As popular opinion has always assigned the snap-back's position to the largest man on the eleven, so likewise has it given the quarter-back's position to the smallest man. There is less reason in having the smallest man quarterback than the largest player at center. Indeed, there is no question that a swift, agile man of one hundred and sixty or one hundred and seventy pounds would be the most useful quarter-back, if his other qualifications are equal. The trouble is that the man of such a weight, who was qualified to fill the quarter-back's position, would be the man who would be most needed at tackle or end, or as a running-back. There is rarely more than one man with these qualifications on the best teams, while there are usually several men of sufficient speed and agility among the candidates, who perhaps could not be useful in any other position, and yet are too skillful players to loose. The result is that on university elevens the quarter-back is usually a man who weighs from one hundred and forty to one hundred and fifty-five pounds, is agile and swift, is a hard worker, with great endurance and unlimited pluck. Well does he need all of these qualities, for he must always be in the thick of the fight. No play can take place from a scrimmage without his being a medium in its execution, not only in the passing of the ball, but also, if he does his duty, in assisting the runner on his way up the field. Not that he runs ahead of the runner every time, for he is unable to go in front on some plays, but he can always get behind to push if the runner is stopped, or to block off those who try to tackle him from the rear.

The quarter-back's position demands a peculiarly heady player at the same time that it calls for agility and quickness. No other player on the eleven is forced to do as much thinking and planning while in the midst of most skillful and invaluable work. He has no chance to "soldier," either mentally or physically, as the rest of the eleven may do, to a limited extent, occasionally during the progress of the game if so disposed. His brain must be as clear as his muscles are quick and steady. He has to translate with absolute exactness every signal which is given, and as accurately carry it out by forwarding the ball in the most advantageous manner possible to the player who is to receive it. On no account, then, must a man be selected for this position who is inclined to become " rattled," for the position itself is enough to render unsteady the coolest man.

When the quarter-back is appointed to give the signals for the play a new duty emphasizes the importance of his being a heady player, for he then is made the general of the game. By having this duty to perform the chances for his making a mistake in giving the ball to the wrong player are perhaps slightly decreased, but the demand for clever judgment and shrewdness in field tactics more than offsets this.

The quarter-back must know no physical fear. He must be fearlessly unconscious that there are several opponents almost within reach of him who are doing their utmost to fall upon him. No nervousness must enter into his work; else he is not the man for the position.

In assuming his position on a down, the quarter-back is allowed considerable freedom. Some players prefer to receive the ball close up to the center-rusher and then move away as they pass it on to the runner; others take a position between the two, just as far away as is possible while still being able to reach the center conveniently for giving the signal.

The quarter-back who plays close up to the center renders himself liable to be interfered with in his pass by the opposite center and guards, who may reach over to check his play; at the same time he cannot so well take part in the interference on end plays. On the other hand, the quarter-back who takes his position far behind the center is limited in some of his plays. He can be of more assistance, perhaps, in helping on the end plays, but it will be impossible for any of the guards and tackles to run with the ball with any chance of gaining ground, because they will have to run so far behind the line to receive the ball that they will easily be tackled. When the quarter-back takes this position he will have to give the signal in some other way than that usually followed. It has been customary for the quarter-back to press the calf of the center rusher's leg, or some other part of his body, with his thumb when he is ready for the ball; but there are reasons why some other signal would be better at times, and the giving of the signal would be of little moment if there is to be a decided advantage gained by playing so far behind the center. It is accepted as the best way for the quarterback, in playing his position, to stand bent over, at arms length from the center, with his eyes fixed on the ball.

He has already learned the position of the player who is about to receive the ball as he glanced around at his team when the signal for the play was given. The instant that he gives the signal for the ball to come back he turns quarter round, throwing his right or left foot well behind for a brace, according as he wishes to pass the ball to the right or left. The quarter-back must not take his final position for receiving the ball before the signal for the ball to come back is given; otherwise the opponents will have time to study out his method of passing for the different plays and can guess in what direction the run will be made. It is all done so quickly in the other case that there will be no time to anticipate the play.

The quarter-back should never give his private signal for the ball until the captain has given the signal for the play, and then only after he comprehends it himself. In a well drilled eleven the quarter-back understands the signal for a play the instant it is given, and yet it is not a rare occurrence in important games for signals to be mixed or the key numbers to be left out. In that case the quarter-back should not signal for the ball until the signal for the play is made plain or a new one given. It is now a common practice for the quarter-back to give the signals for the play himself, whether he is captain or not. This has grown out of the fact that he is in one of the best positions for observing the whole field, and also because he will no longer need to interpret the signal after it is given, but can call for the ball as soon as he thinks best. This facilitates the play somewhat and lessens the liability of making mistakes in translating the captain's signal.