One of the greatest ironies in the modern age of high school's throwing the ball 50 times a game is that quarterbacks are less prepared for the college game than ever before. In speaking with a college coach yesterday, he mentioned to me that many of his quarterbacks take at least 2-3 years before they are even fundamentally ready to play. Unfortunately, most are pressed into action before that.
Part of the reason for the lack of preparedness are off-season 7 on 7s. While these can be a great tool for quarterbacks to learn progressions, develop timing, work on fundamentals, etc, if they aren't used properly they tend to lead to lazy quarterback play and bad habits. If you go to these 7 on 7s with the intention of getting better, looking at the process, and working on progressions and timing, you'll most likely get better. However, a lot of these teams play at 7 on 7s with the mindset of winning over progressing, and since there's no pass rush the QBs tend to just stand in the pocket and wait for long developing routes and force the defense to cover for a full 4 seconds (or whatever the sack count is, if there is one). When a team let's their passing game go that direction, we lose the art of timing and throwing in rhythm.
Throwing in rhythm, meaning throwing to our first read right when we hit the back step of our drop, is a crucial skill for a quarterback to have and an important part of the drop back passing game. When we throw in rhythm, we normally throw before the receiver makes his break, making it difficult to defend when done right, and we put less pressure on the offensive line to protect for extended periods. Knowing and setting up the in rhythm read also sets up all the progressions that come after it. However, most commonly, quarterbacks drop back, and either bounce or pat their feet as if standing on hot coals, and try to scan the field. This is the in vogue, but lazy, way of running a drop back passing game, looking at windows in a particular order, but with no sense of timing. And, when we allow ourselves to fall back into this, we really on having better athletes than everyone else, especially up front where the line would need to protect for a much longer time.
So, right now, at the beginning of your off-season, begin working on throwing the ball in rhythm, and make a conscious effort as you work on your footwork to make sure each step counts; we shouldn't be bouncing or running our feet because it looks "legit," we should be matching our footwork to our reads, starting with your in rhythm routes. Don't fall into bad habits at 7 on 7s.
Quarterback Coach Alex Drayson will put up articles, thoughts, and reviews to help you stimulate your journey towards being the best QB you can be