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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Flexbone-Coaching the Quarterback

The option quarterback is really like no other position in football. For most quarterbacks, they simply
have the job of handing the football off in the run game. The passing game is where they must make
reads, sight adjustments and distribute the ball according to the defense they are seeing. In option
offenses, the quarterback must be able to distribute the ball in both the running and the passing
games. This factor makes the coaching of an option quarterback just that much more intensive to the
coach. No stone can be left unturned when teaching the mechanics of the game to the option
quarterback.

To Mesh or Not to Mesh
To start, there are two distinct schools of thought in option football on how to read the handoff key
(HOK). The first, and probably one of the oldest is the famous "Ride and Decide" (R&D). There have
been many modifications to this technique over time, and every option coach you talk to has their own
unique spin on this technique. There is also the "No Mesh Mesh", or "Point Method" of reading the
HOK. Each technique has its merits, the coach has to decide what they want to teach and what they
think fits their situation the best. The pros to R&D are:

 Very very deceptive to the defense. It is difficult for defenders to get an accurate read on who
has the football due to the length of the ride by the quarterback.

 Slows the read down for the quarterback. Young quarterbacks especially like the technique
because it allows them feel more comfortable with the read.

On the flip side, the cons to R&D are:

 The technique can be labor intensive to coach. The footwork is more precise and the arm
mechanics much more precise than the Point Method.

 Turnovers. The traditional mesh lends itself to more turnovers between the dive back and
quarterback due to the ball placement and long duration that two players are in contact with
the same football.

 When pulled, the quarterback isn't always running or facing downhill. Most who run this
offense are doing so because they don't have the dominant line to block many of their
opponents, so having the quarterback coming off the mesh, into the backfield can be an
issue. Many option coaches say this can't happen, but it does when using R&D, especially vs.
blood stunts where the quarterback must pull the ball quickly.

The Point Method is regarded by many as a technique for the Split Back Veer (SBV) offense. Flexbone
"purists" state that it will not work when the dive back is behind the quarterback like they are in the
flexbone. This, quite simply, is not true. The Point Method has these distinct advantages over the R&D
method:

 Simple. It is a very simple technique to teach, and can be taught relatively quickly. There is no
"feel" involved, only the read. The footwork is less intensive than R&D and can actually be a bit
"sloppier" (for lack of a better term) than traditional R&D.

 Turnovers. The Point Method leads to very few turnovers in this offense. The reads are clear
and concise and the only time there is contact between the dive back and quarterback is if the
ball is going to be handed off.

In today's world of "win now", I prefer to use the Point Method. It is generally quicker to install, takes
less time to master, and is less turnover prone than R&D.

Stance
The option quarterback should begin in a balanced stance, as shown in figure 12-1. Since the
quarterback doesn't want to tip off the defense as to the direction of the play, it is quite important to
not allow them to stagger their feet in their stances. The weight of the quarterback is balanced over a
slightly narrower than shoulder-width stance. The quarterback's head should break the belt of the
center as pressure is applied in an upward force by the quarterback's arms into the groin of the
center. There are many thoughts of the positioning of the hands, but I prefer to have the quarterbacks
lock thumbs to keep any separation of the hands from happening. The most important thing is this, the
quarterback should be in a comfortable position that allows them to execute their technique.

The flexbone. This way you can direct the feet of the quarterback to where they need to be headed. demands time and effort put into the footwork. When talking with the quarterback. . may even be more footwork heavy of an offense compared to others. This method aids with communication.Figure 12-1 (balanced stance) Footwork The quarterback position. The key to teaching the footwork of the offense to the quarterback is to utilize a clock (see figure 12-2). The flexbone takes no exception to this rule. What you will be surprised at is how many of your kids have never studied the face of a clock! Be sure to educate them on what you're asking them to do. speak in a manner such as "Step at 3 o'clock with your first step". in any offense. as this will teach the player to point the toes in direction you choose. The footwork in this offense is generally based upon whether you choose to mesh or not mesh with the dive read.

make sure when the quarterback takes their steps you actually see a bit of a "lean" to them. When teaching the reads such as midline and veer. parallel to the first. the quarterback has to properly transfer the weight from one foot to another so that if the ball is pulled.e. When doing drills. the quarterback if using R&D will step at either 3 o'clock. Preferentially start with veer footwork and work from there. the quarterback is in a position to attack the defense downhill. the quarterback pushes off with the foot opposite the direction they are going (i. then they push off with the left foot) and basically jumps or "hops" into the A gap in the direction of the play. The coach. deals with weight transfer. it is important that the quarterback get the second step down quickly. Care has to be made to keep them on the balls of their feet and executing the proper weight transfer. but tend to end up with their weight on their heels. basically instead of two steps. What I have found when utilizing the hop is that the players like it because of its quickness to get them to the read. depending on the direction of the play. For the Inside Veer (ISV). As the quarterback meshes with the dive back the weight transfers from the back leg to the front leg. In other words. The second step. What this effect does is make the quarterback slower coming out of the mesh. if heading right. will come down. they should lean slightly in drills to over exaggerate this weight transfer. Some purists of the offense teach the "hop" method of getting into position. or 9 'o clock. This method is utilized by both Navy and Georgia Tech when teaching their quarterbacks.Figure 12-2 (clock used for footwork teaching) A large component of the footwork in the flexbone offense. Improper weight transfer leads to the quarterback "bowing" or "bending" into the backfield coming off of the mesh. The method is simple. Once this step is in the ground. if using the hop technique will have to pay very close attention to the weight transfer of his quarterback. The weight transfer should go to the leg that steps first. . Improper footwork can lead to slow meshes as well as lost yardage on plays.

Since there is no mesh. when running triple.The point method is similar to R&D but the footwork is pushed forward a bit more. For midline. at two and ten o'clock. On the clock. there is no lateral weight transfer to worry about. Instead of the quarterback gaining ground. The reason for this is that Point Method quarterbacks need to make the read up into the line. This first step puts the quarterback heading "downhill" or attacking into the line of scrimmage (LOS). All the coach needs to be sure of is that the quarterback is on the balls of his feet. rather than behind it. the coach would simply do the technique listed above for R&D or Point Method and do it in reverse. . they are losing ground to get out of the way of the dive back. The second step ends up parallel to the first. the quarterback would step as one should drive a car.

A key point to tell if your quarterback is going to mesh properly with their footwork is where the ball is once they've taken their first two steps. if the ball were dropped from the quarterback's hands once his second step hit the ground it should hit the offensive guard (OG) right in the middle of the buttocks. For midline. The marks representing the OL can be moved to exactly match where these landmarks are to aid in teaching the proper steps. . would hit the center right down the middle of the buttocks. For the triple. if dropped after the second step is in the ground. the ball. this is the aiming point for the dive back. this positioning of the football is so that the dive back can run right over the top of the football and does not have to worry about adjusting his course during the play. then adjust the steps accordingly. This is why the use of fire hose or football tape is so imperative when teaching the offense. As shown in Figure 12-3. If the ball isn't there. Again.

In many cases this could be a JV freshman learning the offense for the first time. To teach this system of thought. What this does. he'll be over 2/3's on his way to a good read score. This teaching should begin with the dive read on ISV. The answer is. Of course this is in theory. you tell the quarterback that all we expect from him. The simplicity of the system is that the quarterback already knows what he's going to do. despite the play being an option play. The one-way thought process speeds up the mastery of the read in option football. by giving him a one-way thought process. that if he guesses. but showing the quarterback that even if you guess.Figure 12-3 (Midline and Veer aiming points for the B back) One-Way Though Process The One-Way Thought Process is the basis for the mental training of an option quarterback. The thought process begins by telling the quarterback. your at the 67 percent success rate for your overall read score of 75 percent. Furthermore. is to get half again as many as he guessed right. The entire idea of the one-way thought process is to take pressure off of your quarterback. and in no way am I suggestion guessing. but as the coach. this is not suggesting he guess. and that all he has to do to get a better score is get 25% more correct. Again. The actual read is of no importance in this portion of training your quarterback. to give the football every time. correct in order to be an effective option quarterback. you can now give him is one-way ultimatum. Quite . You do this. Once you have the quarterback with some confidence. how many times they would expect to get their read right if they simply guessed. This type of thinking can be utilized on almost EVERY read the quarterback makes. or a converted senior wide receiver who's never taken a snap under center. you have to find a way to make the complicated read seem simple so that you slow down time for your option quarterback. about 50 percent. unless the HOK makes a move to tackle the dive back. you simply ask your quarterback. as well as giving him the idea that there is no pressure. is tell your high school sophomore.

pitch the ball every time unless the PK steps away from you. What this change does. keep telling your quarterback the "give unless" statement.simply put. There are many other facets involved with coaching up the read. The most successful key I've ever taught is the read key's far ear hole. The head goes where the eyes go. you need to change the quarterback's mentality on the play as well. The eyes of the option quarterback must consistently be focused. and where the read is. By teaching the one-way thought process you give your quarterback a security blanket. nothing Earth-shattering here. Once the ball is snapped. From pre-snap read to actual reading of the dive and pitch keys. so the coach can get a two-for-one here. The process can be altered as well to get the ball to certain players as well. mentality and footwork have been mastered. One-way thinking is the crux of proper mental training for the flexbone quarterback. the coach must progress to the rest of the quarterback's body to prepare them to read the option. mean that the quarterback stroll to the LOS and stare down the read. If you as a coach. change the blocking scheme in order to get the ball pitched. the eyes must go directly to the read. and these are the arms and hands. For reversing this process. As the coach. Many coaches would say this is too much thinking for a young man to do. The basic way of teaching the one-way thought process for the pitch is to run for a touchdown every time unless the pitch key (PK) steps to me. you are just changing the quarterback's thought process with a simply verbal cue. Once the quarterback has found the read. he must keep this player in his peripheral field of vision at all times. As the quarterback scans the offensive and defensive fronts. one-way thought process of the pitch phase. he can still fall back on and rely on. the quarterback will give the football. Again you can see the one-way thought process being utilized. Many new quarterbacks are so accustomed to looking at the ball carrier when they hand the ball off they literally have to be broken and retrained to do so by the option coach. is the eyes. but this is simply not true as long as you use a one-way thought process. as many times as you can during practice. First. if a team if forcing the quarterback to keep the football. the eyes are the tell-tale factor in a successful option quarterback. Again. but now being taught with the read. The quarterback knows what he's doing when he squares up and gets under center. and the head and eyes. he must be aware of direction of play. The one-way thought process transfers to all applications within the flexbone offense where the quarterback must make a read. This does not. however. What I have taught is to give the ball every time unless that far ear hole makes a move to take the dive back. If the read key does anything other than tackle the dive back. the coach might say. This is something that when the bullets are flying. Coaching the Mesh and Other Fine Points of Option Football Once the stance. It is imperative that the quarterback get his eyes on the read pre-snap. . For instance. This process can even be utilized in the passing game. you can reverse the base. This is never more true than when dealing with young quarterbacks. and the one-way thought process will be the bedrock in your teaching foundation. you will be looked upon to help your quarterback out in his times of frustration or need. or you as the coach think that the pitch will still out leverage the defense. is get your quarterback thinking pitch first instead of keep.

this should have been determined pre-snap. Once the quarterback has pulled the football. What the coach's goal here is. A simple pitch drill involving a pitch back. and a read go a long in teaching this simple process. If the feet settle. but the coach can have some freedom in setting these reads. As the quarterback accelerates into the alley. initially. which will be discussed at length in a later segment. for the quarterback to see both the shoulder and the feet at the same time. Again. and the PK is locked on to. The eyes here are important. he must find his PK. As he accelerates toward the read. that is when the ball should be pitched. . The pitch phase is just as important on the eyes as is the dive phase. or turn and attack the quarterback. should be taught to keep the ball every time unless the PK steps to take the quarterback. The quarterback. because in the beginning you want the quarterback to find the near shoulder of his read. the one-way thought process enters the quarterback's mind. and is now attacking the option alley. the focus should now move to the read's feet.The eyes aren't just coached in the dive phase of the triple option either.

followed by the front had. . What it means. keeping the ball from interfering with the path of the B back. or off hand comes off the ball first. the quarterback should stiffen the upfield arm and apply pressure to the midsection of the dive back. The back hand.Many coaches don't master the hands of a triple option quarterback. An important note here is that the position of the laces does not matter for the mesh. but not rigid. and swinging the ball back. This does not mean that the quarterback brings the ball back into his body in the traditional sense of seating the football. the arms should extend back. the quarterback should apply no pressure to the B back's midsection. The quarterback's arms should move in succession with the movement of the B back. The ball. the arm work for the various methods of meshing are a bit different. The ball should be in both hands of the quarterback. as the quarterback is making the read. only to pay the price in the end with turnovers and sloppy play. the ball should be slightly seated in a manner to allow the center to clear the quarterback's hands. If meshing. only slightly. Once the steps are made. the eyes go to the read. and both will be discussed. until the B back has cleared the quarterback's front side hip. much the way a baseball hitter would begin to draw the bat back. whether it be handing the ball to the B back in the dive phase. As contact with the B back is made. The front hand is the most important hand. the quarterback should not swing the ball back any further than their right hip. for the option quarterback is a simple shortening of the length of the arms by bending the arms. the quarterback applies no pressure at all to the dive back. When installing an option offense. When the quarterback takes the snap from center. prior to swinging at a pitch. with the full contact of the palm of each hand on the ball. In other words. thereby seating the football into the pocket of the back. As the quarterback is taking his steps. the hands are the tools that deliver the football. If a pull read is made. Improper hand placement is the number one cause of turnovers within the flexbone offense. should never be swung any further back than the quarterback's deepest hip. or pitching the football. Once the B back has cleared the quarterback the ball will be raised from the midsection of the quarterback to right in front of the chest around the top of the numbers on the quarterback's jersey. if running triple to the right. as the quarterback should maintain pressure all the way through mesh. and will re seat the football back into the midsection of the quarterback. The arms are locked. at the elbow. if meshing. If a give read is made.

If the dive back feels the football. Once the first steps are made. then the quarterback stiffens the front arm as the dive back runs over the top of the football. .If not meshing. Turnovers must be minimized. If the quarterback gets a pull read. does reduce the overall deception of the play a bit. The quarterback should look right down their forearms and focus on the read as shown in Figure 12-4. An important coaching point in teaching the Point Method is this. the technique is a bit simpler to teach. there are ways around the play not being as deceptive. the quarterback will actually. the ball is quickly reseated into the midsection and the same manner as meshing is used to move on the pitch phase of the triple option. If the quarterback feels the dive back he is to give it. he is to take it. but reduces the potential for turnovers in the mesh. If the HOK gives a handoff read. physically point the football at the read key. This technique.

are placed higher than if doing the basketball pitch. has to be comfortable in what he's doing in order to effectively master the offense. again begins with the football at the quarterback's chest.Figure 12-4 (focusing on the read) When pitching the football. As the quarterback makes his pitch read. the quarterback would roll the ball left so that his right hand was now facing outward (remember the ball is at the quarterback's chest in all of this). he will step in the direction of the pitch. The quarterback should step in the direction of the pitch back. so that the thumb ends up pointing downward. As per Figure 12-6. This landmark can vary due to hand size. What this does is create an end-over-end pitch that is soft and easy for the pitch back to handle. Players that have small hands. The reason smaller handed players should use this method is the control they have over the football when doing so. should use what is known as a basketball pitch. much like a kickoff would look. much in the same manner as a kickoff. The quarterback. As the quarterback attacks the pitch key and gets a pitch read. releasing the ball with his off hand (in our example of running triple to the right. especially if it involves reading and pitching. For instance. and then flick the wrist and hand in a manner to spin the ball. however. but the hands must be on the upper 1/2 of the football. The hand is there merely for support and as a guide. Most quarterback's. The method of pointing the thumb gets the ball rotating similar to the basketball pitch. . The quarterback should push outward from his chest and at full extension of the arm. the coach can teach a more traditional method of pitching the football. Figure 12-5 (shooter's hands) If the player has sufficiently sized hands. This method. there are numerous methods of getting this task accomplished. The hands should be in the upper 1/3 of the football near the where the stripe is on many footballs. the hands. they will roll the ball over in a manner that resembles a basketball player taking a shot (Figure 12-5). have a fear of parting with the football. this would be the quarterback's left hand) and extend his arm nearest the pitch back. flick the wrist. especially young ones. The most important factor is quarterback comfort. The off hand is just like the shooter's hand in basketball. running triple to the right.

Lack of this technique is easy to spot. because the direction of the pitch will be off target. The shooting hand would end up pointing to the basket.Figure 12-6 (traditional hand placement) When pitching. Thing of a shooter in basketball following through with his shot. the arm nearest the pitch back should always end up being pointed in the direction of the pitch back (see Figure 12-7). This is exactly the same for the quarterback's pitch hand. .

the quarterback is protected because he's moving with the defender instead of against the defender. Give the ball every time unless (one-way thought process) 3. must teach him how to effectively protect himself.Figure 12-7 (pitching the football) Another key component of teaching the pitch is teaching protection. Defensive coordinators (DC's) are generally on high aggravation having only a week of preparation for an offense they rarely see. Some of the finer points in coaching the triple option when dealing with a quarterback is to preach axioms. Better a wrong read. so one of their finer coaching points is to hit the quarterback on every option play. As the quarterback takes his step to the pitch back and pitches the football. The option quarterback must know he's a marked man from the get-go. Even if contact is made. he should. follow through with his second step and turn away from the attacking pitch key. Every effort should be made to teach this method of protection because losing the quarterback to injury is a blow to any offense. What ends up happening is the quarterback runs a sort of semi-circle that keeps him from a truly devastating blow by an unblocked defender. this all comes back to the footwork on the quarterback. than a long read 2. Keep the ball every time unless (one-way though process) . These are as follows: 1. When pitching. and you as the coach.

The idea here is that the football stay elevated and have a landmark to be . When the chips are down. and he seems confused. These two statements build trust in the system as well as building confidence in your quarterback. Never pitch in a mess. the more potential there is for trouble. is very similar to the one-way thought process. This is a very true point. Also. though not a mesh purist. Five is a technical aspect that must be harped upon. give the football 5. by the coach. even if he doesn't know what to do. The next two axioms have already been discussed at length. such as fumbles. repetition. The key element here. this axiom if for building confidence. he should fall back on this axiom. Tony DeMeo. had his own unique way of teaching the mesh. the longer the ball is in the mesh. but it's your quarterback's get out of jail free card. One of the top reasons coaches move to the flexbone offense is the fact that they lack talent and size along their offensive lines. The quarterback must know these and hear these two daily. 4. When in doubt. You as a coach can help him out by adjusting line splits. DeMeo. than to be stuck in the backfield with a long read. and father of the Triple Gun Offense. never pitch in distress The first one is stolen from triple option coaching great. nor a Point Method advocate. He taught his quarterbacks that it was better to have read wrong. No reason to ask the those guys to block any longer than they have to. Again. once the pitch phase of the triple option has been installed. Number four. or changing the read for him. but the quarterback should always know what to do. Pitch the ball heart to heart (your heart to the pitch back's heart) 6.

We've all seen that option quarterback who. the arms should swing to the back hip. while being tackled. Next add in the eyes. No matter what you use. If R&D is your choice. having the quarterback tell me the number. The quarterback. or finds himself in a misread. and hold up a number on the snap.pitched to. Instead the quarterback is to turn into the LOS and gain what yardage he can gain. have them repeat it back to you. they are certainly not the norm and are an unnecessary risk. then add in the arms. Preferably start with stances. whether it be point method. the feet are the most important component in your quarterback having success running the flexbone offense. at the last minute. R&D. as well as protect the football in event of a misread. hop. the arms should extend and point at the HOK. When teaching the pitch drill. What I prefer to do is have myself positioned as the read. Teach the quarterback the step. This gets the . Figure 12-8 (Quarterback Stance) From the stance. and a balanced stance as shown in Figure 12-8. Sure. The proper placement of the football for the quarterback is in front of the chest. while these make great highlight reels. If doing point. The last axiom is one that involves taking care of the football. repeat this to your quarterback and even better yet. progress into the first step of the ISV play. as he attacks the PK. being sure the quarterback has a flat back. pitches the football to a pitch back who may scamper for a touchdown. Option Drills and Progression The first drill I start teaching to my quarterbacks is the footwork drill. if he feels unnecessary pressure. This positioning allows for the quarterback to pitch the ball effectively. should NOT pitch the football.

have to break these habits and teach this young man something out of their comfort zone. The quarterbacks will simply job in a circle pitch the football to each other. In the beginning I start off by telling the quarterback what the read will be. Add in the dive back and simply tell the quarterback to give the football and get his eyes on the read. The coach playing the read key will need the hand shield because they are going to be actively involved in attacking the B back. As the coach. You. It is important that the quarterbacks constantly hear the coach repeating these axioms. The first pitch drill can be done in a pre-practice type setting and can be done with either a painted circle on the field or using the defensive linemen's pass rush hoops. I start mesh drill off by having the old standard fire hose with the OL alignments at their correct distances as they should be in a game situation. holding a square hand shield. As the quarterbacks become comfortable fitting with the B backs. then you may add the read. so they need to be protected. the teacher. add in the second step and begin to work on weight transfer. It is important that in this part of the teaching process you are not adding a running back to the drills! I cannot stress this enough. you are looking for the quarterback to have proper eye placement and steps. Preach the axiom of pitching heart-to-heart and not pitching in distress as the quarterbacks go through the drill. Again. Once the mesh drill is coming along the quarterback should progress to pitching the football. . The read key doesn't need to do anything at this point but give the quarterback a landmark for his eyes to go to. many of you will be teaching a spread quarterback who has spent his entire football career in the shotgun up until now. or a pro style quarterback who has simple reversed out and handed the ball off. the coach. like the one in Figure 12-9. you can then add in the dive back in a drill I like to call mesh drill. From here. I usually get another coach to stand in as the read. From this point.quarterbacks comfortable with not looking back at the running back. and think big. Teach small. the drill will not look even remotely the same as it does in live action. Give your quarterback the various reads. From here the drill can progress on into actually making the reads. you can now progress to accelerating off the mesh into the pitch phase. There are a couple of simple drills for pitching the football shown in Figure 12-9 and 12-10. Once the quarterbacks feel comfortable with the steps and eye progression. If you cannot do this. but be sure to start by teaching small. telling him each time the response you want him to give you. It is important that you understand you are not reading in this part of the drill yet. I teach that the top of the pad imitates the head of the read key. remember.

. The quarterbacks start out on a line and begin by jogging across the field width-wise.Figure 12-9 (Circle Pitch Drill) Figure 12-10 (Yard Line Pitch Drill) The second pitch drill can be done on a field with lines. The quarterbacks will pitch the football at each other. again.

The drill is not live. the coach should then progress to Veer Drill (see Figure 12-11). you must prepare your quarterback to be ready for anything. then progressing into the quarterback having to read the entire play. The coach should mix the read up as the quarterbacks begin to show proficiency at reading. Figure 12-11 (Veer Drill) . Veer drill will and should become an everyday drill (EDD) that the option coach uses during the season. Once pitching and the dive read have been implemented through drill work. I have had years in which this drill was run in shorts and helmets in pre-practice on Thursdays prior to a Friday night game. This can be done on the fire hose and either having another player. Again. Veer drill adds in the slotbacks for the pitch phase. Veer drill is done on the fire hose and must have two defenders present. Here the coach can also work on the quarterback stepping into the pitch. start with telling the quarterback how the play will unfold for their first few repetitions. but the HOK should have a hand shield so that they can aggressively play the part of the dive read.following the careful instructions of the coach. The idea here is to start slow. These defenders can simply be coaches or extra players. Another pitch drill that does not involve as much movement is having the quarterback come down the line and step and pitch. and protecting themselves from an aggressive PK. at a light jog and progress into a game speed pitch. or even an empty trash can for the quarterback to pitch into. coach. and work them daily because even though you may think you're opponent will play you one way. Here the running back's coach should be added to aid in helping the slots keep proper pitch relationship as well as motion timing. Work the stunts that the quarterback must master. The more repetitions the better.

What's brilliant about the one-way thought process is that it allows you the coach to control the thinking and reacting of your quarterback. the idea here is to make sure that pre- snap the quarterback is finding the HOK and the PK. Some of this I will not go into great length in discussing due to the fact that there are already so many good texts out there on the subject. The one-way thought process allows the quarterback coach to be able to simplify the passing game so as to teach the quarterback a simply way of delivering the football based on a quick read. put them up against even fronts one play and odd fronts the next. if you prefer to get the ball to your slots in the passing game. the quarterback needs to take the proper footwork. and execute a proper reading of all phases of the triple option. veer drill and half line can also be used to work on other run plays as well. Sure. For the quarterback coach. to go along with 40 running plays. but the trade off is. is that some of these skills will not be as hones or polished as a prototypical quarterback due to the nature of the quarterback having to master the reads in the triple option. Teaching the Passing Game I will not go at length to discuss this. This process is quite simply done by using one-way thinking on all pass plays. you are not going to get two reads on one passing play. and those coaches get to spend much more time with their quarterback than the average high school coach does. but not until the ISV has been effectively installed. Sure we'd all love to have 25 passing concepts in our playbook. it's now time to add in the offensive line. It is up to the coach to choose wisely what other concepts they want to put into the offense. Midline is another play that should be drilled when running these drills. though. passing footwork as well as master audibles and helping get the offense in the right play when necessary. but to expound on the one-way thought process and how it can be utilized in teaching the passing game to your option quarterback. A preferred drill among option coaches is that of half line. For instance. polished pocket passer in the process. For instance. this is too much to give most quarterbacks in high school. make up defenses if you have to. A simple way of teaching your passing reads. In half line. but the simple fact of the matter is that this will not happen in the flexbone offense. Mesh drill.As the quarterbacks and running backs become more and more comfortable within the offense. goes right along with the one-way thought process. Half line works the play side of the offensive line and allows the option coach to effectively double their repetitions of the option. the OL don't have to block certain players. or Georgia Tech even. I'm telling you. From there. One aspect the flexbone coach must understand. These may or may not be option plays. looking at Veer Pass in Figure 12-12. This can be seen on many a Saturday watching some of the service academies. Now. Teach the quarterback a one-way thought process here. you're not going to find yourself with a great. the quarterback is to read the flat defender. then give the quarterback a one way thought process of "I'm going to fake the ball to the B back and throw to the play side slotback every time unless the flat defender sinks on the snap. much less one who has to learn to read the midline and triple options as well. This is the sort of give-take nature of the offense. to . Other Quarterback Mechanics in the Flexbone Offense The quarterback in any offense must master handing off the football on non-read plays.

need not to be that complex. must be able to get the offense out of a bad play. but others need time to progress and understand the method to the madness that they asked to operate week in and week out. The offense can be run to a three technique. must begin to take on the role of coach and coordinator on the field. Like I stated earlier. I'm not going into grave detail on the passing game. The quarterback. Some quarterbacks get the why's. For instance. The commander-in-chief. Again. Some of the thoughts for the coach are. The idea here. Figure 12-12 (Veer Pass) Teaching Pre-Snap Reads and Audibles The option quarterback. and then change those two and three times at the LOS. The option quarterback must know how to get the offense out of a bad situation without using a timeout. and on to the why's. should be accustomed to finding his pre- snap read. known as cloudy and clear. who by the time you install the passing game. What these terms refer to is the gap being attacked by the offense. Many quarterbacks in today's game call their own plays. for ISV would refer to whether or not the gap being attacked (B gap on ISV) is open or closed. for the option coach. can identify who the flat defender is (usually the PK) and now has a means to react to this players reactions. do you want to change the play to the better gap. but there will be times in which a savvy DC may gain the upper hand by front or coverage. a one-way thought process that works. is to progress beyond the how's of the offense. in Figure 12-13. once comfortable in the offense. the defense is employing the standard over front look from the 4-4 defense. or change the play altogether. To one side of the offense the defense is presenting a three technique and a five technique. but it is a bit more difficult than running it to an open gap. while to the other there is a one technique. there are far too many resources available to the coach to teach the passing game to add to this text. The flexbone offense.which I will throw the swing route to the pitch back". or shade and a five technique. . One simple way to teach option quarterbacks audibles is a two word thought technique. The cloudy and clear.

teaching cloudy and clear. which in high school football can provide a very small area in which the offense must operate. Many may have leadership traits. From here. yelling at. less experienced players catch up. It does the offense no good for the only the quarterback to know what they are doing. is of course. you may call it what you like) as well as the theory of the offense to the quarterback will allow them to understand that triple into the boundary still isn't as good of a play as midline to a three technique is. If a majority of the offense cannot adjust. is counterproductive. the experienced quarterback can put the offense into the proper play with the proper amount of space in which to run said play. the quarterback must be able to read defenses pre-snap to determine in what direction they should run the called play. A simple opposite call from the quarterback will alert the offense that the direction of the original play has been changed to its opposite. then the first method of audibling is a sound way of doing things until the younger. or demeaning a quarterback. but one must remember. Simplicity. the coach may want to use an alternate method of getting themselves into a better play. All of this. The option quarterback must be . that involves changing the initial play altogether. based on the coach's game plan to attack his opponent. or if they should run another play that supports the play that was called. With this in mind. No matter what. Now. and will generally play a three technique to the wide side of the field. and 17 year-old's and their minds are running wide open about many things other than football. is a simple. comes with a price. Build confidence in your option quarterbacks. Good DC's will play this offense with field and boundary personnel. Final Thoughts Regarding Coaching the Option Quarterback In conclusion. safe way to have the quarterback flip the play to the better gap. There is an issue with this thinking though. the number one priority for the quarterback's coach is to get the quarterbacks to be comfortable with what they are doing. This forces the opposite call to be run back into the boundary. or any player for that matter. they are 15. Flexbone) Changing the play to the better side.Figure 12-14 (4-4 vs. Berating. Again. the rest of the offense must be able to understand and grasp this concept or you'll end up with only a percentage of players being on the same page as the quarterback. or open and closed (merely an nuance. 16.

Aaron Rodgers. make the quarterback recite the axioms so they remember them second-nature. simply ask him what he saw. don't tear him down. even at it's highest level. Talk to him in axioms. but also show understanding. it can lead to quarterbacks who are afraid to make a mistake. Lastly. praise.treated with great care. stressing footwork and stance first and foremost. go have fun. at a moments notice. When coaching this player. It's only a game. Don't tell him he made a misread. praise! When your quarterback does something correctly. Being too loose with the option quarterback can give a false sense of confidence and allow for bad habits. If handled too tensely. let him and his teammates know about it. The option quarterback must understand that they are the point guard on the football field. When a mistake is made. is still a game. Ready. while watching Celebrity Jeopardy. to take the game winning shot. Even tonight. that lead to selfish play. the coach should always speak in an authoritative tone. and unable to perform their duties of distributing the football to the proper players. always ask what the quarterback saw. Work the mind of the option quarterback constantly. the quarterback of the Green Bay Packers said this very thing. and read em' and run! Posted by Duece at 10:31 PM . Praise. Always start from the ground up. Realizing that many of these players have no idea about option football. and potentially turnovers. lift up your quarterback. afraid to trust their reads. or dish the ball off to an unguarded player. then tell him what you saw and correct accordingly. make it fun! Football. Remember.