Running Back-Quarterback Exchange
At least 90 % of football plays are running plays which require a running back-quarterback exchange. It is imperative that you practice this exchange often in practice. It is all about proper technique and timing.
- Running back must have his inside arm up. If the play is going to the right, the ball carrier needs to have his left arm up. If the play is going to the left, the ball carrier needs to have his right arm up. This will help deter fumbles and allow the QB to insert the ball into the running back’s belly. This is one of the most vital aspects of the running back-quarterback exchange.
- Running back must not belly towards the QB. The running back must run directly to the point of attack. Do not go to the QB for the hand-off. It is the QB’s job to get the RB the ball.
- The RB needs to have his head up looking at the point of attack. The running back needs his head up so that he can see which way he needs to cut off the blocks. Again, it is the quarterback’s job to get the running back the ball.
- The running back needs to be securing the ball through the line of scrimmage. The football needs to be held high and tight. Two hands need to cover the ball whenever contact arrives.
- Quarterback’s job is to get the running back the ball at the point of attack. The QB must use his eyes and feet to get to the RB. The QB must concentrate on putting the ball into the belly of the running back.
- The QB must not collide with the running. The QB needs to look where he is running.
- Quarterback must keep the ball against his chest with two hands on all fakes. This will secure the ball if the running back bumps into the quarterback, QB falls, or the defense gets penetration. The snap and running back-quarterback exchange are the staring points of every play.
- The QB must secure the snap first! Sometimes you will see young QBs try to take the snap and rush the pitch before they actually have a hold on the football. The first priority when teaching the running back-quarterback exchange is securing the snap.
- QBs needs to open their feet up to the target. If you are pitching/tossing the football to the right, the QB must square up to the target and his right foot needs to be pointed towards his target. This will allow the QB to have free motion on the pitch. If the QB is pitching left, his left foot needs to pointed towards the target and his chest & hips needs to be square to the target.
- The quarterback must follow through on all pitches. Pitches need to be crisp and directly to the ball carrier. No floating pitches!
Here is how we teach our rocket sweep toss:
Again it is crucial that the running back-quarterback exchange is smooth. You cannot afford to lose a play or a possession because of a botched snap, hand-off, or ugly pitch. Practice hand-off and pitches every single practice. You can even do it before practice when the kids are waiting to start practice.