Mike Leach has worked with some of the most prolific passers in NCAA history, so when he talks about what he looks for in a quarterback, ears of coaches perk up everywhere.
When you throw the ball 80 times in a game like Leach sometimes does, you get a pretty good idea of the type of quarterback you want, and what you can teach, and what you can't at the position.
Over the years, Leach has learned one of the most important things quarterbacks need that can't be taught is accuracy.
"People make this mistake all over the country, and everybody can think of one, but there will be a guy who is big, strong and athletic, and everyone gets tempted by speed and if someone has a super strong arm."
"Then they say 'Well all he has to do is work on his accuracy. Well ok. He won't be accurate in high school. Then some college will take him, and then he won't be accurate there, and then the NFL says 'all he has to do is work on his accuracy,' and they'll take him there, and he won't be accurate there and then he'll be out of the league."
"The thing that's amazing to me, is that after all of high school he's not accurate, and now all of a sudden you're special and you're going to make him accurate? And then after college he's not accurate, and you're special and you're going to make him accurate? I just haven't seen that happen. I've seen guys improve, but they don't all of a sudden become accurate."
Leach makes a good point. There are so many intangibles that go into being accurate as a passer - traits like anticipation and understanding timing - on top of the fundamental things like mechanics and the release. Teaching all of it and having a player capable of putting it all together during live sessions and games is nearly impossible.
Simply stated: When it comes to recruiting a quarterback, they're either accurate, or they're not. One last thought from Leach...
"The other thing is, you can go grab a shortstop and teach him to play quarterback easier than you can make someone accurate."