In all of my research, over a period of many decades, the finest information I have ever read on quarterback leadership came from my buddy Frank Carideo. The objective of this information was to summarize the procedure by which a quarterback was trained in Notre Dame, under coach Knute Rockne. This class of quarterbacking was exacting in several respects as any collegiate course.
- A Quarterback must maintain a cocky air at all times.
a. You need your Quarterback to show other teams that he knows what he will do next–there isn’t a little doubt in his mind about what he will do on the next play.
b. You need his facial expressions to signify to a team and your opponents’ team that he not only knows what he is going to do next, but he is going to do it successfully, for all that they can do to stop him.
C. Be sure he knows that this is merely an air. It’s a role he is playing. It isn’t himself which you need to be cocky; it’s the Quarterback. You don’t want your boys to be overly fussy. There’s a limit, and he must know it.
He might offend the members of his own team. His job is to irritate the members of another group, not his own. You want that cocky air at all times–and on the practice area is one of those times.
- You want a Quarterback using a transparent, staccato voice. You want a voice that’s forceful and decisive. You want it to be heard and to be understood when it’s heard. You want it to be recognized by your own team as the command of one who’s going to lead his army someplace to a certain objective. You want it to be recognized by the enemy as the voice of one who is going to accomplish that objective with his military, no matter what might be done by anyone to stop it.
- This third law is a variation of the first. You want your Quarterback to know what he is going to do next and to do it. You do not want him to show at any moment, at any time whatever, he is in doubt about his next move. Additionally, you don’t want him to show that he’s worried or communicate any such feeling to his team. Anxiety this point–though we are beaten–and at times badly–we shall never become demoralized.
- Have him observe constantly and ask himself the question: Who made the tackle? Also those that were not in on the tackles. Try to observe any glaring weakness in the defensive line or in the secondary. Illustration on a charging half back and shooting line backer.
- Choice of plays. If plays gain ground they should be utilized until the defense shifts about to fulfill them. Then it will be time to resort to other plays. There is no law against returning to the successful plays later on if conditions warrant.
- The sixth law enters the sphere of generalship and plan. At all times the Quarterback must maintain his plays in sequence order. Some plays are to be used as checksothers as feelers. Occasionally it may be necessary to sacrifice a play to make those that are to follow successful. This, of course, requires a quarterback’s looking a long way ahead.
- The seventh and last law is one of precaution. Whenever in doubt, your Quarterback should do one of two things. The other is to call time out and ask the linemen for advice concerning the alignment and characteristics of the defensive linemen. Punting is nearly always the safe procedure.