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Quarterback Fundamentals

In the Air Raid Offense
by: Matt Mumme
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Throughout the course of football history there have been many great quarterbacks to play the game of football. Some of the quarterbacks that I have enjoyed studying over the years are Joe Montana, John Elway and recently Peyton Manning and Ty Detmer. Ultimately the one thing that each one of these quarterbacks has in common is great fundamentals that took each one of their games to another level.

In our offensive scheme there are many demands on the quarterback. So repetition is the most important aspect that we talk about. For us to have success we must make the offense simple to communicate and have a high amount of reps in practice to be efficient. Along these lines the fundamental drills that our quarterbacks go through set up different scenarios that will happen to them in game type situations.

In season, we will work on each of these drills once a week and during the off-season I emphasize the importance of our quarterbacks doing these drills on their own. The reps will show up in their performance and you will know who worked the hardest.

Diagram 1. Feet Parallel
Step Overs: Have your QBs line up together and put their feet parallel with the yard line (See Diagram l). At the coachs command they will move their feet back and forth over the line (no hopping). They want to do this as quickly as possible, staying under control while keeping the ball up and eyes down the field. Then have them turn their feet perpendicular with the line and do the same thing with eyes down the line (See Diagram 2). (Usually do this for 30 seconds to one minute). Purpose: to help your quarterback develop quick feet while having eyes up and on their target.

Diagram 2. Feet Perpendicular
Circle Drill: Have two QBs line up 10 yards apart and at half speed. Work on running in a circle keeping the ball up and squaring their shoulders to the target making a good throw to the other. Do this about four to five times each way (See Diagram 3).

Diagram 3. Circle Drill
Purpose: helps your quarterback throwing on the run. Weave Drill: Set up four half bags in between five yards. Have the QB take his drop down the line, step up and weave through the bags with the ball up and eyes down the field (See Diagram 4). Purpose: simulate pocket, making the QB have good footwork while keeping his eyes down the field.

Scramble Drill: Take a stand up dummy (imitates a D-lineman or LB) and set it a yard short of the depth you want your QBs drop to be at. Set up a cone two yards deeper outside of the dummy and two more cones going toward the line of scrimmage.

Diagram 4. Weave Drill
The QB takes his drop steps up in the pocket, dips under the dummy and then gains depth behind the deepest cone (keeping his eyes down the field and ball up). After gaining depth he attacks the line of scrimmage and makes a good throw to a receiver down field about 10-15 yards. Do this drill in both directions (See Diagram 5). Purpose: to simulate a game type scramble. This will force your QB to keep the ball up and have proper fundamentals while still trying to attack down the field.

Diagram 5. Scramble Drill
Shuffle Drill: Have all your QBs get on a line. Make them call out the cadence and take their drops down a line. After they have taken their drop and hitched up, then direct them side-to-side or front and back. This drill forces them to keep their eyes on you and keep the ball up while taking steps in the pocket to move around (See Diagram 6).

Diagram 6. Shuffle Drill
Purpose: Pocket awareness and field vision.

Barrel Drill: Place a barrel in the back corner of the end zone. Make the centers and QBs get on the five to ten yard line and work on taking their drops and putting good air on the ball to make it in the bucket. Purpose: Teach your QB to put touch on the ball like he would need to on a corner route or fade route. In the past, quarterbacks in this system such as Tim Couch and Martin Hankins have made huge plays off of having great fundamentals. At New Mexico State University we emphasize doing the little things that is what eventually will help you win.


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