Coach's Corner: Stinson Dean 8/26

Stinson Dean

By Stinson Dean
Posted: August 25, 2010 - 11:19 PM

The Coach’s Corner is a place where several area coaches will give their views on the state of coaching at the high school level.


If you’re going to play quarterback from you armchair, you should know a few things first. I hear a lot of fans, parents of the backup QB, and even journalists try to critique the performance of the starting quarterback with very little knowledge of the position. Not to say you shouldn’t try to break down QB play, but you’ll you be better at it with some basic knowledge.


First, the quarterback must have five receivers run the correct routes, five offensive lineman blocking the correct people and coaches calling the correct plays to set them up for success.


So much of what affects a quarterback he has no control over. You’ll probably never know if the wideout was supposed to convert his route to a ‘go’, or sit down in zone coverage versus running through man coverage.


Also, I think every football fan should know some simple defensive concepts. In defensive coverages, the two safeties tell the QB exactly what all nine other defenders are doing. So, as an armchair QB, you can be reading the same thing as the kid on TV.  


Here is what he is looking for: two high safeties means one of two coverages...cover two or cover four. If there is one high safety, it means cover three or cover one. The easiest way to determine between two high versus one high is whether or not the middle of the field is open or closed. This tells the QB what side of the field to read.


The number associated with the coverage tells you how many defenders are deep. Cover two means two-deep, cover four means four-deep, etc.


If the middle of the field is open, that means cover two, middle of the field closed means cover three or one, and cover four changes from team to team based on how they protect the middle of the field. Some simple rules to follow in coverage weaknesses are if the middle of field is closed then the QB should be able to throw a route to the outside no problem, but if the middle of the field is open, that means to outside is double covered by a corner in the flat and a safety over the top.  


Now that you have this basic knowledge, if you see a quarterback throw a hitch to the outside and the middle of the field is open, then you’ll know why that was a mistake. If the middle of the field is closed and they try to throw a post over the middle, you’ll be able to say, “This noodle-arm QB doesn’t even see the middle of the field is closed. You can’t throw posts into cover three.”


I know I cringe when I hear some commentators on TV talking about quarterback decisions and throws. Playing QB is high praise, high fault position and deservedly so.  But knowing the position a little better can make you an all-everything armchair QB.


Stinson Dean is currently the quarterback coach at MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe, Kan., and played high school football for Blue Springs from 2000-2003, winning championships in 2001 and 2003.