Now let us for the moment step into the shoes, or rather look into the brain, of the offensive quarterback and view the kind of precepts which are stored there. Mind you, this is only the A B C of quarterback training, which varies in elasticity even as the conventions of Auction Bridge. In Auction, conditions are constantly changing because not only are there different cards in every deal, but one's decision is always dependent upon such things as whether the player is dealing, or sits number two, three, or four position, also upon the score and whether it is "free double," and so on.

Or again, perhaps a better comparison is the similarity of strategy employed in baseball, wherein the actions of the pitcher and batter are governed with reference to the number of strikes and balls on the batter, the ability of the next batter, how many and on what bases the runners are, how many are out and what is the score and inning.

Apply these principles to football and we get the elasticity of judgment required of the quarterback. It always devolves upon him, with a warp of long training and a woof of common sense, to weave the various component factors into a fabric which shall fit the exigencies of every situation. With this as a background the quarterback's Bible begins as follows:

In the selection of each and every play he must consider:

1. Climatic conditions which include the direction and velocity of the wind, the position of the sun, and the condition of the field of play, i. e., whether the footing is sure or slippery.

2. The position of the ball on the field of play, i. e., with respect to the goal line and side lines.

3. Which down it is and how much distance must be gained in order to obtain a first down.

4. What the score is, and how much time there remains before the close of the half or the game.

5. The distribution of the defense and its physical condition.

Considering only 2 and 3 in combination the quarterback is further burdened with a table of field tactics, which has been drummed into him daily since the beginning of the season, a brief outline of which runs as follows:

"Unless the wind is blowing against you," reiterates the Coach, "whenever you are inside your own twenty yard line punt on the first or second down, because should a fumble occur and the enemy recover the ball, they have at once a golden opportunity to score.

"Between your own twenty and forty yard lines, utilize your various kinds of sweeps, which, though not consistent gainers, may result in good yardage, but don't dare to use any forward pass which may be intercepted, nor any of those double passes for fear of a fumble. And remember, always punt on fourth down with more than two yards to go, because although you are theoretically surrendering the ball to your opponents, you gain thirty to forty yards in doing so.

"From your own forty yard line to your opponents' thirty yard line you are allowed a greater choice of plays. Use your running attack and, by manipulating your formations, threaten at once the three salient arms of attack - the rush, forward pass, and kick. If your rushing tactics are successful don't vary from them, but if you get held up on third down with five yards to go, slip a forward pass or one of those trick plays. But under no circumstances be held for downs.

"If you reach your opponents' thirty yard line remember you are within scoring distance and concentrate on that word 'score.' Use your strongest rushing plays and when the defense stiffens, play your 'ace of trumps,' and if on fourth down you are doubtful about gaining the required distance, get your three points by shooting a drop kick."

Such advice, when thoroughly digested, taken in conjunction with the general principles which have been mentioned, constitute a basis for a correct selection of plays at the proper time.

Having waded through this theoretical side of the game, let us rest our wearied minds somewhat by the application of these theories to practical demonstrations of what actually happens during a game.

In watching a football game, I strongly advise the spectator to cultivate the habit of always knowing the down and distance, either by memory or by reference to the score board which we located when we first arrived at the field. In this way you can often anticipate the nature of the ensuing play especially if you will apply the doctrines which have been so forcibly impressed upon the quarterback. If we know it is fourth down and five yards to go, we can assume that the quarterback will order a kick. When it happens, we not only feel a certain satisfaction in having "called" the play, but through our fore knowledge we are enabled to see the play with far greater detail than otherwise. I cannot emphasize the importance of this suggestion too strongly.

The greatest failing of the average spectator is that he keeps his eyes glued to the ball, or the runner, during the progress of a play. In this way he misses entirely the eternal conflict between the offensive interferer and the defensive tackier. Now let it be thoroughly understood that the very essence of ground-gaining by rushing lies in this interference, i. e., clearing a path for the runner by other players of his side. That you may visualize the truth of this statement, let us for the moment assume that the offense consisted merely of a player to put the ball in play and a lone runner. The unhindered defense would overwhelm the runner before he could run a yard, kick or even pass with any accuracy. From this illustration, we can now see that it is solely through the co-operative efforts of all the eleven units of the offense that the various arms of attack can operate successfully. Thus when a plunge play is executed, it is the offensive line from tackle to tackle which enables the runner to reach even the line of scrimmage, and by its superior charge against its opponents enables him to squeeze through the first line of defense. (Plate II) Again, when a sweep is attempted, notice that usually two of the backfield are detailed to put the opposing end rush "out of commission." At the same time our offensive end and tackle are endeavoring to "box" or flank the defensive tackle. The remaining back, with perhaps the assistance of a linesman, rushes through the gap outside of this tackle to attend to the rush-line halfback who represents the second line of defense. In this way, the offense have thrown six interferers against the three of the defense, who are most likely to stop the runner without gain. (Plate III) Meanwhile, other linesmen, after they have performed their pro-tectionary assignments on the line of scrimmage, may be seen, ahead of the runner, harassing the wing halfbacks, or third line of defense. Time after time, you may see these interferers continue these tactics after the runner has been thrown. (Plate IV) The average spectator misconstrues their action either as unnecessary roughness or as wasted effort. Quite the contrary. It is their duty to engage certain of the defense at the moment when the runner, if untackled, arrives at that locality. Their eyes and attention being directed against their opponents, they are quite unable to tell whether the runner is tackled or not. In other words, they are performing their assignments irrespective of the fate of the runner, on the assumption that he will need their assistance if his path has been cleared to that point. Only on rare occasions does this occur, but when it does this interference on the third and even fourth line of defense converts a gain of say ten yards into a really long run which often as not results in a touchdown.

From the Coach's point of view, these interferes are the real heroes of a successful offensive play, albeit the runner often shows skill in eluding opponents either by clever dodging or by the use of a "straight-arm." (Plate V) One frequently sees a brilliant run by a noted halfback, but he who attributes a good gain entirely to the runner not only does injustice to his teammates, but also misses one of the really fine points of football. Therefore, let me urge that you keep the runner in the tail of your vision, as it were, and direct your main attention on what transpires ahead of him.

Again, there is a strong tendency to watch the ball in its flight after it has been punted. In the interim, what occurs on the field of play? Note, before the ball is actually kicked, the rugged conflict between the onrushing defense and the offensive backs, who act as protectors for their kicker. (Plate VI) Were it not for the wall these backs thus form every attempted punt would be easily blocked. Even with their assistance the kicker is forced to perform his skillful act in a few seconds of time, else disaster will follow.

On another occasion, when on account of your knowledge of the down and distance you are reasonably sure a punt will ensue, watch the offensive ends begin their mad rush downfield at the snap of the ball, to be followed a second later by the tackles, while the guards and center hold their ground until all possibility of a blocked kick is eliminated. As the ends proceed, you will see the defensive wing halfbacks, after they have made sure that a rush or pass is not forthcoming, make every effort to impede the progress of the offensive ends, ending with a final lunge at them just as the ball is caught. Here is interference in another form which often enables the player catching the punt to gain yardage otherwise not possible. To counterbalance this interference on the ends, many teams send a tackle downfield at the snap of the ball. (Plate VI).

Difficult as; it is to see either a rush or kick in its entirety, it is quite impossible to visualize the great majority of forward passes. Not only is the intended direction and length of the pass unknown to the spectator, but often the very nature of the play is concealed by a pretence of the passer to do something else. The commonest form of thus outwitting the defense and deceiving the spectator as well, is a pretence of punting by the kicker, until the defense have been lured away from certain zones of territory, when by suddenly desisting from his punting motions, he is able to pass to one of his side at the point left vacant by the deluded defense. (Plate VII) Another trick which distresses the defense and spectator alike is when a clever player gives every indication of passing in one direction, and then suddenly hurls the ball to an unnoticed player in quite an opposite direction. Still again, a play which to all intents and purposes is a bona fide attempt to rush, will suddenly develop into a forward pass to the utter surprise of the defense. (Plate VIII)

Failing then to obtain regularly a comprehensive view of plays of this nature, the best we can do is to keep the tactical situation constantly in mind, i. e., down and distance, and thus try to anticipate the play or be content to watch the passer closely and marvel at his cleverness and the skill of the receiver.