Picking the right player to be your next quarterback can sometimes be a major challenge, especially if you are new to the program or if a quarterback hasn’t naturally funneled up through the lower levels.
Try out these seven tips on how to find and develop a quarterback, courtesy of Bill Hewitt, a former college football coach, NFL scout and film grader for the Buffalo Bills.
Hold a staff meeting with all of your coaches. Discuss personnel and what type of offense best fits the players in your program.
Pick out a few solid candidates that you and your staff feel could be your starting quarterback.
Ask the candidates about their background playing quarterback or what position(s) the players played before trying out for quarterback; receivers and running backs will have a familiarity with the offense.
Ask them to throw your most common routes. Keep a close eye, and watch their feet and body positioning during this drill or run a few basic line drills: half-speed up and down the line, sideline to sideline, throwing as they move. See if they can option pitch with both hands. Watch how they handle the situation. How smooth and fluid are they moving up and down the line?
Don’t limit yourself by looking for a player who’s a specific size. Speed and arm strength are more important.
Look for QBs for whom the skills and attitude come naturally. From there, it sometimes comes down to using your gut feeling as a coach to evaluate.
Develop your quarterback. Use the following drills as an evaluation process. Each phase is a must to be a starting quarterback.
- Taking the snap.
- One tap, three-, five- and seven-step drops with a gather step. Mark each drop with a cone. Build consistency.
- Rocker step and turret steps drill after the gather step.
- Sprint-out footwork and accuracy passing. Some pro quarterbacks never learn this properly.
- Huddle control and clear loud cadence.
You don’t want to clutter your quaterback’s brain with too many things to think about and remember when they’re on the field, but they should always remember some general themes and abide by them whenever it’s possible.
- Be prepared for all situations, on and off the field of play.
- Always be in command and control of all the situations.
- Have a total understanding of how the defenses work, with an understanding how to attack each situation. This includes passing concepts and route progressions.
- Huddle control is very important. This includes eye contact, voice control and a positive attitude.
- Mechanics are incredibly important. The quarterback’s feet and hip movements in and out of the pocket are vital. Practice being under pressure every day. This is a key to completion success. Remember the correct pronation release is critical to your success. From “A” frame to three-, five- or seven-step drop. Gather your step to “L” position to release.
If they can do these things, you have the foundation work with and develop a quarterback that best fits in your program.
These tips were taken from Hewitt’s blogs, which he wrote for USA Football. You can find these and other blogs at blogs.usafootball.com. Follow Hewitt on Twitter at @HewittCoach.
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