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Texas_D_Coach

Choosing Your Starting Qb's?

42 posts in this topic

Hello Everyone,

Well we had our first practice for the winter league we are playing in this year. This is my first season as head coach and also my first season as offensive coordinator (after coaching defense for several seasons). Luckily I have a parent on the team who has head coached quite a bit so he is taking over the defense for me.

Here's my dilemma. We have only 7 kids on our team (it's a 5 on 5 league), and 4 have them have several seasons of flag football under their belt, and I have 3 who are totally new flag football.

After the first practice I was actually quite impressed that all of them can throw and catch pretty good, but now I need to decide how to handle the QB situation.

I think almost all of the kids could probably handle the QB position, but the 4 returners definitely have stronger more accurate arms.

I would like to get the QB chosen and let him have a majority of scrimmage plays before our 1st game the next day.

My plan right now is to do some pass pattern drills in our next practice and let all the kids "try out" (although it will be just another drill to the kids), and see who has the most accurate arm, best drop back and handoff skills. My worry is that it seems to me we won't know who handles the pressure best until after the scrimmage.

We have 1.5 hours to practice before our 1st game so my time to decide is limited.

Also 2 of the 4 returners are my son and the other coaches son so I don't want to make it look like they are getting special treatment.

HELP!!!

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Coaching Youth Fooball - Football Plays
I would like to get the QB chosen and let him have a majority of scrimmage plays before our 1st game the next day. My worry is that it seems to me we won't know who handles the pressure best until after the scrimmage.
To me that pressure situation is a key factor in choosing a good QB. The arm strength and ability to make clean handoffs/pitches is important, but I've found that having a kid who can be cool under pressure is a huge asset. My best QB turned out to be one of my younger players just because he didn't panic. This kid was cool with minimal interceptions and the ability to ad-lib when things went wrong. He also had the ability to pull off more complicated plays with less instruction.

If it were me, I'd pick one or two and pressure them in practice with some good rushes. You probably won't know for sure until after the first game which kid will perform the best.

I wouldn't worry too much about people thinking you're favoring one kid over another. Having a good QB allows everyone on offense more opportunities for successful ball touches. I tried the "everyone plays QB" theory my first yr of coaching during my first game and it was a disaster. Too many fumbles, bad passes and blown plays. Kids were very frustrated. We always try and give everyone a chance to play QB during the season, but I try and choose those opportunities wisely.

Curious what age group you'll be coaching?

CRob

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Curious what age group you'll be coaching?

CRob

Thanks for the input Rob. I'm coaching 3rd/4th grade kids so 8-9 yrs old.

Hopefully during the scrimmage I can get a better idea of how the different kids handle a rusher.

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This here is my specialty sirrrr

Haha this is seriously my favorite part about getting started in the new season

I love coaching quarterbacks

My main thing with QB is the most competitive but calm kid.I want a kid who is going to have that attitude were he knows he can do it and doesnt doubt his abilities.Even if he doesnt have the best arm or accuracy.I want him to be able to know the plays and know whats going to happen yet relaxed on the field.

If i have find a QB who cant throw it down the field thats fine i will make the offense work but I just need that 1 special kid who just has "it"

Luckily out of 9 seasons i've been able to have success this way...

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This here is my specialty sirrrr

Haha this is seriously my favorite part about getting started in the new season

I love coaching quarterbacks

My main thing with QB is the most competitive but calm kid.I want a kid who is going to have that attitude were he knows he can do it and doesnt doubt his abilities.Even if he doesnt have the best arm or accuracy.I want him to be able to know the plays and know whats going to happen yet relaxed on the field.

If i have find a QB who cant throw it down the field thats fine i will make the offense work but I just need that 1 special kid who just has "it"

Luckily out of 9 seasons i've been able to have success this way...

Thanks Rush,

How many practices or games does it take for you to decide? Can you get it done in just a couple of practices?

I don' see how I can make a good decision until after I've let them play a game situation. Scrimmaging might give me enough info to go on...

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Just depends on the QB.I usually have it done by the end of the 2nd practice though.I always get 4 practice in before the first game.So that give me 2 full practices to work on things.I will always have him rushed to see how he does.Then make adjustments the last practice before the game to fix his issues with the rush.

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I agree--the QB is your most important position.

I would advise the following:

Pick two and no more than two. Pick your smartest player and the one with the best arm---if they are the same player---then someone is smiling down on you! :-)

My son (nepotism, you know) is our starting QB. Simply put, he can lead the offense. He knows all of the plays, how to execute them in tandem with his teammates, he runs the hurry up offense when needed (remembers mulitple plays and explains to the team at the line what to do in our "code"), etc.

His arm strength is ranked about middle of the team (I had 12 players) but he lost his confidence throwing this season. Yet when I need someone to run the offense, be cool, and ensure our plays were crisp----he is my QB.

The other player I had at QB was older and had the best arm. He did not pick up the complexities of the offense, and his job was to THROW when he was on the field. I think the key is to know when you want to execute a certain style of offense: a crisp, advanced offense--or a big play "playground" offense that can score one a single play, and with that comes a lot of risks. I personally like the former a little more, but it is also good to have a gunslinger on your team who can chunk it on defenses.

I know the popular belief is to "keep it simple", but I like to challenge my players, and thus put a LOT of responsibility in our QB position. He is the leader of the offense. The play starts and ends with him, and his teammates rely on him for their success or failure (sorry I am sounding like John Facenda again). :-)

Whatever you do---if you find a QB that can sling it down the field, just be sure you have one or more players that can catch it. Ha!

Good luck. Please let us know how you do---this is a good topic and I appreciate hearing what you, Rushbuster, and everyone else has to say on the subject. We are all here to learn.

Thanks!

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Thanks for the advice guys. Our 2nd practice is tomorrow and our 1st game is Sunday, so I'll keep you updated of how things go.

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I agree with the guys who say whoever performs better under pressure. My best qb was maybe the 4th or 5th best throwing the ball in drills (out of 11). If I had decided based solely on that he'd have never seen a snap. Fortunately he played as qb the prior season so I knew what to expect. Even so I began the season thinking someone else would be our main qb. He's reasonably accurate but others can throw better for sure. His arm strength is average at best. But place him in a pressure game situation and something transforms. He has "it," whatever "it" is. He has a confidence and competitiveness that is hard to explain. When others hesitate, he makes a decision, usually the right one. He's bold and is not afraid to take chances. His mind works faster than anyone out there.

Here is an extreme example of what I saw from a kid that is a very good thrower and the qb I described above. The qb above gets the play and then walks to the los with confidence, looks up and down at his players making sure they are ready. He'll survey the defense and maybe even wink at the rusher (he told me he did that once). My good thrower gets the play and then makes a beeline towards the los, eyes focused on the center. He begins the snap count regardless of whether everyone is lined up or not. He executes the play in a tunnel. The good qb can improvise on a broken play where the thrower cannot. There are lots of shades in between the two, my point is there is so much more to being a qb than throwing.

I'd let several play in the scrimmage to sort out those that can handle it. They will separate themselves.

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This season our league seemed to be less of a "passing" league as compared with last.

Last season there were 4-5 teams that threw most of the time, and had some QBs that could sling it very far. The key was they also had players who could catch it. No team was really able to consistently move it in the air this season that I saw. We played one team (twice) and they threw 99% of the time. The problem was that none of his receivers could catch 15+ yard passes---but they kept throwing it. It almost became comical. He would just drop back, wait, and then chunk it as far as he could. I don't think they even made a first down in either game we played them.

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This season our league seemed to be less of a "passing" league as compared with last.

Last season there were 4-5 teams that threw most of the time, and had some QBs that could sling it very far. The key was they also had players who could catch it. No team was really able to consistently move it in the air this season that I saw. We played one team (twice) and they threw 99% of the time. The problem was that none of his receivers could catch 15+ yard passes---but they kept throwing it. It almost became comical. He would just drop back, wait, and then chunk it as far as he could. I don't think they even made a first down in either game we played them.

Funny you should mention that John. That is exactly why I decided to head coach this season. The head coach I was assisting last season did the same exact thing, chunking the ball way down field on almost every down. I don't think we ran a running play all season long. Ha!!

So I'm going to try it my way this season. short passes, some quick slants and center drags, a few end arounds and reverses, and the occasional long bomb for fun.

I agree that the QB being good under pressure is paramount. Now I've just got to sort out who those couple of kids are...

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Well we lost our 1st game yesterday 12-6. All in all we played OK, but we had a lot of dropped passes and 2 dropped interceptions that would have definitely made a difference. I tried 3 different kids at QB, and 2 of them played well. The third had the deer in headlights look when the rusher came at him so I doubt he play QB again this season.

The other team were a little bigger than our guys and very fast, and had a couple of guys who could catch really well, but we stopped them most of the time. Their 2 scores were on long runs where we missed the runners flags at the line and then he outran us.

They sent a blitzer at us almost every down, and that really threw a curve for us. We only started learning the playbook saturday and alot of little things caused us to misfire a few times.

We had a dropped snap on one possession, we tried running a few end arounds and reverses, but their blitzer was fast and we didn't execute the handoff deep enough in the backfield or perform the handoff quick enough. We had at leat 4 passes hit the recievers in the hands and then got dropped. Several times the recievers ran their routes and were covered, and our QB had nowhere to go with the ball and a blitzer in his face.

The one play that we scored on worked really well for us. It was a balanced play (WR left and right), with the QB in shotgun and the RB standing right beside the QB. QB takes the handoff and hads it off to the RB who can then run or throw depending on what he sees. It worked great against the blitz because the RB could take off into the gap left by the blitzer. I'm definitely going to practice that one more this week until we have it down perfect. Could be our bread and butter play this year.

Definitely have plenty of things to get corrected, but the kids had fun. Looks like we'll be competitive once we get the kinks worked out.

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For me it's always good to get that first one under your belt. It really gives you the ability to see where you stand and to determine what you as a coach have failed to teach them and what you have succeeded in teaching them.

You find out pretty quickly where your strengths and weakness are and you progress from there. Sometime if I have coached in the league before or played a particular team in the past I kind of have a feel for how we are going to compare to the rest of the league.

I think it is important to keep the focus on the progress of your players skill development and not on the outcomes of the games. Regardless of your next game outcome did your players get better? I have fun with this myself as so many of my parents just don't see the big picture. We will struggle with something against a good team and then work on it over and over again in practice and the next week we play a weaker team and do well and my parents will come up and congratulate on how much better we did, etc and I am thinking we won but we made the same mistakes as we did the week before. I think that is also a point to make and that is that you have to have patience and know that somethings will not change overnight.

Good Luck with your season.

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For the end arounds, bring the wideout in motion. Work on the timing to make sure you take the snap when the receiver is about 5 yards from the qb. And teach the receiver to stutter step if he gets there too soon. That's really the only way to get off the handoff and avoid a fast rush with the end around. Make sure to bring the receiver in motion and fake it just as often.

Having completed my season, next time I will have 75%+ of my plays executing before the rush is a factor. Everything will be fast.

Also, my favorite play was from a balanced set under center. Receivers run long patterns and the halfback runs a wheel route towards either side. The qb looks and fake pumps long then hits the halfback at the los by the sideline. This play is executable before the rush is a factor and stretches the defenders out. Eventually the corners will sit home and then you can try to hit a long flag or go route.

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Having completed my season, next time I will have 75%+ of my plays executing before the rush is a factor. Everything will be fast.

Thanks for the advice guys.

I agree with you about getting the ball off fast (something we were unable to do this week). I really paid attention to the Colts plays you put up a few weeks ago and how successful they were getting the play off in a hurry, so I based half my playbook on that concept.

Also, my favorite play was from a balanced set under center. Receivers run long patterns and the halfback runs a wheel route towards either side. The qb looks and fake pumps long then hits the halfback at the los by the sideline. This play is executable before the rush is a factor and stretches the defenders out. Eventually the corners will sit home and then you can try to hit a long flag or go route.

I have that exact play in my playbook, although it didn't work as planned in the game because the QB didn't look for him fast enough with the rush (he was looking fo rother recievers first, we will practice that this week too).

Here is my playbook that I put together for this season. I will be tweaking it throughout the season depending on what I learn.

My goal this season is to give each player 2 primary positions based on their skills, and let them switch between them during the game based on who subs in and out. That way it will be easier in the huddle to get them lined up and they already know what to do on each play.

Winter_Flag_Football_Plays.ppt

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The plays look good. One suggestion I have is the last play. The way it works best is for the center to delay and run underneath the other receivers cutting across the field. I'd have the center run a shallower pattern just past the los and maybe count to 1-2 before taking off. Also, the qb should not roll. Instead have him maybe take a 2-3 step drop and look like he's throwing it to one of the crossing receivers. The defenders will all bite towards the middle and the center should be open to the outside. You have to start teaching the qbs to look off the defenders, it really opens up the D.

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The plays look good. One suggestion I have is the last play. The way it works best is for the center to delay and run underneath the other receivers cutting across the field. I'd have the center run a shallower pattern just past the los and maybe count to 1-2 before taking off. Also, the qb should not roll. Instead have him maybe take a 2-3 step drop and look like he's throwing it to one of the crossing receivers. The defenders will all bite towards the middle and the center should be open to the outside. You have to start teaching the qbs to look off the defenders, it really opens up the D.

Great tips Orange. I'll definitely try that.

Our QB's definitely need some coaching, and this is one area where we can vastly improve.

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UUUGGGHHH!!!

Today I feel like Charlie Brown trying to kick the dreaded football that keeps getting pulled out of the way at the last second!!

Well we lost our second game today, and in this one we got creamed...30-0.

Basically I am feeling very frustrated with our team, because yesterday in practice we went over all of the plays and practiced them for an hour, and today we just couldn't seem to get the passing game going at all.

We threw 2 interceptions (one of them was on a 3rd down at the opponents goal line so it really was a wash), but the other one came at the hands of my son who threw it into the middle of the field when I emphasized NOT to do that...

It didn't help that our defense gave up 2 single play touchdowns to the other team. Although we did get one interception late in the game.

I'll add more detail later...

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Don't let it get you down (which I know is easy to do). Be agile and as the season moves on you'll be able to figure out what is working vs what is not working. Even if your team gets drilled in every game this season, as long as your team plays "as a team" and has fun--good things will happen.

Think "Bad News Bears". ;-)

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Don't let it get you down (which I know is easy to do). Be agile and as the season moves on you'll be able to figure out what is working vs what is not working. Even if your team gets drilled in every game this season, as long as your team plays "as a team" and has fun--good things will happen.

Think "Bad News Bears". ;-)

Thanks John.

I'm attaching my revised playbook, as I've revised my plays since I posted it last. After the last game I moved the QB back into shotgun for every play to give hime more time to get the ball and make decisions. That part seemed to improve since the last game. The big problem I'm still having though, as that when I try to run the end arounds or reverses, the blitzer is meeting us in the backfield at the handoff. I'm having the man in motion run on set, but it just seems like the handoff is taking longer than it should. I know that we can smooth it out a bit more in practice, but I am second guessing the end around plays now with this team.

The team we played kept a man on man defense the whole time, but even with the couple of misdirection plays I have we couldn't move the ball passing. The only play that worked were the first 2 where the QB hands off to the RB and then he runs. After a while they started spying the RB so even those plays wouldn't work.

I am proud that I kept true to my philosophy of getting everybody the ball as much as possible, rather than just handing it to our most talented kid on every play. It's hard to lose like that though...

Maybe we just need more practice to get them to be second nature to the kids.

I'm also having trouble getting the kids out of the huddl efast enough. What I do is show each kid thir position (I have them color coded),and give them a quick run down on what I want them to do. I switch up players almost every play to spread the ball around. Should I just assign each kid one position for a whole drive? That's what I'm thinking of doing from now on.

Winter_Flag_Football_Plays.ppt

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The big problem I'm still having though, as that when I try to run the end arounds or reverses, the blitzer is meeting us in the backfield at the handoff.
One option is to fake the end around once in a while and throw a center drag or center fly pattern, especially if the rusher is biting every time on the end around. Another is to pull your end in a bit so he's closer to the QB. Before our league allowed the QB to run, we'd have someone else play QB and pitch or hand it to our regular QB giving him the option to run if the rusher was too fast.
Maybe we just need more practice to get them to be second nature to the kids.
End arounds aren't the easiest play to run sometimes because of the coordination it takes to pull it off. Think you got it though, practicing that exchange over and over again with the end running full blast. Definitely takes lots of practice.
I'm also having trouble getting the kids out of the huddl efast enough. What I do is show each kid thir position (I have them color coded),and give them a quick run down on what I want them to do. I switch up players almost every play to spread the ball around. Should I just assign each kid one position for a whole drive? That's what I'm thinking of doing from now on.
We use color coding, but usually only have the play going to one person. So really that one person needs to know the play, the rest of them are running color coded dummy routes so to speak unless they're involved in a fake to set up the real play. No talking in the huddle except coach and practicing the plays should help. We've even asked players to show up 30 minutes early to practice and used that for just running plays over and over again. I do use certain plays for specific players which helps the huddle time (i.e. the simple plays go to my weaker players and the harder ones to my better players).
We threw 2 interceptions (one of them was on a 3rd down at the opponents goal line so it really was a wash), but the other one came at the hands of my son who threw it into the middle of the field when I emphasized NOT to do that...
I just uploaded some new plays, check out FLOOD from my playbook. FLOOD is a great play to satisify the pass requirement, help take out the rusher and minimize the interception possibility. We try hard to throw only short sure passes and I tell my QBs to throw it away rather than risk the interception. Doesn't always work out, but we made huge improvements after throwing crucial intercepts in our first few games.
I am proud that I kept true to my philosophy of getting everybody the ball as much as possible, rather than just handing it to our most talented kid on every play. It's hard to lose like that though...
Good for you. That's very tough to do esp when you're losing like that. I also agree with hollad6636 about showing improvement instead of getting too twisted up about the score. I'll bet you see some marked improvement as the weeks go along.

CRob

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Having the center snap the ball and then running a pattern straight towards the rusher tends to slow the rush down. You have to be careful that he doesn't intentionally pick the rusher but having someone coming at you full bore tends to slow you down or make you take a wider and longer path.

And kids will do the craziest things. Remember they are not professionals. My son was my best qb but every once in a while he'd throw a pick where I'd say. huh?! Like right to the defender with nobody else around. You just have to take it in stride.

If the ball is snapped when the wideout is in motion and within 3 yards from the qb, there is no way the rusher should be getting him in the backfield. Not every time. PRactice it over and over and over. Emphasize speed and timing. It takes a lot of practice but is beautiful when it works correctly.

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Maybe I'm different, but I don't have a starting QB, except in the playoffs and even then I play at least 3 different kids at the position. I like to see what kind of defense I'm facing and then move kids around to exploit that defense. If a team is not rushing anyone, I can put a "Drew Bledsoe" back there that can throw the ball pretty well, or who hasn't gotten to play the position much. If they're rushing extremely quickly, I put a more athletic player back there.

We only throw deep (longer than 10 yards) 3-4 times per game in our 10-12 y/o division, so I don't need a QB who can rifle the ball all over the field. Short passes and handoffs are the backbone of the offense. So just about anyone can play QB and we can adapt our plays to fit what they're capable of doing.

PF

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Having the center snap the ball and then running a pattern straight towards the rusher tends to slow the rush down. You have to be careful that he doesn't intentionally pick the rusher but having someone coming at you full bore tends to slow you down or make you take a wider and longer path.

This works quite effectively. We even had one team have their center run at my rusher with his fists together, elbows pointed straight out and the refs didn't call blocking. Make sure your center is discreet. Also, I always tell my center which way to steer the rusher by telling him which shoulder of his he should run at before cutting.

Another way is to make sure your QB uses his body to screen the rusher if at all possible. A smart kid will hand off the ball so that his body is between the rusher and the running back. If they're still getting there, you have to switch it up and do fake handoffs, which will get them and give your QB a lot of time.

And kids will do the craziest things. Remember they are not professionals. My son was my best qb but every once in a while he'd throw a pick where I'd say. huh?! Like right to the defender with nobody else around. You just have to take it in stride.

Shoot even professionals do the craziest things. Did you see McNabb missing receivers all day on Sunday? :)

If the ball is snapped when the wideout is in motion and within 3 yards from the qb, there is no way the rusher should be getting him in the backfield. Not every time. PRactice it over and over and over. Emphasize speed and timing. It takes a lot of practice but is beautiful when it works correctly.

Only thing I don't like about presnap motion to get the runner there is that it's a lot for the QB to think about and time. If the other team is having a rusher get there early, I will have my receivers move in so they're only 5-7 yards off the ball. Most kids only need 3-5 steps to be full speed it seems like. And Orange is right, if you can get end arounds to work effectively, your offense will dominate. Once they really start looking for it, fake end arounds, pass back to the QB, etc. It's the equivalent of between-the-tackles running success in tackle football.

PF

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We had our 3rd game yesterday. We lost 24-13, but I am very happy with the progress we made since the last game. The game was within 6 points until the last 4 minutes when the other team scored late to extend the lead.

We finally got the end around plays to work and we scored on one. We did a couple of things different this game which I think helped our offense.

First off we threw deep on the first play of the game (unsuccessfully), and again on 2 other plays in the game. I think that helped open up the running game and short pass game because it kept their defense guessing about the deep pass.

Also I tailored my substitutions by series so that I had plays better suited for the players I had in the game. I also mixed up the formations within series (running a mixture of trips right, twins right, and balanced with a RB). That also helped keep the defense off guard. Last week I tried to keep the same formations within series because I thought the kids would have trouble adjusting to different formations, but they had no problems with it.

The biggest problem we have right now is getting the QB's to find the open receivers. Several times we had guys wide open and the QB trying to force it into coverage. We'll have to work on this...

On defense I designated positions for the whole series. The defense played MUCH better this game, although they still missed quite a few flags and gave up the big play near the end of the game.

We only were able to practice an hour on Saturday due to the cold weather, so I am very happy with their performance.

The kids had a great time and it was good to see them having fun this week.

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