the quarterback in evaluating the offense.
Have the quarterback list all of his plays. This list should be revised from time to time, eliminating weaker plays and the plays not used. At the end of the season put on a smaller card a short list of successful plays and the game in which they were used.
18. Strategy Chart
The object of this drill is to offer assistance to an inexperienced quarterback.
(1) In this drill, the coach maps out a chart and requires the signal caller to memorize it. He is to call only those signals which are placed in a corresponding zone of play on the field.
(2) When this plan is followed, all initiative is taken fromthe quarterback and he becomes a mechanical signal caller who completely disregards the play situation and calls his signal regardless of the defense. It just isn't reasonable to follow any set rules or system of generalship, no matter how green the quarterback may be. The only reasonable way to advance the ball is through the weakness of the opposition. Plays that were highly successful last week may not work at all in this week's game. It isn't always possible to determine in advance what will be the weak spots in the opponent's defense. Therefore the strategy chart should not be used unless absolutely necessary.
19. Recognition Drill
The object of this drill is to give the quarterback training in offense and defense recognition.
Show previous-game movies to the quarterback and make him call the defense, the play, the yardage, the down, and the tackier as quickly as possible. Tell the quarterback not to make a conscious effort to see individual items, but rather to scan rapidly the objects under observation. He should try to make this scanning automatic. The quarterback should take this recognition drill as soon as the game movies are available. The information received from showing of the movies is charted and serves as an inventory of the previous game.
20. Two-Minute Drill
The purpose of this drill is to provide the team scrimmage practice against the clock.
Place an offensive team 10 or 15 yards from the goal line and tell them that there are one or two minutes remaining in the half or until the end of the game. They cannot stop the clock. It is good practice for them to think and act quickly in getting in and out of the huddle and in trying to score before the time is up. It is wise to do this often in scrimmages.
21. Checker Drill
The idea behind this drill is to get the quarterback thinking ahead by use of objects.
It is possible to teach generalship on a table with checkers.
22. After-Dinner Drill
The purpose of this drill is to teach generalship where it should be taught.
My personal preference has always been strongly in favor of teaching generalship on the field itself. Take an odd half-hour in the evening or at any other convenient time to meet quarterback candidates on the field. Begin with a broad theory. Divide the field into three zones, called for convenience defensive zone, neutral zone, and enemy zone. Defensive territory lies between our own goal and 35-yard line. Neutral grounds run from there to the enemy 3 5-yard line.
23. Observation Drill
The purpose of this drill is to make the quarterback alert in scrimmage.
When your quarterback is not in the practice scrimmage, have him stand by and study his teammates. By doing this, he may notice, for example, that the right tackle has exceptional ability when blocking to his right but is a little weak when operating to his left. Some time in a game when things are mighty tough it might pay touchdown dividends to have such information at his fingertips. At every opportunity have him think in terms of what he would do under various game conditions. Who is the best pass receiver? Who is the fastest starting back? Who runs the hardest? All of these little things will help the quarterback immeasurably if he has them in a notebook before the first game of the season. A coach can teach for hour after hour, but once the 11 men go on the field, their success lies completely in the hands of the man calling the plays.
24. Scout Drill
The purpose of this drill is to provide the quarterback with detailed scout information.
Prior to any game the quarterback should meet and inquire from the scout as to the defensive merits of the opponents. Every bit of information he obtains should be carefully digested and catalogued for future reference. Any little tips that the quarterback can get before entering a contest should be thought over thoroughly and tested fairly early in the game.
25. Voice Drill
This drill provides the quarterback with extra work to improve his voice.
Much can be done by ambitious candidates to improve the quality of the voice and the manner of calling the signals. As in most things, practice is the best teacher. Quarterbacks should drill themselves in calling signals aloud when away from the field. Drill at home in front of a mirror. They should work for clearness and avoid slurring. Each syllable should be bitten off so that it stands out sharply. Cultivation of a definite rhythm is helpful. Above all, the field general must give the signal as if he meant it.
26. Strategy-Session Drill
The idea behind this drill is to allow all the quarterbacks to meet and analyze various tactical situations.
There should be special meetings of the quarterbacks and the coach, in which the coach sets up various tactical situations and asks for the best play for the occasion. Frequently there are several suggestions. All should be listed, and then followed by a frank and open discussion of the merits of each suggestion. This not only serves to associate the correct play with the given situation but furnishes an excellent analysis of each play. It should prove helpful to the coach as well as to the quarterbacks if the players are led to express themselves frankly and fully.
27. Signal Drill
The purpose of this drill is to provide tactical training for the quarterback and one team when running signals.
One thing all quarterbacks can do is always to play the field during signal drill, i.e., whenever the team runs signals, the quarterback can suit the play to the position on the field in which he finds himself; or better still, maneuver the team to the spot from which he wishes to call a certain play. This practice can be made even more valuable, and more fun for the quarterback, if he uses his imagination to picture all sorts of situations and calls his plays accordingly.
28. Probable-Defense Drill
This drill is to provide the quarterback practice in running plays against probable defenses.
Monday or Tuesday have the quarterback diagram defensive alignments expected from opponents to determine which plays would be best. He should then work these plays into a series. This series would then be stressed during the practices preceding the game.
29. Chart And Diagram Drill
The purpose of this drill is to allow the quarterbacks to get strategy more firmly in mind.
Use charts and diagrams to clear up hazy points. Have a special room or bulletin board for quarterbacks only. Put diagrams on a blackboard and let the boys who are interested view them.
30. Special Play Drill
The purpose of this drill is to associate the quarterback with certain plays to be used in various areas of the field.
Quarterbacks must learn to associate certain plays with certain spots on the field. This is particularly true of special plays and fancy plays, and to a lesser extent of all plays. To help form these associations, the quarterbacks should be given charts of the field and asked to write the signal for each play upon the spot from which it should normally be expected to work best.
31. Walking Drill
The purpose of this fine drill is for the coach and the quarterbacks to walk and talk strategy.
The best place to teach generalship is on the practice field. The coach should make it a practice to walk over the playing field with the quarterbacks, stopping at various places, and saying something like this: "It is the middle of the second quarter; score, nothing to nothing; weather conditions just as they are now; we get the ball here first and ten. What would you call?" If the quarterback answers the right play, then go on to something else. If he calls the wrong play, stay right on that same spot until the situation is clear in his mind. This is an excellent drill.
32. Metronome Drill
The purpose of this drill is to develop uniform rhythmic cadence among the quarterbacks.
(1) This drill should be practiced with all the quarterbacks, first one at a time and then all together. Use a metronome as a measuring instrument for each candidate's voice. Set the metronome for the tempo you desire. In this drill insist on quality of voice tones and sharpness.
(2) See illustration on page 63.
33. Touchdown Sequence Drill
The purpose of this drill is to prepare for the inevitable and to help build morale.
(1) Place the football anywhere on the field and inform your captain and quarterback that they have 30 seconds to score. They are behind by six points.
(2) Call out the time, yards, distance, etc. It is good practice for both offense and defense.
34. Scoring Zone Drill
The purpose of this drill is to simulate game conditions and prove to the team that 30 seconds is sufficient time to score.
1. Place the football on 20-yard line in the scoring zone and inform the quarterback that he has 30 seconds to score.
2. Another method is to place the ball on the 5-yard line in scoring territory and order the offensive team to see how many times it can score in 30 seconds.
3. Still another method is to place the ball on the 5-yard line and inform the offensive team that it has 15 seconds to score.
4. Again, place the ball on the 25-yard line and inform the offensive team it is behind 7-6 with 15 seconds to play. This provides good field goal practice under game conditions.
35. Concluding The Signal Drill
The purpose of this drill is to make time a factor so that the final part of the signal drill can be a training period for the quarterback.
1. When concluding the signal drill, place a time limit on the quarterback.
2. Inform the quarterback he is behind by four points with two minutes remaining. He cannot call time out.
3. He may employ his touchdown sequence in this situation.
36. Quarterback Testing Drill
The object of this drill is to test the quarterback's knowledge of his team's offensive assignments against both odd and even defenses.
1. Use an 8.5 x 11 examination sheet or card as illustrated.
2. The sheet is divided into thirds, listing the anticipated defenses of your next opponent.
3. The quarterback can pencil in the offensive assignments of all eleven men against the expected defense.
4. See Diagram 42.
37. Blackboard Drill
This is a foundation drill in generalship. The object is to train the new quarterbacks in calling plays against segments of a specific defense.
1. Start to train the quarterback at the blackboard by using only the interior linemen on defense.
2. Place two guards on defense, simulating a six-man spacing.
3. Have the quarterback select plays that hit over the offensive center's area.
4. Have him select plays that will go directly outside of these men in the event they are pinching or stunting to protect this area.
5. Next, place a defensive man over the center and a line backer behind him in the 5-3 defense.
6. Again, have him select plays that go to either side of these men. If they are stunting, forming a six-man defense, indicate the plays he should call.
7. Then add a third defensive man, simulating a 5-4 defense, and have the quarterback select the correct plays when they are playing straight and when stunting.
8. Add two more defensive men and repeat the same procedure.
9. Next, have the quarterback select plays using only one-half of his offensive line.
10. Then add the other half of the line and repeat the procedure.
11. This drill should give the inexperienced quarterback a clear picture of basic generalship against standard odd and even defenses.
38. Danger-Zone Drill
The object of this drill is to provide practice in generalship in getting out of the hole.
1. This should be a "must" drill once a week, because a mistake in this zone can mean a touchdown.
2. Place the offensive team on its own 5-yard line with a first and 10 situation and the score tied.
3. Have the quarterback review his generalship to get out of this zone.
39. Scoring Zone Hustle Drill
The purpose of this drill is to provide running and offensive timing along with motivation. This is a good "pep" drill for morale if not overdone.
1. Line up the entire team anywhere in the scoring zone with out opposition.
2. Have the team spring from the huddle and run the play called with everyone sprinting across the goal line.
3. Do this approximately 10 to 20 times and get everyone making a lot of noise but still concentrating.
40. Defensive Film Loop Drill
The purpose of this drill is to use already-prepared defensive film loops to train the quarterback.
1. Don Canham's "Champions on Film: Set No. 1—Defen sive Formations" consists of 27 different alignments in slow motion, used against all offensive formations.
2. Each loop has a game clip to show that specific defense in action in a collegiate contest.
41. Quarterback Testing Sheet Drill
The purpose of this drill is to test the quarterback's generalship against three anticipated defenses.
1. Another method of testing your quarterback for a particular game is to use an 8.5 x 11 examination sheet. The sheet is divided into thirds, listing the major anticipated defenses used by your next opponent.
2. The quarterback may test himself and be tested by the coach on these cards. He simply diagrams the assignments of all eleven men against each defense on the card.
3. The quarterback is required to list the strength and weakness of each particular defense anticipated. Each defense may be listed on a separate card or sheet for better organization.
4. Any comments that the quarterback may want to make may be recorded at the bottom of the sheet.
5. See Diagram 43.
DIAGRAM 43 42. QUARTERBACK
The purpose of these quarterbacks accumulative sheets is to teach recognition of all defensive alignments.
1. Present your quarterback with a copy of the accumulative defensive sheets, after you have discussed them with him.
2. These sheets are to be used as a constant reference throughout the season.
3. Test him on these sheets by having him diagram all offensive assignments for a specific play.
4. These sheets may be used for testing another player.
5. See Diagram 44.
43. Tape Recorder Drill
The purpose of this drill is to allow the quarterback to check himself.
1. Provide a tape recorder for the quarterback's use.
2. It is an excellent device to check cadence and voice tone.
3. Have the quarterback use the tape recorder until both cadence and voice are satisfactory.
44. Magnetic Football
The object of this drill is to train the quarterback with miniature magnetic football players on a metal simulated football field.
1. Place eleven miniature magnetic football players on offense.
2. Place eleven of the same on defense and arrange them into different defensive alignments.
3. Have the quarterbacks identify each defense.
4. Have the quarterbacks call out the strengths and weaknesses of each defense.
5. Have the quarterbacks select the offensive plays that are sound against the weaknesses of each defense.
6. Using the Magnetic Coaching Board by the School-Aid Company, quick and accurate comprehension by the quarterback is readily possible.
7.See Diagram 45.
DIAGRAM 45 45. STRENGTH AND WEAKNESS DRILL
The purpose of this drill is to familiarize the quarterback with the individual characteristics of every member of the team.
Have your quarterbacks list the names of all the linemen, backs and ends on a regular 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper. Divide the sheet in the middle, and make two columns. Name one side "strength" and the other side "weakness." Have the quarterback list all the characteristics of each back and end. When this is completed, it is presented to the head coach for conference.
46. Recognition Drill
The purpose of this drill is to prepare the quarterback in selection of plays versus anticipated defense.
The coach lists four or five defenses that are anticipated from the next opponents. The quarterback is allowed to take these home and is required to select the plays from his own offense that are sound against these various defenses.
47. Assignment Drill
The purpose of this drill is to improve the quarterback's knowledge of his entire offense.
Each quarterback is required to diagram the offensive assignments of all eleven men on every run and pass in his offense. This is a "must," and the quarterbacks should be tested frequently to keep them alert. Sometimes have them correct each other's papers. This is helpful to the quarterback when a lineman reports some information on an opposing player. If he possesses a thorough knowledge of his offense, it will simplify his choice of plays.
48. Audible Drill
The purpose of this drill is to give the quarterback training in the selection of audibles against anticipated defenses.
The coach lists only the major defenses that are anticipated from the next opponents. He should do this no later than Wednesday. These defenses are diagramed against the offensive formation with minute details.
The quarterback is required to select only the best running and passing audibles versus each defense. Sometimes these will be several good audibles for specific defenses. The quarterback is allowed to take this work home for study before presentation to the head coach for discussion. The coach may have all the quarterbacks together to compare their audible calls and offer suggestions. In this manner, they will all profit and save valuable time. Later on in the week he may desire to meet them individ-ually for further discussion.*
49. How To Drill For Power-Wrist Centering
The purpose of this drill is to strengthen the wrists of both the center and quarterback by using the new weighted power-wrist football. There is one special weighted ball for quarterbacks and another heavier ball for centers. This is an excellent early season drill and is valuable during the summer months to improve the center-quarterback exchange.
1. Have the offensive center take his normal stance over a power-wrist football with a quarterback directly behind him.
2. The quarterback charts his regular cadence and the center snaps the weighted power-wrist football on the agreed snap-number.
3. After a warm-up period of three to five minutes, substitute a regulation ball.
4. Your center, your quarterback and you will be greatly pleased with the results.
5. See photograph.
*Refer to Complete Book of Winning Football Drills, Prentice Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, N. J., 1959.
50. How To Drill For Cadence
The purpose of this drill is to give the quarterback practice in calling cadence with linemen present.
1. Send one quarterback who needs additional practice to improve his cadence with the linemen when they are working on the Crowther.
2. Have him call the play and the snap count each time.
3. The quarterback recognizes the defenses, sets the line and then gives them the motion of ball handling.
4. This drill provides the linemen with game-like conditions and motivates them to do a good job when one of the quarterbacks is present to call cadence.
It would be foolish to say that one drill is better than another for teaching generalship. Nevertheless, in training the quarterback and in preparing for each game, we have found the four drills which follow to be superior:
45. Strength And Weakness Drill
46. Recognition Drill
Al. Assignment Drill
48. Audible Drill.
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