Over the past several months, I've tackled a number of position-specific stuff ranging from life lessons that you learn by playing on the offensive line, to more broad football and coach related topics like 5 reasons why players fail to reach their full potential, or the 10 signs that you've found the perfect coach's wife.
Today I want to get behind center and talk some quarterback play, and to help with doing that I want to introduce Dan Rohn, who has seen a steady rise from an architect of a top high school program to a college assistant and coordinator at one of the top Division II programs in the country.
Before becoming the quarterbacks coach / run game coordinator at Ferris State University (D-II - MI), Dan Rohn built a dynasty at West Catholic HS (MI) where he crafted one of the most dominant programs in the state of Michigan, bringing a total of four state titles back to the school, including an impressive three in a row. There Rohn developed a number of All-Conference and All-State quarterbacks, and he did the same at Fremont HS (MI), all with kids that entered the season with varying degrees of talent, measurables, intangibles and their fair share of question marks.
His experiences range from stepping into a job at Ferris where he was tabbed to identify and develop the replacement of perhaps the best quarterback in school history, Jason Vander Laan - a two-time Harlon Hill Award winner (the Division II equivalent of the Heisman) - to developing both the physically gifted high school quarterback who needed work in other areas, as well as the guys that might have been under-developed inheriting a situation where they're expected to compete for conference and state titles.
Rohn is universally regarded by his peers as a coach who gets the most out of his guys, and has had countless guys go on to college playing careers. With that in mind, I decided to reach out to him in and collaborate in an effort to dig deeper into quarterback play, quarterback development, and what is needed to be a successful signal caller
He shared the following 23 areas that quarterbacks need to strive to master in order to reach their full potential and then took that a step further by dividing those skills up into three categories.
Here they are, according to coach Rohn.
1 - Accuracy
2 - Arm strength
3 - Athleticism
4 - Footwork
5 - Mechanics
6 - Mobility
7 - Physical toughness
8 - Pocket presence
9 - Size
10 - Touch
More from coach Rohn: "These physical traits can and need to be development in the off-season. QBs practice time is limited with their position coach during the season so fine tuning their physical skill set has to be done in the off-season and during early camp."
11 - Anticipation
12 - Approach
13 - Commitment
14 - Confidence
15 - Decision making
16 - Intuition
17 - Mental Toughness
More from coach Rohn: "The mental game is developed during the off-season and during the season. You are always challenging and evaluating your QB’s in the weight room, during film sessions, around campus, through camps, and especially during the season. Not only are you as a coach evaluating the mental approach of your QB but so is every player, every coach, and every fan of the program. Everyone is always watching your QB and the way he carries himself."
18 - Ability to inspire
19 - Character
20 - Coachable
21 - Communication skills
22 - Dedication
23 - Positive attitude
More from coach Rohn: "The leadership qualities it takes to play QB are not only unique to being a successful QB but are also the same skills set it takes to be a successful head coach, a CFO, or a point guard. It is difficult to teach any player these qualities but you can look for these skill traits in your QB and do everything you can to help develop them and grow to be the leader of your football team."
Feel like there's something to add? Feel free to let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org, or via Twitter @CoachSamz. If you feel like you could weigh in and would like to collaborate on a topic similar to this looking at program development, player development, or another area coaches would find interesting, feel free to reach out.
Best of luck to coach Rohn, head coach Tony Annese and the rest of the Ferris program as they open up the Division II playoffs this weekend against Midwestern State.