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Author Information

Founder and Owner of the Flexbone Association. Since 2007 we have provided the tools necessary for teams to succeed running the Flexbone Association System. Over the last ten years over 200 teams have been instructed by the Flexbone Association. I've consulted with teams and or run camps everywhere from Belfair, WA to Key West, FL. The Flexbone Association strives daily to help coaches succeed with this time tested offense, I have been a football coach for 16 seasons, currently at Harrison High School in Kennesaw, GA I played at St. Mary's Springs High School in Fond du Lac, WI under legendary head coach Bob Hyland. I've been fortunate to be part of five state championship teams (1997,1998,2002,2011,2012). In 2011-2012 St. Mary's Springs led the state of Wisconsin in scoring and set consecutive school records for points scored, Psalm 27

Your Quarterback and the Decision Making Process

rickydobbsThe ability to make the decisions to execute an offense is the true measure of a quarterback. Quarterbacking is decision-making, and this skill is heightened in the Flexbone Offense. The quarterbacks’ decisions win or lose football games. Regardless of the style of an offense a coach designs, it has no chance of success unless the quarterback makes a significant number of correct decisions. Athletic ability, along with mental and physical toughness are key ingredients in a quality quarterback. However, a quarterback with these qualities will never get on the field when he doesn’t possess the decision-making ability which allows the offense to move the ball. In the Flexbone Offense, the quarterback makes the offense click. As he goes, so goes the offense. This is the ultimate deciding factor for a Flexbone Quarterback. This is why you can get by with a quarterback who’s not the most athletic kid on the team, but you cannot get by with the most athletic kid on the team, if that kid does not make correct decisions. 

The most important and difficult technique to coach in any offense is the quarterback’s decision-making. The difficulty arises in preparing the quarterback for the numerous variables, either offensively or defensively, which influence the quarterback’s decisions. The quarterback’s decision-making in an option offense is the key to success because of the number of decisions an option quarterback must make in a game. To be a successful decision-maker the quarterback must be coached to understand and execute a simple and logical decision-making process. This is why Flexbone quarterbacks must be taught in an if-then fashion. For example. If the dive key can tackle the fullback, I will pull the ball. If the safety flies upfield on play-action pass, I will throw the post.

031004-N-5596B-002A quarterback can’t be expected to be one hundred percent correct with his decisions. In football that is impossible when twenty-two players react on the snap of the ball. The most important result, when the quarterback makes a wrong decision is that the offense still has the ball when the play is over. If the quarterback still maintains ball security after an incorrect decision, it will not be a total loss for the offense.  

The quarterback must understand he will make X number of wrong decisions in the course of a game. Those X number of wrong decisions are acceptable if the offense has possession of the football when the whistle blows to end the play. An offense can recover from a quarterback’s wrong decision, but often can’t recover from a turnover. Turnovers are momentum changing plays. A three and out and a poor punt does not elicit the same mental and emotional reaction from both teams. If we throw a long pass and it gets intercepted, I’ve often heard coaches say “That’s just like a punt for us anyway. They are getting the ball at the same spot.” That is true but the change in emotion and mental status after the interception will give the defense a decided advantage.

Regardless of how complex double or triple option decisions appear those decisions aren’t complex when a simple, logical decision-making process is coached, practiced and applied in a game. In an option offense the quarterback must have the decision-making tools to minimize the risks in an option offense. A mentally prepared quarterback is one that can make the same decisions in a game-like situation as he would in a classroom or on the practice field. For an option quarterback to consistently make the proper decisions, he must be coached to:

1. Make one way decisions
2. Pre-snap read the defense
3. Understand the perimeter of the defense

More on these points in future articles.

Feature Photo: (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)

Josh Nesbitt Photo: (AP Photo/Phil Coale)

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