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Fine-Tuning the Quarterback's Mechanics in the Pocket

Baylin Trujillo’s well-earned reputation as a quarterbacks guru is in large part because of his attention to detail.

Trujillo, who was a quarterback at the University of South Florida and Weber International, has transitioned successfully into an accomplished coach at Oak Ridge High School in Orlando.

In addition to his high school coaching, Trujillo currently trains 60 quarterbacks of all ages. Three of his quarterbacks are at Division I programs. This includes Marvin Washington of Connecticut, Quadry Jones of Central Florida and Josiah Johnson at UMass.

One of the ways he’s been successful as a coach is by using the fire drill, which is structured to fine-tune a quarterback’s mechanics in the pocket.

The Fire Drill

Setup: Four cones are set up in a square, each seven yards apart. The quarterback begins by standing next to the front right cone while holding the football like he would be in a game. The coach should be standing 14 yards down the field. In the drill, the quarterback travels around the four cones before throwing the ball to the coach.

Step 1: The quarterback starts by executing a five-step drop back, so he is about seven yards from the line of scrimmage. This means he will end up standing at the near right back cone.

Step 2: Once at the second cone, the quarterback should be facing the cone where he started. Then he drops back a step and spins, so he ends up facing the cone to his left. He runs to that cone.

Step 3: Upon reaching the back left cone, the quarterback quickly runs up to the front left cone.

Step 4: Once next to the front left cone, the quarterback pretends to take the snap under center. He then fakes a handoff to the left. When he's done, the quarterback should be a few feet to the left.

Step 5: Next the quarterback rolls out to the right as if he was running a bootleg play. The quarterback should now be to the right of all the cones. The quarterback then throws the ball to the coach to complete the drill.

Quarterbacks typically do three reps.

Why it Works

Trujillo says the idea behind the drill is to keep the quarterbacks on their feet while still executing their throws at a high level.

“The drill focuses on the depth of your drop step, which gives a QB more time, and the timing of the throw is more efficient,” Trujillo said. “Then the escape of the drill allows the QB to simulate as if in a game they have to make a move to replace where the defensive end is trying to go.”

Ultimately, Trujillo’s biggest focus is making sure the quarterbacks he works with are comfortable with making important throws when they’re not in their standard position in the pocket.  

“Every QB at some point will have to slide up in the pocket to buy more time, and every QB in my opinion needs to work on play action because, just like I did in high school, a QB is more than just staying in shotgun,” Trujillo said. “They have to know how to play action so their hand off and boot both look the same.”

From GameChanger and Rolando Rosa

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coaches, high school sports, coaching tips, football, youth football