When evaluating the quarterback position you will often hear the phrases “he does or does not see the field well” or “he does or does not have good vision”. Well, what exactly does that mean? Most coaches will say that a QB’s vision defines him. A quarterback who locks in on one receiver and doesn’t see his read progressions would be considered a QB with poor vision. But why is this the case? Is it just because a particular quarterback doesn’t have the ability to “see the field” whereas other quarterbacks do? Are players simply born with “great vision” or not? My answer to that is absolutely not and I think that coaches who label a player in this way are looking past one key ingredient, lack of coaching!
Can a five year old explain the theory of relativity? Can a seven year old speak ten different languages? Based on what would be the norm, of course not. There might be some extremely rare exceptions to the rule but that would be based on one fact and one fact alone; that they were given the knowledge to know these things. Now, with that principle in mind, how is it that a quarterback at any level can “see the field” if he doesn’t know what he is looking at? They can’t! They must be given this knowledge! In other words, they need to be coached up!
Yes, some will learn faster than others as that’s what separates the gifted from the not as gifted. However, regardless of how gifted a player is, if he is not taught what he is looking at he will never be the player he could be! This is why it really bothers me when I hear a coach say “he just doesn’t see the field very well”. Well, coach him up so that he does! It’s not the players’ fault if he “doesn’t have good vision”, it’s the lack of coaching he is receiving! A coach must take the time to teach a quarterback the concept of a play and how it applies to coverage schemes, fronts, and stunts so that the quarterback gains enough knowledge to understand what he is seeing. This is where the phrase “his brain is getting in the way of his feet” comes to mind but, pertaining to a quarterback, that would be his lack of knowledge hindering his ability to execute the play properly.
As coaches we must always approach the profession as teachers. Learning to play the position of quarterback is no different than learning the theory of relativity. If you want your quarterback to “see the field” better then teach him what he is seeing!
Coach Van Tassel