I wrote a piece for StateoftheU.com (image below links to the piece) that covered the debate of whether to go live or non-contact on QB’s in spring scrimmages.
Here, I’m going to cover the method I use regarding contact and non-contact with QB’s and explain my reasoning behind my madness.
In the NFL, the players take enough hits and have proven themselves enough to never take contact in practice. I also think starting QB’s should get a quick whistle in pre-season games. At that level the QB is your money maker and without him you lose season ticket, single game ticket, TV advertising dollars and merchandise sales.
High school and College Quarterbacks are unproven entities. They haven’t ‘paid their dues’ so to speak and need to practice in a live setting, at least in bits and pieces. Now, does that setting have to be Junction Boys? Absolutely not. There are ways to protect your players, QB’s or otherwise, while still getting them a few live looks a day.
Below I’ve segmented our practice periods and have explained how to avoid player on player contact during those periods.
Individual Drills- The QB doesn’t have to take a single player to player hit in indy. I can see the coach chasing him with a shield or bag and giving him a pop in an option drill, or working his pass drops or sprint out. This cuts 20 minutes or so off his/her contact per day.
Pass Skel- Again, there’s no reason to hit a QB in pass skel. Use a shield or bag if you want the QB to throw under pressure but take the stress down for the player. This can cut another 10-20 minutes of contact off their day.
Spring/Camp Scrimmages- When we scrimmage in the spring or fall camp:
- Non-contact if the QB is in the pocket
- Contact if the QB is involved in a running play
- Contact if the QB is sprinting out
During the season we quick whistle anyway, and but we cut the contact down to only in called run plays can the QB be hit. This cuts the QB’s contact time down to less than 5 minutes per day which helps injury prevention, lowers stress loads on the athlete, and keeps him fresh for the games.
This creates the opportunity for the QB to feel live in-game action without having to take contact during the throwing process. Hits on his exposed elbow/shoulder mid-throw will be limited, and blindside hits should be as well. I need to see if the QB will read the flat defender and tuck and run in a sprint out. I also need to see him secure the ball in the running game as an option team.