There was a problem sending you an sms. Check your phone number or try again later.
We've sent a link to the Scribd app. If you didn't receive it, try again.
to thank all of you gentlemen for the wonderful honor that you have bestowed on Syracuse and our staff. I want you to know that if there was any coaching done at Syracuse this year, the staff did it and we were mighty fortunate in having a wonder- ful group of boys and the ball bounced real well for us. It has to, men, if you are going to be as lucky as we were this year.
When Phil called me about this subject, I said \u201cYes\u201d before I gave it much thought. As time went on I began to realize that the quarterback position is a pretty significant thing in football.
I feel a little better up here than I did in \u201953 after a game with Alabama where we were licked 61 to 6. Thank goodness I was assigned the subject of offense and not defense.
Our quarterbacks were well coached this year. The man who really did the job was our offensive backfield coach and we felt that he did an outstanding job.
In the first place, before you discuss the training of the quarterback, week to week, you should pick the quarterback. Normally, it is very obvious who is going to play quar- terback and who isn\u2019t. However, we did have a little problem this year in that the boy who was slated to be our quarterback, Bobbie Thomas, came up with a complaint in the middle of the summer. We didn\u2019t think much of it at first but as time went on we began to be fearful that he had a prob- lem. He started out with us in the fall and looked very good in the practice and scrim- mage that we had. It was finally determined that he had a partially ruptured disc and couldn\u2019t play. The season was coming on and we thought from the experiences we had in the past, that a team must have two quarterbacks. We believe that it is most important. Otherwise, if we have just one and something happens to him, we don\u2019t have a football team. We were willing to put our captain and our last season\u2019s right half- back at quarterback because we felt that he was the most capable man to play that position.
We had a boy whom we thought could do a reasonable job, but we had just one. So we started the season in our early prac- tices with our captain, Ger Schwedes, at quarterback along with Dave Sarette. We also had a third quarterback, Dick Easterly. We opened the season with Schwedes the quarterback.
Easterly came along. It got to the point where we were willing to gamble that he could be our No. 2 quarterback. I just point that out for what it is worth. We are basi- cally a running team (if our opponents will permit us to run), as well as an off-tackle team. That is the crux of everything. If we can run off tackle, we are satisfied. If they are going to stop us, they are going to either bring men from the inside out or they are going to bring men from the outside in, or they are going to crowd us.
Now they don\u2019t bring men normally from inside out. We found that most teams load us up pretty good inside. Instead of bring- ing them from the outside in, we found this year that they were crowding us quite a bit. They would bring their secondary in pretty tight.
Now a little more about the individual attributes of the quarterback. Of course, we are all looking for perfection and search for the Holy Grail but we don\u2019t find it that way. The problem that entered into our thinking was whether Schwedes should play quar- terback or not. We had a lot of folks helping us on this thing. I know you do, too, when you have a problem like that. Your choice probably won\u2019t be the popular choice with the fans. One thing however that we were sure about in Schwedes was that he had good hands. He had quick hands. He had sure hands. He played basketball in high school. Consequently we made that our number one requisite for a quarterback\u2014 that he must have good hands and he must be able to take the snap from center and handle the football. If he can\u2019t do that, he just can\u2019t play quarterback.
Number two, if there was any doubt about who was going to be in that position, we wanted a runner. Our quarterback was the fourth runner in our backfield and the passing rated after that. We felt that by suf- ficient practice, our passer would become adequate enough if he could run and if he had good hands that he could do a respectable job.
Naturally, we were looking for all the other things relative to leadership, hustle, hard work, intelligence and common sense, but we like a pleasant boy. If we can get a boy who is a good boy\u2014well, we were very fortunate in that respect this year. We had a couple of boys who didn\u2019t have much of a football background but they were real pleasant and the squad members liked them very much. We thought that was very significant, because
you spend an awful lot of time with these quarterbacks. If you have a boy whom you look forward to seeing and he is pleasant and has a nice personality, all the time you spend with him is much more productive footballwise.
As to the mental aspects in dealing with these two quarterbacks\u2014I might say I am a lousy psychologist. I think we had some articles written on that a year ago in the local newspapers saying how poor we were. In trying to build these boys up at the start of the year we called on Meredith another Graham or Lucas or anybody we thought they might look up to. We were always very friendly, and we built up our quarterbacks on the field. We praised them. If they made a bad play or did some- thing wrong, we would say, \u201cNow some other player did that.\u201d If you can get that into your thinking, we feel it is a help. We never criticize a quarterback in front of the other boys. Never! We are always trying to build him up.
With regard to the mechanical aspects, the first thing is the center exchange and, as I say, our backfield coach, Bill Bell, did a wonderful job with these boys in this respect.
Just a little thing, but it might have some significance. Jim Ringo, who plays with Green Bay, comes back and helps us in the spring. We had always let our quarterbacks put either hand up\u2014Jim said it was signifi- cant to put the right hand up\u2014if you had a righthanded center as the center delivers the ball with a twisting upward motion. The forward part turns to the left and the rear to the right. The force of the ball is now absorbed on the side of the thumbs or the strongest part of the hands. It prevents many fumbles. So, if you are doing it either way, it might be just a thought for you. We had never considered it before but when you think about it, it might have some small significance. We can always learn some- thing.
So the center exchange is the first thing, and we won\u2019t go into that. We feel it is just a matter of the quarterback going with the center and coming out with that football. And when he does, he pulls it into his stom- ach.
We had a lot of ball handling this year. I don\u2019t think there was a day that we didn\u2019t have fifteen minutes to spare. We would then wind up practice with fifteen minutes of ball handling, particularly with our ride series because we run a three-way option.
If you are going to do something like that, you have got to spend time on it. We feel that the little extra time made a big differ- ence as the season progressed.
Our quarterbacks start out with warming up by throwing initially. We spend about ten minutes on that. We feel that by throwing enough, every day, they get to be adequate throwers. Then we go into our ball han- dling.
Of course, the quarterbacks are the busiest men on the field. They are holding extra points and catching punts. There is never enough time for these boys. However, we made sure that they did two things every day. They warmed up on the throwing and the ball handling.
Now, as to the huddle; with only 25 sec- onds, the thing we are conscious of is to get in the huddle and to get out. We try to make a quick call in the huddle. This year we went into left formation for the first time. If we are going into left formation, the first thing our quarterback says is, \u201cLeft forma- tion.\u201d If we are going to be in right forma- tion, he doesn\u2019t mention it. That saves a lit- tle time. We will flanker either half back either way. If it is not a straight T, the quar- terback will mention the flanker. We call it Wing Left, Wing Right, Tail Left, Tail Right.
The next thing he gives is the play and then, of course, the snap. The quarterback repeats the snap. As he gives the snap the first time, the center takes off and as he gives the snap the second time, the team claps their hands and they all take off to the ball. It is just a simple call. If we are going to go left formation, \u201cLeft formation\u2014Wing Left\u2014213 on 2 (pause) on 2.\u201d
In working against each other, we have found if we take too much time in a call, that the defense can always sense it is possibly going to be a pass. So we try to call our passes just as briefly as we do our running plays. Instead of having a lot of men vary- ing their courses, we will have more pass- es. We never vary over one man on any pass course. The call is made a little quick- er in that manner.
As to recognition of the defense, we must restrict that to two words. If they can\u2019t get it right, come up with something. The first thing we are concerned with is whether it is a box or a diamond defense. One of the two things in his call will involve either dia- mond or box by word or implication. The other thing we are concerned with is whether it is an overshift or an undershift. If it is a normal defense, it is very easy.
In our initial practice, we work against four basic defenses. We feel that this gives us pretty much the picture we need and we can then adjust sufficiently well to varia- tions. First, we work against the \u201c6 Regular.\u201d That is, the wide tackle 6. The tackle doesn\u2019t have to be clear out on the ends, though. We still call it \u201c6 Regular.\u201d This is a diamond under-defense and our boys are taught to make this implication with the call. Second, we work against the \u201cState 7,\u201d a defense that Pitt uses and Penn State used in the past, a 7-man line with stand up men on our ends. Third, we work against the \u201cOkie Box.\u201d This is an over-defense. Fourth, we work against the \u201c6 Box\u201d which is an under-defense.
Any other defense such as the Split 6 we just call a Split 6 and our boys know that is a diamond under-defense. A 5-stunt then would be a diamond over-defense. A n Eagle, they learn, is a box over. If it\u2019s a four- four, they would know that would be a dia- mond under. We could call it a 6 drop, emphasizing they dropped their ends back on a passing situation. The seven-four would be a box over defense. A slot 8, they learn, is a diamond under. If it is all scram- bled up in there and they can\u2019t recognize it, they will just call it a slot box or a slot dia- mond; or they will call it an over or an under box or diamond. The key to our call of over or under depends on whether the center or right guard is covered. If the center is cov- ered, it is under. If the right guard is cov- ered it is an over.
If he is shaded or in the gap and we are going to run to the right, and our quarter- back feels that our right guard can handle him, he could still call that an under. If we are going to go to the left and he feels that our center can handle him, he could call that an undershift. We have that one little rule of thumb for our quarterbacks to go by and give us flexibility.
We feel that simple rule of thumb has helped our quarterbacks. The one thing they should be able to see\u2014\u201cIs there a man on the right guard or a man on our center?\u201d If there is a man on both of them, we know we have a loaded up situation and if they load us up in there too much, our quarterback can always call \u201cgoal line\u201d and our line tightens up. We now dig out man to man. We use a non-rhythmic count. We have used that for three years. I am sure most all of you do that by now. It eliminates the problem of your quarterbacks being synchronized and having any need of
cadence. Just so they yell it out loud enough so they can all hear it. We go strict- ly on sound and not anticipation. We feel that there is an advantage in this. If the defense does jump on us, our quarterback can always pause and let our linemen recall the type of blocking we are going to use.
There is no secret that if our opponents use a normal defense on us, we will cross- block inside as much as we possibly can. Of course, if they load you up, it doesn\u2019t make very good sense to run in there. But if we do run inside and they have stunted in there, or they have moved in after we have made a call, we will just dig it out and run it anyway. So, by using a non-rhythmic count, it does give your quarterback an opportuni- ty to pause and let the line change their call.
We have a quarterback play book just as everyone else has, in which our quarter- backs diagram all the plays versus all the defenses. As far as possible, we want our quarterback to know what every man does on every play. That is asking a lot of a sophomore quarterback, but the more you expect of these boys, the more it seems they are capable of doing. They should know pretty much who does what.
Our backfield coach, Bill Bell, has recog- nition cards which I know you all have. He flashes these cards and they call the defense. It gets to be a game to see who can recognize them first. By practicing this way they get so they recognize them pretty well, learn just what we are going against, because we have that simple rule of thumb whether it is over or under or includes a slot.
As to automatics, I can remember a few years ago hearing Bud Wilkinson say he didn\u2019t believe in automatics and I couldn\u2019t realize that a top coach like Bud didn\u2019t believe in automatics. We used to work so hard and so long until we started checking our results. We found that our automatics actually got us into more trouble than they helped us. Somebody would miss it, anoth- er would be confused, or another who had already concentrated on taking a man would be a little more hesitant and then would execute haphazardly. Therefore, we practically eliminated work on automatics and our boys are very happy about it. We use it just enough that if the defense would all line up on one side of the field and leave everything open on the other, we could still go toward the weakness.
I will never forget a few years ago in a game we were playing with Holy Cross and had worked up to a three touchdown lead with five minutes to go. I had been talking to our second string quarterback as the game progressed. I told him I was going to send him in and that I expected him to keep the ball on the ground. I even made him repeat after me as he went in\u2014\u201cKeep the ball on the ground.\u201d The ball was back on our own ten. The defensive line backer moved up in the line and our quarterback checked into the pop pass. The line backer baked out, got his hand up and the pass ricocheted up in the air and their halfback ran under it and they had a touchdown. To make a long story short, they had three touchdowns in about three and one-half minutes, to tie us up. We still had time enough to score another touchdown with our first team quarterback and win the ball game.
Well, that shook me up a little, but we went ahead with automatics. But now we just don\u2019t feel that it is worth all the attention we used to give it. We encourage team members to help our quarterbacks but not in the huddle. That creates confusion. We want them to simply call a hole that can be run\u2014not a specific play. Time outs or rest periods on the bench are ideal spots to give this information. We did make a huddle compromise this year since we had inexpe- rienced quarterbacks.
We had a couple of experienced half- backs so we let Schwedes help our quar- terback in the huddle with the first team and
Mark Weber helped our second quarter- back. If either of these boys thought the quarterback was way off base, he would check the play. They were particularly con - scious of delayed plays, pass calls, and goal line plays.
This was a desperation move and the first time we ever dared do anything like this, but it worked and our quarterbacks liked it. They were real humble boys.
Our first team quarterback didn\u2019t play much defense this year, not that he didn\u2019t like defense, or couldn\u2019t play it well, but we just thought if we had him on the bench we would have time to talk with him. Our spot- ter could talk to him on the phone and go over anything that might be of assistance. We try to keep this very simple, instead of loading them up with half a dozen things, just one thing at a time. We feel if we could get one idea across to the boy, one play that he might work, particularly a pass, that is adequate.
Then, of course, if our alternate team was in there and our team quarterback was on the bench, he would talk to the linemen and see if they could come up with any- thing that might be of help to him.
We feel that you can make this too com- plex. As I say, we are basically an off tack- le team and the key man then is the defen- sive tackle and the basic play again is our \u201cRide Series.\u201d Any time we are in doubt, we tell our quarterback just to call the Ride. Some people say, \u201cWhen in doubt, punt,\u201d but we found our way worked for us this year. Since the off tackle ride is a three-way
Lambert Trophies (Top Team in the East):4
AFCA National Coach of the Year Awards:1959
Notes:Led Syracuse to an 11-0 record in 1959 to capture the school\u2019s first national
Now bringing you back...
Does that email address look wrong? Try again with a different email.