Individual Skills and Drills in the Option Practice (QB/B)


I my previous posts we have discussed more group and team concepts. I wanted to take the time to circle back and discuss individual skills and fundamentals that are essential in preparing players for option football.  Let’s start discussing QB/B Back fundamentals.

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We have one coach that works with the B backs and the QB.  We feel to really work on the details of this offense we need a separate A backs coach and not a full backfield coach. Some programs have a coach for each backfield position, which is awesome. You will find that other than a few drills, these two positions spend the majority of individual practice time together.  


The first individual period is stance and alignment. The QB should have his feet a little less than shoulder width apart. We don’t stagger our feet because we feel we need our QB to mentally shift weight pre-snap and push either direction so we keep them parallel.  The B back has a rule that he aligns 4 yards from the back tip or nose of the football.  An important note, this is a starting point and a base rule. If we find our B back isn’t getting through the mesh quick enough we move him up to 3 yards. We keep moving him up until we have the desired speed through the mesh. The stance for the B back is one where his hand is in front of his face, with weight on the fingertips, his feet are a little less shoulder width apart and parallel. We have our B back’s heels slightly off the ground to create a good Z bend in the body and forward weight on the hand so we get a good low explosion out of the stance.  


Set Drill is used to work on the first step of the QB and the B back.  On the cadence trigger both positions work on their respective first steps with regard to our base play of Inside Veer.  The QB will mentally shift weight on his left foot to go right and he will look to take half of playside A gap with his first step and then his second step must be in the ground and reaching the ball back to his back hip before the mesh happens. So its a quick step, step,  stabbing the ball back to the B back.  The B Back will take a quick six inch jab step with his playside foot and roll his backside knee the the ground, creating the proper pocket with his arms and upper body, keeping his chest over his knees.  We work this drill everyday and it is the starting point for the progression to fit drill.  We work every first step of every scheme we have, it is important.  

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Fit Drill is used to work the beginnings of a mesh, the QB and B back will “fit up together in a good mesh” with QB already in the front half of A gap,  the ball stabbed back and the B back two steps from the front hip of the QB.  The QB and B back need to have the proper bend in their knees and proper pad level.  With a cadence trigger both players will slowly walk through a mesh. The B back will soft fold his upper arm over the ball and the QB will pin his chin to his front shoulder and get his eyes on #1.  The coaching points for the B back are to learn how to soft fold the ball and keep his eyes on the action key. The coaching points for the QB are to feel the mesh as he is reading #1 and to make a decision by the time the ball has reached the front hip. We work several scenarios in this drill, so the players can get a good feel for the mesh.  We work fit drill vs. all the schemes we have.  

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Full Mesh Drill is used to put it all together, full speed.  We use coaches as reads and we have our other QBs snapping to the QB that is taking the rep.  If you can add a center to this drill and your OL coach is willing to give him up for a 5-10 min segment, its worth it.  We train both positions eyes in this drill, the coach giving the read as #1 will either cancel the B back or sit for QB while holding up numbers. We also have a B back simulating the action key and he holds up numbers as well.  The coach can see proper footwork and get a verbal cue from the players as to whether his eyes are in the right spot or not. I have found the B back players hold each other accountable.   We work every mesh we have based on scheme throughout the week.  Lastly, I suggest you invest in some A Frames for the B backs to work through. These really help with pad level and with landmarks.  

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Full Mesh and Pitch is a drill we use to emphasize getting the ball on the perimeter. In this drill we use an available QB in an optimal pitch relationship and we rotate them through the drill.  We teach proper pitch with the QB and we work on the B back running through the line of scrimmage to pull #1 to him.   We use a B back as #1 and a coach for #2.  #1 always cancels and we put a hand shield down to simulate which gap is open for the B back to run hard through.  We work through different looks and work hard on making sure the QB sits and pitches.  You can find several of these drills here:


Once we have worked through the above drills we add in a full 5 min period where we work all the stunts and reads we can, to give the QB/B as much work as we can.  We have developed hand signals we use in almost every drill to make these types of drill periods go quickly and efficiently.


Our next blog post will continue with A Back Indy Drills and as always feel free to discuss blog posts or ask questions on our forum page located here:  If you have any questions please feel free to contact me on twitter @runthetriple or my email address


I wish you all the best,


Matt McLeod