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By Colin McQuillan, Running Backs, Missouri Western State University (MO)

Holding on to the ball can never be over emphasized. See how Missouri Western coaches up this crucial skill each day. Read it here...


By Colin McQuillan
Running Backs
Missouri Western State University (MO)
Twitter: @CoachMcQuillan

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Our offense at Missouri Western is based around running the ball. The better we are at running the ball and controlling the LOS the better we will be in the passing game. This means we must be great at every concept and situation that we will encounter on game days. The best way to be prepared for these are to practice for them each day.

We start by emphasizing the following:

  • Preparation
  • Execution
  • Effort

These are the three most important points that we make every day of practice. We will push our student-athletes to the limits and prepare them for game days and being successful.

Our next area of emphasize is turnover margin. We must win the turnover battle, either by taking it away with our defense or taking care of the ball on offense. The combination of both is what is key at any level of football. In the MIAA, we can see the true correlation between turnover margin and win/lose column.  Here is the data from the last three years.

2014 MIAA Turnover Margin (Win/Loss)

  1. UCO +1.17 (8-4)
  2. UCM +1.0 (8-4)
  3. PSU +.85 (11-2)
  4. FHSU +.55 (7-4)
  5. MWSU +.36 (7-4)

2015 MIAA Turnover Margin (Win/Loss)

  1. NWMSU +1.27 (15-0)
  2. UCM +1.09 (8-3)
  3. ESU +.86 (11-3)
  4. FHSU +.75 (8-4)
  5. MWSU +.27 (6-5)

2016 MIAA Turnover Margin (Win/Loss)

  1. ESU +1.31 (11-2)
  2. FHSU +.83 (8-4)
  3. WU +.67 (7-5)
  4. NWMSU +.47 (15-0)

The ability to take care of the ball is key, but we also emphasis that our players be loose and enjoy the game. That said, we want to score every play!  Which is where I came up with our signature #Score6Squad to get across the point of scoring 6 every play. 


Our footwork from the running back position will vary with play and scheme. That said, several tag words can be added to the end of the call to let the RB and QB know which backfield action is desired. This will allow us to “make the same plays look different and different plays look the same.”

On each play, our RB will be responsible for knowing the following items:

  1. Footwork
  2. Aiming Point
  3. Read

Note that the aiming point and read may often be the same for each play, whereas the footwork will be dependent on alignment. 


Continue to the full-length version of this report…

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  • The drill Coach McQuillan uses to teach RBs the concept of working towards the line of scrimmage on zone run concepts.
  • The drill Coach McQuillan uses to teach his backs to read various different blocks for various run schemes.
  • The drill Coach McQuillan uses to stress the importance of stripping ball carriers after a turnover.
  • How Coach McQuillan gets his players to compete and have fun during drill work.
  • Plus film of all these drills.

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Using daily drills to emphasize proper steps and ball security help to build the foundation of an explosive offense. The most important aspect is teaching the details of every drill and how it incorporates into a game like situation. This foundation will continue to be built on with variations and new drills, this way to keep student-athletes on their toes and always prepared.  

Meet Coach McQuillan: This will be Coach McQuillan’s third consecutive and sixth overall season at Missouri Western State University. He began coaching in small town Missouri at Union Star High School (8 man football). From there, McQuillan obtained different positions at MWSU from 2010-2012 including tight ends and linebackers. He then spent 2012 through 2014 teaching and coaching at various levels high school levels in the state of Kansas. Those include Offensive Coordinator/Head Strength Conditioning at KC Wyandotte High School in Kansas City, Kansas.  McQuillan then returned to Missouri Western staff in 2015 to coach running backs.




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