Everyone wants a QB who can make all the throws and successfully manage their offense, but a QB who can improvise when things break down is also a plus. QB improvisation can take many forms, from running to take advantage of gaps in the defensive front to moving out of the pocket to allow receivers time to outrun coverage.
Improvisation is sometimes ill-advised, like this QB draw by Zach Calzada against Mississippi State.
Calzada sees the open A gap when the pass rush leaves the middle uncovered and takes off running. The problem is Calada fails to notice boundary slot Jalen Preston is wide open on the play.
Calzada gains six yards on the rush and sets up 3rd and 8.
QB Improvisation – Learn From Your Mistakes
The only thing worse than making a mistake is failing to take a lesson and use it to make yourself better. On the following drive, Calzada again scrambles. This time, Calzada stays behind the line of scrimmage and allows his receivers time to get open. RB Devon Achane runs a five yard check-down, then blocks when Calzada scrambles. Achane sees Calzada intends to pass, so he peels off his block and runs behind the defender. Calzada hits Achane on the move.
Result of the improvisation is a 29 yard gain and a first down. This is a high IQ play by Achane to realize the play converted from a passing play to a QB scramble to a scramble drill, and time for him to become a receiver.
The field view gives you a better view of Calzada’s decision-making as he moves outside but avoids crossing the LOS. Calzada’s lateral movement gives the receivers more time to break coverage and Achane time to become a receiver. Calzada’s decision-making also shows he learned from his earlier mistake on the QB draw and is now looking for a receiver instead of scrambling for a short gain.
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