Mike Dovenberg Dives Into Fundamental QB Play [Virtual Clinic Series]

Mike Dovenberg Dives Into Fundamental QB Play [Virtual Clinic Series]

In this AFCA Virtual Clinic, we sit down with Mike Dovenberg from the College of San Mateo. He shares his insights on how to get the efficiency from the QBs in your room. Coach Dovenberg is known to create a good culture for his players and then translate it onto the field. This past year, College of San Mateo had a very successful season and their offense played a huge part in that success. They had an overall record of 12-1 and averaged 32.5 points per game, as well as 344 yards per game.

QB Culture

The foundation of Coach Dovenberg’s philosophy, and what he teaches the quarterbacks is that the position is one of the most important and unique on the field. Therefore, Coach Dovenberg relies on the help of every quarterback, regardless of their position on the team’s depth chart. Having a mission like this allows Coach Dovenberg to train up a group of good quarterbacks so that the backup guys also get looks to play at a higher level.

QB Commandments

Coach Dovenberg has four commandments for being a quarterback that he always expects out of his guys. The components to his QB Commandments are as follows:

  • Communicate – Over-communicate with everybody from the coach to the signal-caller on game days.
  • Ball Security – QBs touch the ball EVERY play and must always protect the football.
  • No Negative Plays in the Red Zone – Always leave with points, be a good decision-maker.
  • Trust Your Eyes and Feet – QB mechanics rely solely on eyes and feet, use what you learn and trust them.

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Coach Dovenberg uses most of the clinic to show drills that can help improve a quarterback’s overall play and put them in situations they will have to execute on any play. These drills can be done during individual sessions, as they help in mechanics for body control and help perfect drops for different kinds of throws.

Body Control

The first two drills shown are warm-up drills that work on weight balance and feet. This controls the bodyweight that is being translated from the back foot to the front foot. The first is a quickstep drill that takes unnecessary motion out of a quick throw. The emphasis is weight balance and leveling the shoulders, as well as proportioning the weight correctly on the plant foot to get the ball out quickly.

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The next drill is the Jog-Flip-Toss drill that adds more to the quickstep. This drill works on creating a smooth delivery of the ball with a clean follow through and weight transfer. This drill can be done with the athlete rotating both 90 degrees and 270 degrees. Lastly, the machine gun drill works on the technique of getting to a loaded position to throw the ball. The point is to let the backfoot lead as you maneuver through the pocket.


Different levels of throws require different dropbacks, and Coach Dovenberg has multiple variations of drills that work on these different drops. Quick game routes, such as screens and hitches need balls delivered as quick as possible and the Rapid-Fire drill works on ball speed delivery and accuracy. A unique thing about this drill is the ability to also train the skill of setting and throwing with and without laces. Coach Dovenberg also shares his mechanic drills on other drops, such as double moves to be able to follow the process to rock to the throw, pump, and then reset.

Lastly, Coach Dovenberg shares his drills for other concepts a quarterback will need to be able to execute, such as the play-action, throwing on the run (off platform), and maneuvering in the pocket. If you are interested in creating better QB fundamentals and getting all of the athletes in your quarterback room engaged then check out this virtual clinic!

Don’t forget to tune into other content in the AFCA Educational Library. This content includes anything from drills and coaching tactics to convention sessions and podcasts that can better help you and your football program.

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