A system quarterback is an American football quarterback who flourishes under a particular offensive system, specifically one that focuses on passing. The term is often seen as a pejorative, for it implicitly downplays a quarterback's talent or skill by implying that a successful offense is due to a particular scheme or that a quarterback is successful due to his employment under specific circumstances. Russ Lande of Sporting News traced the term's etymology, or at least currency, to the early 1990s, when two University of Houston quarterbacks failed to carry college success into their professional careers.First, Andre Ware, in head coach Jack Pardee and offensive coordinator John Jenkins's run and shoot offense, had a record-setting 1989 season that culminated in a Heisman Trophy. He was the seventh overall pick in the 1990 NFL Draft, but did not have success in either the National Football League or the Canadian Football League. David Klingler took over for Ware at UH and was the sixth overall pick in the 1992 NFL Draft. He too, failed to find exceptional success in the NFL.
Recently, the appellation was commonly applied to Texas Tech quarterbacks that operated under former head coach Mike Leach and offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen's spread offense. In the 2000s, the school had several different quarterbacks that threw in excess of 4,000 yards in a season. According to some pundits, this demonstrated that the quarterback had simply been an interchangeable part in a prolific passing offense. Some Texas Tech quarterbacks, with their college tenure in parentheses, described as such include:
The label is not restricted to Texas Tech, however, and pundits and coaches have referred to players from several other schools as benefiting from systems. In 2007, then Hawaii head coach and offensive coordinator June Jones infamously defended his own alleged system quarterback, Colt Brennan, by making the counter-accusation against Tim Tebow of Florida.Players from schools other than Texas Tech that were described as system quarterbacks include:
Andre Ware is an American sports analyst and commentator and a former American football player. He was the 1989 Heisman Trophy winner as a quarterback for the University of Houston. He was the first African American quarterback to receive this honor. In the 1990 NFL Draft, Ware was the first round selection of the Detroit Lions. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2004.
Gino Louis Torretta is a former American college and professional football player who was a quarterback in the National Football League (NFL) for five seasons. He played college football for the University of Miami, won the Heisman Trophy in 1992, and was a member of the Miami Hurricanes' national championship teams of 1989 and 1991. A seventh-round pick in the 1993 NFL Draft, he was a member of several NFL teams, but never became a regular starter as a pro. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2010.
Kliff Timothy Kingsbury is an American football coach and former player who is the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals of the National Football League (NFL). During his playing career, Kingsbury held many NCAA Division I passing records and was also part of the New England Patriots Super Bowl XXXVIII winning team from 2003 that beat the Carolina Panthers. On January 8, 2019, the Cardinals hired him as their head coach, replacing Steve Wilks.
John Jenkins is an American football coach and former player. He served as the head football coach the University of Houston from 1990 to 1992, compiling a record of 18–15. A proponent of the run and shoot offense, Jenkins also coached professional football in the United States Football League (USFL), the Canadian Football League (CFL) and the Fall Experimental Football League (FXFL). He served as the head coach of the CFL's Ottawa Renegades in 2006, the FXFL's Blacktips in 2014 and the Hudson Valley Fort for part of 2015. During his career as a coach, Jenkins has mentored a number of notable quarterbacks such as Andre Ware, David Klingler, Jim Kelly, Eric Crouch, Kliff Kingsbury, Anthony Calvillo and Doug Flutie.
Sonny Jack Cumbie is an American football coach and former quarterback. He is currently the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the TCU Horned Frogs. Cumbie played professionally in the Arena Football League, the Indoor Football League, and briefly in the National Football League (NFL). Cumbie was the starting quarterback for Texas Tech during the 2004 season, where he led the nation in passing and total offense, a win in the 2004 Holiday Bowl, and MVP honors for the game.
Daniel "Colt" McCoy is an American football quarterback for the Washington Redskins of the National Football League (NFL). He was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the third round of the 2010 NFL Draft, after playing college football for the University of Texas. He has also been a member of the San Francisco 49ers.
Brian Jeffrey "B. J." Symons is a former American football quarterback. Symons played professionally for the Houston Texans and the Chicago Bears of the NFL, the Frankfurt Galaxy and Berlin Thunder in NFL Europe, and the Tampa Bay Storm of the Arena Football League. He was originally drafted by the Texans in the seventh round of the 2004 NFL Draft. He played college football for Texas Tech where he was a record setting passer.
David Ryan Klingler is a former American football quarterback. He was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals after a record-setting career at the University of Houston, but is considered a bust for his lackluster NFL career. Klingler attended Stratford High School in Houston. Klingler is now an associate professor of Bible exposition at Dallas Theological Seminary.
Colton James "Colt" Brennan is a former American professional football quarterback. He was drafted by the Washington Redskins in the sixth round of the 2008 NFL Draft, but was released two years later. He played college football for the University of Hawaii Warriors.
Cody Hodges is a philanthropist, motivational speaker, and former professional American football player, playing in the National Football League, Arena Football League, and the Arena League 2. Hodges is best known for his one season as the starting quarterback for the Texas Tech Red Raiders during the 2005 season. As a fifth year Senior, he led the nation in passing and total offense and an appearance in the 2006 Cotton Bowl Classic and a 9–3 overall record. He was the 3rd straight fifth year senior to start for Mike Leach and Texas Tech and was also the second of 4 West Texas natives to take the quarterback reins in the Leach era, along with predecessor Sonny Cumbie and successors Taylor Potts and Seth Doege.
Graham Stanton Harrell is an American football coach and former quarterback who is the current offensive coordinator for the USC Trojans. He had previously been an assistant for the Washington State Cougars and the North Texas Mean Green. He had also worked for Oklahoma State in a quality control position. He played college football at Texas Tech University, where he was an All-American quarterback, Heisman Trophy finalist in 2008, and set school, conference and national records for passing yards, attempts, completions, and touchdown passes. Harrell was signed into the National Football League in 2010 by the Green Bay Packers. He was a part of the Super Bowl XLV win with the Packers over the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was also a member the New York Jets. Prior to his time in the NFL, he was signed by the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 2009 as an undrafted free agent in the Canadian Football League.
Casey Austin Keenum is an American football quarterback for the Washington Redskins of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for Houston, where he became the NCAA's all-time leader in total passing yards, touchdowns, and completions. In the 2008 college football season, Keenum ranked first nationally in total offense and second in total passing yards. During the 2011 season, Keenum became the Football Bowl Subdivision's all-time leader in total offense, as well as the all-time leader in total touchdown passes by an FBS quarterback. As a result of his on-field contributions to Houston's success, Keenum was named to several All-American lists. He is the only quarterback in Division I FBS football history to have passed for more than 5,000 yards in each of three seasons.
The 1989 Houston Cougars football team, also known as the Houston Cougars, Houston, or UH, represented the University of Houston in the 1989 NCAA Division I-A football season. It was the 44th year of season play for Houston. The team was coached by third-year head coach Jack Pardee. Serving as offensive coordinator was John Jenkins, who would later serve in the capacity of head coach the next season. The team played its games off-campus at the Astrodome, which had recently received upgrades to seat 62,439 spectators. The Cougars finished the season ranked as #14 by the AP Poll. Houston quarterback Andre Ware won the Heisman Trophy and Davey O'Brien Award following the conclusion of the season. Under probation by the NCAA from rules violated in prior seasons, Houston was disallowed from participating in a bowl game, television appearances, and the Coaches' Poll.
Taylor Potts is a former American football quarterback. He played college football at Texas Tech, and was signed by the St. Louis Rams as an undrafted free agent in 2011. He was waived during training camp, and then signed as a free agent by the San Diego Chargers in May 2012, where he was expected to compete for the third-string quarterback position.
Eric Morris is an American football coach and former player. He is the head football coach at the University of the Incarnate Word.
In American football the air raid offense refers to an offensive scheme popularized by such coaches as Mike Leach, Hal Mumme, Sonny Dykes, and Tony Franklin during their tenures at Iowa Wesleyan University, Valdosta State, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Louisiana Tech, and Washington State.
The run and shoot offense is an offensive system for American football which emphasizes receiver motion and on-the-fly adjustments of receivers' routes in response to different defenses. It was conceived by former high school coach Glenn "Tiger" Ellison and refined and popularized by former Portland State offensive coordinator Mouse Davis.
The 2012 Texas Tech Red Raiders football team represented Texas Tech University in the 2012 NCAA Division I FBS football season as members of the Big 12 Conference. Tommy Tuberville lead the Red Raiders in his third season as the program's fourteenth head coach. The Red Raiders played home games on the university's campus in Lubbock, Texas at Jones AT&T Stadium. They finished the season 8–5, 4–5 in Big 12 play to finish in a four way tie for fifth place. They were invited to the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas where they defeated Minnesota.
The 2013 Texas Tech Red Raiders football team represented Texas Tech University in the 2013 NCAA Division I FBS football season as members of the Big 12 Conference. Kliff Kingsbury led the Red Raiders in his first season as the program's fifteenth head coach. The Red Raiders played home games on the university's campus in Lubbock, Texas at Jones AT&T Stadium.
Baker Reagan Mayfield is an American football quarterback for the Cleveland Browns of the National Football League (NFL). Mayfield began his college football career as a walk-on player for the Texas Tech Red Raiders. He is notable for being the first walk-on true freshman quarterback to start a season opener at a BCS school. Mayfield transferred from Texas Tech to Oklahoma following supposed scholarship issues and a lack of communication with coaches. After sitting out the 2014 season due to NCAA transfer rules, Mayfield won the starting quarterback job in 2015. He won several awards for his performance as a senior in 2017, including the Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award, Walter Camp Award, and unanimous All-America recognition.
|Positions in American football and Canadian football|
|Offense (Skill position)||Defense||Special teams|
|Linemen||Guard, Tackle, Center||Linemen||Tackle, End||Kicking players||Placekicker, Punter, Kickoff specialist|
|Quarterback (Dual-threat, Game manager, System)||Linebacker||Snapping||Long snapper, Holder|
|Backs||Halfback/Tailback (Triple-threat), Fullback, H-back, Wingback||Backs||Cornerback, Safety, Halfback, Nickelback, Dimeback||Returning||Punt returner, Kick returner, Jammer, Upman|
|Receivers||Wide receiver (Eligible), Tight end, Slotback, End||Tackling||Gunner, Upback, Utility|
|Formations (List) — Nomenclature — Strategy|