Thursday, February 19, 2009
Mailbag question: Michigan quarterback coaching?
On the recent WTKA Signing Day show, Tate Forcier stated that he had learned an enormous amount from the coaches about playing quarterback, since he's arrived at Michigan. As quarterback growth is a major key to our future success, could you comment on the differences -- strengths and weaknesses -- you have seen between our current and past quarterback coaches?
You continue to be my favorite Michigan blog...!
Thanks for the question and the comment!
This is tough because you're asking for a comparison of apples and oranges.
Coach Loeffler is a classic pro-style, drop-back passing quarterbacks coach. Coach Smith is a specialists in the quarterback read-option style of play. Coach Loeffler was more about throwing mechanics and pocket footwork., while Coach Smith is more about the reads and ball handling involved in quarterback play. Both fit perfectly in their respective roles within their respective offensive systems.
In the current Michigan offense, Coach Smith is responsible for the quarterbacks during drill work, but Coach Rod is also right there, probably 85% of the time. You might as well say that Michigan has two quarterback coaches, because during the scrimmages and practices is, figuratively, if not literally, breathing down the necks of the quarterbacks. He is constantly talking to the quarterbacks, often using higher volume and more "colorful" language than Coach Smith.
When we watched Coach Smith, he was not as vocal as other coaches, so we did not notice him as much, but that does not mean he wasn't doing any teaching. We just did not have that many eyes to be able to keep track of everything last year. We also experienced a learning curve with the new system, trying to "soak in" what the new staff was trying to accomplish. It takes a learn where to look for what. Coach Rod runs an upbeat practice and gets a lot of reps going, so the quarterbacks get more snaps than Michigan ever did in the past.
One of the things we are going to try to do this Spring Practice is to watch more of the drills when the positions break up into different groups.
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