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Saturday, February 07, 2009

Smart Notes - Feb 7, 2009

1. The Future of coaching quarterbacks. Coach Darin Slack, in response to a question about quarterbacks with a sort-of three-fourths or quasi-side arm delivery versus a more vertical one. Slack recommends the more vertical release:

[Peyton] Manning's attack angle of his elbow allows his wrist to come through tighter . . . . That coupled with the accelerating torque of the turn, he gets power and accuracy on a more consistent basis [than most other quarterbacks].

Warner and Romo, can be very similar in their approaches. [T]he one who extends better than the other more consistently will overcome the[ir] flat[] release[s]. It still goes back to discipline, no matter how you slice.

The biggest difference [between these quarterbacks] is that Manning has a bigger margin of error with his throwing motion. This means that he can fail at some part of his move and he will still have more room to recover in [his] extension -- simply because the "around" stress put on his elbow is reduced because his elbow location is better. This allow[s] arm extension to occur easier.

The other thing to note, is Romo's increasingly curled wrist. [T]his weaker wrist position makes it much more difficult, if not impossible at times, [for him] to extend. You just cannot physically extend a curled wrist.

So, the bottom line. Kurt [Warner] and Tony [Romo], due to their lower elbow positions, have less room to make mistake in their moves even though their elbows are still forward of the shoulders. This can result in greater failure [rates] if they do not maintain discipline in extension.

Peyton has a much greater probability of success due to the reduced stress on his elbow, his better positioned tricep for extension, and his more vertical attack angle. Any pressure applied [by, for example, a pass rusher] may reduce some of Peyton's advantage, but everyone does less than they should under pressure, so the consistency, accuracy, and velocity advantage remains with Peyton.

But hey, who is in the SuperBowl? So much for coaching, right?

Now, the mistake here [for a young quarterback] would be to say, well, just get your elbow higher. That isn't the answer by itself. Peyton's elbow is not only higher, but more forward of his shoulder -- and that is where the rubber hits the road for muscular function . . . and that is why we teach differently than the common approach. To understand and apply [it] is to control the feel and self correction of flight. Why? because when you fail to get to zero [or the original position], no matter who you are, the resulting failure is consistent for everyone -- automatically, no matter what age, regardless of professional status, or skill. . . .

Just one final thought, the magic formula to all of this isn't rote visual copycat, it is understanding the timing and acceleration of the elbow, and how the feet and body support that. If you can crack the code on this, you will begin to appreciate the incredible difference you will see in your kids. . . .

These guys are pros, so they just get it done. Our kids are not, but they need this understanding all the more, and dare I say it, so do many coaches.

Slack knows what he's talking about. Some of his ideas are quite novel, while others are merely the best of what has been consistently taught in the past. The reason it works so well is that he has developed a language and teaching method to improve quarterbacks. I talk a lot on here about schemes, but you have to have a guy who can throw the ball accurately. If you have a John Elway, fine, but most quarterbacks are very poorly taught. And at the high school level, it is on the coaching to turn a guy who is a non-QB and turn him into one, to improve the mediocre quarterback, and to make the good ones great. I agree to a small degree with the "leave well enough alone," but that is also no excuse to abdicate duties. No one says about a lineman, "Hey, he's a natural. Don't tinker with him too much." But they say it all the time with quarterbacks.

2. Whither A-11? These are only rumors, but the rumor-mill is that the high school football federation rules -- which govern most but not all states (the others use NCAA-like rules) -- have settled on changing the rule governing the "scrimmage kick exception" to conform with NCAA rules. No big deal right? Well, if true (the results of the January meeting won't be public for a few weeks) it would mean that the A-11 offense, as currently used with extra eligible jersey wearing players lined up behind the line who then step up onto the line before the snap to disguise who is and who is not eligible, would be illegal in nearly every state and every level of football.

The word further is that this has not made the A-11's creators, Kurt Bryan and Steve Humphries, very happy. Their proposal so far has been to encourage individual schools who want to run the A-11 to break off from their state football leagues (making them ineligible for state playoffs) and form a kind of national, A-11 compatible league. The details of such a proposal are manifold, but teams from different states often play each other, but they agree on the rules in advance (for example, cut blocking is illegal in many states but legal in Texas and some others). But these are usually exhibition style games, and it is a heavy price if a team is willing to secede and forego their own state playoff opportunities simply to run a particular type of offense. It's unclear how different the rules there would be, too. (If a new league, why not require only four ineligible guys and and another receiver truly eligible? You could run a five wide offense with a quarterback and a runningback.) I really have no news other than the rumor-mill (hey, what are blogs for?), but it will be interesting to see how this develops.

3. NFL Overtime, Continued. Slate's "Undercover Economist" Tim Hartford has proposed that the team who gets the ball (and where) should be determined by auction. For example, the referee could start naming off yard lines. He'd start at the one and keep moving up. When one of the coaches was willing to take the ball on offense at that yard-line, he throws a flag or makes a signal. For example, one coach might think the twenty was acceptable, another might prefer to take it as far back as the fifteen.

The Sabermetric site notes that this might actually get boring, because a consensus would emerge about what the yard line was. But I'm not entirely sure: wouldn't say, the Baltimore Ravens and Arizona Cardinals have different thought processes going into such an auction? One being defensive minded (and not likely to want to drive the entire field, but happy to pin the other team back), and the other likely to want the ball one way or another. But I could be wrong.

Partially because as much as I enjoy these proposals they are unlikely to persuade the folks that need persuasion (the NFL Commissioner and his staff and the owners), so I support settling overtime by making the winner the first team to score six points. That would up the drama on those quick field goals, but also retains the penalty if the other team scores a touchdown on you.


Anonymous said...

Great to see another post. I'm going through football withdrawl already. I'm a pretty regular reader of CoachHuey as well and I find the "A-11 only" league to be kind of preposterous. The argument that others made on Huey about "what happens when a new coach comes in and wants to go back to the wing-t/wishbone/insert any other offense?" seems to be why this will never take off. Are ADs, school boards, parents, booster clubs, etc. willing to spend the money, as well as put other sports in jeopardy simply to run a novel and fairly impractical offense? Bryan has for whatever reason refused to address these very pertinent questions. IMHO the A-11 is nothing more than a gimmick. As others have said, run the old BYU or Emory and Henry formations. You can stay within the letter AND the spirit of the law while still having the deception that the A-11 proponents say is vital to their offense.

Sorry for the rant. Just my two cents' worth of free opinion.

Mr.Murder said...

Romo brings his outer fingers off the ball. Didn't play with a hand injury to his throw hand a year back?

Wrist/schmist, his hand is in a different position for the fingers used on grip and he's turning over his follow through.

The wrist can be forward on deeper throws, 3/4 will give the ball lift but it must be an overhand delivery to compliment the ball nose being tilted up. Doing it from 3/4 is likely to sail the pass attempt.

Anonymous said...

Instead of an auction, sealed bids for the start of overtime. Each coach writes a number from 1 to 50 on a notecard and the captain carries it out to midfield.

The lowest number gets the ball first on that yardline. In case of a tie, the visitors get the ball.

Quicker, plus you get the hilarity of a coach underbidding by 20 yards.

Unknown said...

Very late thought, but I just Slack at the Glazier Clinic in Seattle. His stuff is very impressive and quite different than what anyone else is talking about. That being said the most important thing he argues is the reduction of stress on the joints...longevity. However, I'm convincded that if your QB can throwm from 0-position 90% of the time he'll do better than the competition.

Anonymous said...

Instead you will culture ways to get similar effects from the a-11 in your system.

Gibbs style single back, Mahlzahn style shotgun, run and shoot forms and concepts all combined.
More horizontal emphasis, using pitchs to offsets on the side yopu go like the true option off a read on the EMLOS.

Most people see 50 or 60 yards they think 60 yards.

I see eight to twelve shallow passes each taking up 20 to 30 yards of space horizontally. They've gone 160 to 240 or more yards to stop your getting those sixty net yards.