Dan Mullen Talks QB Drops

Mississippi State head football coach Dan Mullen talks about his philosophy of quarterback drops and where his current quarterbacks stand in regard to learning all the quarterback drops.

Most people probably give very little thought when watching a quarterback drop back into the pocket. What the average college football fan sees is a quarterback simply droping back, looking for a wide receiver and then throwing the ball. But actually there is a whole lot more to that than meets the eye, especially in the Dan Mullen offensive system.

"All of our different quarterback drops are based around the timing of the route that we go with," said Dan.

Also standing in the pocket is not the most pleasant experience in college football, especially with the caliber of athletes on the defensive side of the ball these days.

"I'm not a big fan of having a quarterback stand still in the pocket because it's not a very comfortable place to be when you are just standing there with 300 pound guys coming after you," said the first-year MSU head coach. "We really try to incorporate the footwork for the different drops to match the different routes that we are going to run, so that the quarterback doesn't have to stand in the pocket very long."

And because there are so many different type routes that are run in a spread offense there are also a large number of quarterback drops that can be used in a game.

"In a game we use six in the (shot) gun and six or seven under center, and that's not the moving pocket sprintout stuff," said Dan.

And if you have observed the quarterbacks in practice you have probably seen even more quarterback drops than that. But don't expect to see all of them in a game.

"We practice all kinds of drops in practice just to work on balance and other things," said Dan. "We'll use a seven-step drop in practice but I don't know who would run a seven-step drop in a game anymore. We do things like that in practice just to work on balance."

And just because quarterbacks have different talents doesn't mean certain drops will be what they key on when it comes to games and practices.

"They all learn the same drops," said Dan.

While the quarterbacks are shown all the different type drops in practice, that's not where they actually learn them.

"You don't learn it at a practice, you learn it in your dorm room when you are by yourself at night," said Dan. "You are going to learn a three-step drop in your dorm room by doing 300 of them at night by yourself. 1-2-3, 1-2-3; you do that in your room over and over and over and you are going to develop a muscle memory. Then, your drop, your footwork, your balance will be perfect."

So, if you happen to be walking by the dorm room of a Mississippi State quarterback and it looks like he is practicing his latest dance moves, look again because he's probably learning the latest quarterback drop.


Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on the Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.


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