Johnson leads QBs through daily drills

Johnson leads QBs through daily drills

When Mike Riley was hired at Oregon State in 1997, he tabbed Mike Johnson to fill one of the most important jobs on his coaching staff.

Johnson was the Beavers’ wide receivers coach. It was a difficult challenge because Riley was installing a passing game to replace Jerry Pettibone’s wishbone offense. Johnson had to coach every minute detail of route-running. After all, many of the returning receivers had no experience in a conventional offense.


Johnson, the 49ers’ new QBs coach, shows his attention to detail every day on the practice field in Santa Clara. He leads Shaun Hill, Alex Smith, Damon Huard and Nate Davis through a series of drills every day.


“I tell the quarterbacks, ‘If you do something on the field that is not technically sound and I haven’t put you through that drill, that’s my fault,'” Johnson said. “As soon as I put them through that drill, they become accountable.”


In all, Johnson has 34 drills that are focused on skill and technique. The drills are divided into four aspects of quarterback play, Johnson said:


General mechanics – Drops, play-action and quick release.


Pocket footwork – Resets, step-up drills, a drill he calls “hitch, hitch, go or throw,” and a multiple-drop drill, in which the QB takes a 5-step drop and lengthens it to 7 steps if required by a certain “read.”


Movement footwork – Throwing on the run, escaping the rush, and scrambling.


Decision-making – Going through progressions, and on-the-run decision-making (such as sliding or getting out of bounds).


For more about Mike Johnson, here’s “Quarterbacking 101,” which appeared in Sunday’s paper.


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