I’ve got a great drill to share with you from Coach Kelley Lee, former head coach at Eastern New Mexico, which led the NCAA D-2 in rushing yards in 2019, and now a head coach/AD in Texas.
It’s a simple drill, but it ensures you get a lot of reps and it is far from easy.
This drill focuses of the fundamentals of the triple option offense and is essential for when you are installing the offense.
But it’s also essential in the season.
Sometimes it’s easy to stop drilling the fundamentals as the season gets going and you spend so much time putting in your game plan.
But this is a reminder early in the season to keep up with your drills that stress the fundamentals.
So, what drill am I talking about?
It’s the Two Ball Drill for your quarterback.
Here’s a whiteboard drawing of the drill:
It’s really just inside veer without the guards and tackles.
And with the center present, you’re able to double up on getting those ever important quarterback/center exchanges.
The trick of the drill is the coach or player who is standing in the path of the quarterback.
He’ll be holding another ball and after the quarterback hands the ball off to the fullback and on his path, the coach will hand the ball to the quarterback.
He will then work on his pitch to another running back.
Now, this is really difficult for the quarterback because he’s got to get to that coach really quickly and get the ball if he wants to be able to get that timing right with the running back coming around for the pitch.
I use the 2-ball drill in just about every Wing-T run play in our practice. Our backup QB is on scout D and his job is to play the position on scout that the QB1 is supposed to read. This is keeping QB2 involved in learning the offense.
QB2 gives the handoff read to QB1. If it is a handoff read, then QB1 gives the ball to the RB, then attacks QB2 and takes the ball from his INSIDE hand, then continues downfield for 5 yards and pitches the ball. The pitch man is learning how to keep 5×2 pitch relationship while yelling “ball ball ball” the entire time.
Why the inside arm? This keeps the QB from rounding off his path and running towards the sideline before pitching the ball. The key to good option is getting the QB to run north-south before pitching it.
If QB2 gives a “keep” read, then no problem. QB1 pulls the ball out of the belly and pitches the ball that was snapped to him.
A COUPLE TIPS ABOUT MESH & PITCH
The way we teach the mesh is this: If the QB is going to give the ball to the RB, only remove the hand that is in front of the ball and keep the hand that is pressed between the ball and the RB belly in tact. If keeping the ball, then violently jerk both hands out of the RB belly.
Now the RB knows that if he does NOT feel a hand rubbing his belly, then keep the ball.
We also teach the RB to read the dive key. We make sure the QB & FB get 5 minutes a day to practice this…usually during special teams.
We tell our QB to stop and drive the thumb in the ground as you pitch the ball, and then “chase the pitch”. In other words, change direction and run towards the RB as you pitch it. This removes the QB as a kill shot and also puts the QB in a good position to recover a bad pitch.
A bad habit QB run into is when you practice pitches on air….the QB will pitch the ball while still moving forward. it is very important to find somebody, anybody, and give them a hand shield to whack the QB while pitching the ball.
So, you’re able to work on the quarterback mesh with the running back, and then you’ll be able to emphasize and build urgency for the quarterback as he goes through the pitch part of the drill.
This drill is not revolutionary.
But it’s not supposed to be.
Most often, the best thing you can do for your team is rep the fundamentals over and over again.
Coach Lee goes over this drill and many more in this course.