3,304 Yards of Jogging to Get the Play From the Sideline

Quarterbacks jogging to the sideline to get the play from Coach is more than just tough to watch. We did the math and it is roughly 3,304 yards of extra jogging for the QB during a game.

*Diagram of quarterback jogging to get play from sideline. 62.5 plays on average per game or 21 total series. 1st down, 2nd down, and 3rd down shown for each series. Total of 3,304 yards.

 In an odd spring season when only family members are allowed to attend games, the ability to watch high school games online is awesome. This allows for us to enjoy multiple games on multiple devices at once, creating a Red Zone esq experience for high school football. One thing stood out to me watching the first week of games: The quarterback jogging back and forth to the sideline after each play to get the play call from his Coach. Aside from it being tough to watch, there are two main issues with this tactic and they are: TIME and DISTANCE.

            I must admit that as a player I never experienced this way of bringing plays in...Even in youth football. In youth ball we had receivers rotate and that receiver would bring in the play from Coach which also created its own sense of hilarity with the transfer sometimes resembling a bad game of telephone. When playing in junior high we used wristbands with a number system that had the Coach yelling numbers. And in high school, I used signals with the occasional situation where I was close enough to the sideline after a play to talk directly to my Coach.

The first issue I find with this tactic of the quarterback running back and forth is TIME. Once the play is dead, the play clock starts to tick down from 40 seconds. By the time the quarterback has jogged over and jogged back we are looking at roughly 22 seconds off the clock leaving 18 seconds left. Subtract another 10-12 seconds with the play call and the break of the huddle, and get to the line of scrimmage with 6-8 seconds left. This pushes every play down to a potential Delay of Game penalty that is undoubtedly on the Coach calling the plays, not the player.

The second, and far more important issue is DISTANCE. In 2019 my team played in 10 games with a total of 615 plays on the season, which comes out to an average of 62 offensive plays in a game. For the sake of this example, and since the ball moves around hash marks, let’s just say the ball is in the middle of the field which is 53.3 yards wide. After each play, the quarterback is going to jog roughly 26.65 yards (half the field) to the Coach, get the play, and then turn around and jog back the 26.65 yards for a total of 53.3 yards. That is 53.3 yards every play. Now, if we multiply this by the average number of offensive plays in a game, 62 total, the quarterback jogged 3,304 yards just to get the play from Coach. Let me repeat this number, 3,304 yards of worthless jogging during a game. And this is if the ball is in the middle of the field. What if the play takes the quarterback to the far sideline? How about the Redzone or backed up in their own Endzone?

There are other ways to get plays in rather than having the quarterback jog back and forth. Do some research and figure out a way that works for you. Sub players in with the play, use signals, use wristbands, something, anything, just please stop making one of your best players jog an extra 3,304 yards during the game.

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