Friday, August 7, 2009

Quarterback Building: Todd Sturdy

Heading into the weekend after the first week of "fall" practice, I am trying to offer something new here. As with any clinic presentation, if you can take away just one thing, whether it is just a new nickname for your 'slappys', find something you can take away and use for yourself.

So why not share some insight from a coach whom I have the utmost respect and admiration for, Todd Sturdy (now Washington State Offensive Coordinator and Quarterbacks coach). Coach Sturdy helped me years ago (while HC of St. Ambrose in Iowa, before I became a carpetbagger) develop as a coach and in developing an offensive philosophy by allowing me to spend unlimited time with him and his staff, as well as welcoming me to his Spring installation practices at St. Ambrose.

Sturdy's offensive philosophy seen both at SAU and EWU, is premised on a steady misdirection run game and quick passing. Sturdy has a penchant for one back formations and believes in using slots and additional backs to force the defense to even up their fronts. With fly sweeps, reverses, inside zone, stretch, zone option, and speed option, Sturdy strives to keep a defense off balance (predictable) and moving laterally.

When spending time with Coach Sturdy during Spring ball, he shared his method for developing his quarterbacks over the years, and how they have always been able to perform at a high level.

The unmistakable quality of a quarterback is leadership. When bringing in recruits, Sturdy's method is quite simple, but effective.

Model - First a coach must model strong leadership with humble and assertive decisions, always putting the team first. One should note that this attitude is not that of masochistic self-denial, but of one with a vested interest to see objectives through, paying whatever price is required.

Reinforce - Continue to find ways to find situations where a quarterback can be decisive no matter how great or small. Don't wait until game night or practice to instill the decision-making you want your quarterback to exhibit. This mentality is a lifestyle, not something the player can turn on or off.

"[You have to] constantly praise good decisions, because everything with a quarterback is a decision. Recognize and acknowledge every good decision as it comes. A coach's job is to teach how to make good decisions".
Talk About It (constantly) - "You must develop a relationship with your quarterback. Get to know him - what motivates him, what his strengths and weaknesses are". The nuturing and mentoring element of the coach-quarterback bond should be one born out of trust.

The quarterback is the point man, the beginning and end to the team's success/failure. Because the quarterback assumes the mantle of leadership, he must be the one setting the tone of the team attitude required. Sturdy believes the competitive mantra of, "Not only do we have to do things correctly.....we have to do it better than anyone else" is what shapes his subdued leadership he requires of his quarterbacks. However, with this, it is important for the position coach to, "let him know he just needs to be 'one of the guys' because the position itself has enough pressure".

Here's to Coach Sturdy and his family's continued success in the Pacific Northwest.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sturdy is a people builder.At SAU his leadership and great people skills really built a lot of loyalty and was a great reason why he attracted a lot of quality over the years.