In all of my research, over a period of many decades, the finest information I’ve ever read on quarterback leadership came from my friend Frank Carideo. The purpose of this information was to outline the procedure by which a quarterback was trained in Notre Dame, under coach Knute Rockne. This class of quarterbacking was as 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 want his facial expressions to indicate to your team and your opponents’ team that he not only knows what he will do next, but he is going to do it successfully, for all that they can do to stop him.
C. Be sure he understands that this is just an air. It’s a role he’s playing. It isn’t himself that you need to be cocky; it is the Quarterback. You do not want your boys to be too cocky. There’s a limit, and he must know it.
His job is to irritate the members of the other team, not his own. You want to have that cocky air at all times–and on the practice area is one of the times.
- You would like a Quarterback using a transparent, staccato voice. You want a voice that is forceful and decisive. You want it to be recognized by your team as the command of one who is going to lead his army someplace to a certain objective. You want it to be recognized by the enemy as the voice of a person who is going to accomplish that objective with his military, no matter what may be done by everyone 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 don’t want him to show at any moment, at any time whatever, he is in doubt about his next move. And, you don’t want him to show that he is worried or communicate such a feeling to his group. Anxiety this point–though we are beaten–and at times badly–we will never become demoralized.
- The fourth law of generalship is a vital one: Observation, at all times, of the defensive alignment of the resistance. Have him observe at all times and ask himself the question: Who made the tackle? Also those who weren’t in on the tackles. Try to observe any glaring weakness in the defensive line or at the secondary. Especially on passes. Illustration on a charging half back and shooting line backer.
- Choice of plays. Recall what plays have been going successfully and, of equal importance, those that have failed to gain ground. If plays gain ground they should be utilized until the defense shifts about to meet them. Then it will be time to resort to other plays. There is no law against returning to the successful plays in the future if conditions warrant.
- The sixth law enters the field of generalship and strategy. At all times the Quarterback must keep his plays in order order. Some plays are to be utilised as checks, others as feelers. Occasionally it may be necessary to sacrifice a play to make the ones that are to follow powerful. This, of course, necessitates a quarterback’s looking a ways forward.
- The seventh and final law is one of precaution. Whenever in doubt, your Quarterback should do one of two things. The most natural is to kick. The other would be to call time out and ask the linemen for advice regarding the alignment and qualities of the defensive linemen. More often you will punt when in doubt. Punting is almost always the safe procedure.