Here is the seventh section in the ongoing series of the intricacies of scouting college quarterbacks.
I’ve felt for years and throughout my football career; as a player, coach and personnel executive, that many talented players have “withered on the vine” as a result of lack of reps. Coaches at every level are conceding the fact that they just don’t get enough time to place their players (especially quarterbacks) in situations and scenarios that allow them to read/react/respond to the action/situations/scenarios that confront them during competition.
Those quarterbacks that can take full advantage of their opportunity/ability to do just that are the ones that play on Saturdays and Sundays. Scouting expert John Westenhaver explains this vital aspect of the quarterback position.
If you missed Section 6 – MOBILITY/RUNNING ABILITY, click here.
Section 7 – Cognative Ability/Muscle Memory
These are two terms that must be defined and considered for various and obvious reasons.
Muscle Memory– Synonymous with motor learning that involves consolidating a specific motor task into memory through repetition. When a movement is repeated over time, a long-term muscle memory is created for that task, eventually allowing it to be performed without conscious effort. This process decreases the need for attention and creates maximum efficiency within the motor and MEMORY systems.
This can help the quarterback become very good at something through repetition, but in exactly the same way it can make him absolutely terrible at the same time. Muscle memory does not judge good or bad, however, and so if the qfuarterback has a history of poor performance in one or many parts of his game he is inevitably going to make the same mistakes at the pro level that he made in his formative years.
This is not only bad because he has wasted his time learning (or not being coached properly) improperly. When the quarterback repeats mistakes again and again, he builds negative, less than functional muscle memory. The key to building good muscle memory is to focus on the quality of the quantity.
These two factors greatly influence the quarterback’s efficiency and consistency.
Areas of Consideration:
- Ability to learn the playbook. If he is to be considered the backup quarterback, given that he will have few practice reps, how much of the offense can he implement?
- How quickly and functionally can the quarterback process information?
- Does his instinctive ability compensate for any indecisiveness that the quarterback has, and can the quarterback in a reasonable amount of time overcome his lack of decisive tendencies?
- Is the quarterback able to “site read” the defensive fronts and coverage prior to the snap?
- In his “progression reads” is the quarterback able to make the proper adjustments and throws? How deep in to the “progression” does he go? Does he have full field or half field vision? Does he predetermine his target void of reading the coverage?
- Describe his ball distribution vertically and horizontally and does the quarterback have a certain receiver preference?
- Can the quarterback correctly adjust the preferred ball location relative to the defenders position on the receiver?
- Is the quarterback coachable in regard to correcting his “bad muscle memory” habits?
- Is the quarterback aware of game situations (D-D, Clock, etc.)
Up Next – Scouting College Quarterbacks – PRODUCTION