College coaches that develop quarterbacks?

Who are the college coaches that have proven track records developing quarterbacks?
This includes head coaches, offensive coordinators, or quarterback coaches. Who develops the correct basic fundamentals (physical techniques, reads, speed of execution, etc.) and also utilizes the individual quarterback's talents to maximum benefit?

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The two that immediately come to mind are Lincoln Riley and David Cutcliffe.

Guys I irrationally like: David Shaw, Paul Chryst and Mike Leach.

Kingsbury was the obvious QB whisper in college football before he went to the NFL.

I don't think anyone is truly a whisperer of turning players into NFL QB's because a lot of that is just if a guy has it or not. I don't think anybody consistently guru's NFL success into QB's. I think that has a lot to do with the QB themselves on whether they are good in the NFL or not.

At the college level I think there is some truth to it, but even then I think it's more about coaches who have offenses that make it really easy for their QB's to be successful, which offenses are simplifying the game/reads so that their QB's spend the most time making plays and less time second guessing themselves? The first name that comes to mind is Lincoln Riley, who seems to turn anyone in his clutches into a hyper-productive playmaker. I think Chad Morris did more developing Tajh Boyd into an extremely productive playmaker despite not being an NFL talent than the current Clemson staff has with TL, for example. I think Brandon Streeter is a great QB coach (very good recruiter, solid at teaching Clemson's expected QB fundamentals), but he and the Clemson OC's didn't turn Kelly Bryant or Cole Stoudt into Deshaun Watson or even Tajh Boyd level talents, because Kelly Bryant/Cole Stoudt could simply never be Deshaun Watson. Guys like Deshaun Watson and Trevor Lawrence were going to have high caliber college careers no matter where they went. The same can be said of Tua. However, you can make the argument that those guys were put in offenses where they were able to exercise their ample talents. At the same time, it's hard to pin down any person to Tua's success. He had three different OC's (Daboll, Locksley, and Sark) each of his three years. Makes it seem like Tua was the common denominator on how great he was, though all three certainly had some impact on his development. You could credit Saban with his success, but it's kind of silly to suggest most HC's, like Dabo or Saban, with any QB's success. They didn't install the offenses, they didn't teach them the footwork and the reads, so it's very difficult to find where to attribute their success... unless you have my POV that it really has more to do with how good the player is themselves.

June Jones and Mike Leach have produced QB's that shatter records left and right in college, but don't necessarily make it in the NFL.

I'm interpreting 'developing quarterbacks' as being able to find/take under recruited/lesser skilled QB's, and build a system where they can excel, put up great stats, etc. I'm not taking 'NFL readiness' into account because, as others have said, making it to and in the NFL requires a level of genetic athleticism that very few people have.

That said, here's my list of the top of my head:

  • Mike Leach
  • Lincoln Riley
  • David Cutcliffe
  • Dan Mullen
  • Justin Fuente *ducks*
  • Scott Frost/ Mario Verduzco
  • Chip Kelley
  • Graham Harrell
  • Jimbo Fisher
  • Bobby Petrino

Almost made my list:
Joe Moorhead - I couldn't think of a QB other than McSorely that he coached, but I'm convinced of his offensive prowess.
David Shaw - His QB's never put up great numbers, but they do what they're supposed to.
Lane Kiffin - He probably should be on the above list, but most of his success has come with 5-star QB's
Kendall Bryles - Hasn't found success at the P5 level other than on his dad's team, but I think he has the skill to do so (ignoring the off the field stuff)

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Mullen is a really good shout. He got winning production out of guys like Nick Fitzgerald, has turned Kyle Trask into a solid QB, etc. He is definitely someone who knows how to get production and success out of QB's in his system, regardless of NFL talent or traditional QB characteristics.

Agreed. I think the undisputed top 3 would be Mullen, Leach, and Chip Kelley at Oregon. All of them have taken multiple 2-3 star recruits and turned them into top 10 P5 QB's.

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I'll second Dan Mullen as well. It would be nice to imagine HH, or especially QP in a Mullen offense. I'm surprised we didn't make a serious run at him when replacing Beamer (or maybe we did and I didn't read about it).


Mullen was on the short list of candidates apparently. His offense is very similar to Fu's. Mullen just has more P5 experience running it and recruiting for it

I remember hearing that we definitely had Mullen in consideration, but it was unlikely that we could provide a competitive pay packet to get him out of the SEC. Though VT may have given him some pause as a chance to potentially go from fighting tooth and nail to have a good season in the toughest division in college football to building a program that won the Coastal almost every year at VT.

So we went with store-brand Mullen, in other words? Not trying to dig up a money discussion but man that would have been nice. If you can get dudes to go to Starkville (which I considered while in HS) you can surely recruit to Blacksburg. Whatever we saved on that deal may not have been worth it.

"Scared money don't make money"
-Ryan Willis


Mullen is the 5th highest paid coach in college football right now.

I don't think we had the money to cover that. Just like Mississippi State didn't have it.

I'm sure that price would have been a sticking point but but I'm sure if Sands and Whit really wanted Mullen and thought he was worth the cost, we would have Mullen. Whether he stayed long term who knows but that would have been a fun offense to watch for at least a few years. Assuming he brings in players, which in my mind he does.

I would love to be a fly on the wall for that discussion during the hiring process:

Coach A leading our football program costs "X million / yr" and can get us to 7-9 wins regularly with no other changes*

Coach B leading our football program costs "X + Y million / yr" for 9-10 expected wins regularly and we may have to cut elsewhere to make it happen*

*actual results may vary, your experience in ACC football may differ from other leagues, offers and wins void where prohibited, must be 18 or older to play"


Mullen wanted to bring his whole staff. Whit really wanted to keep Foster as a holdover. I'm not sure how the money played out but don't think it got much further.

I understand the sentiment of having Bud as a holdover, but I'm not sure in hindsight if that should have been a determining factor on who the head coach was (essentially who would work with Bud). To me you get the best guy available for your program and let him build his staff. One thing I will say in Fu's defense, because of the transition and the first four years with long-time coaches like Bud and Wiles, it never really has been truly Fu's team with such big old guard VT personalities roaming the sidelines with him. Love Bud a ton but I just don't know that making retaining him a primary factor was really in the program's best interest. We just haven't fully been able to turn the page in the post-Beamer era.

Hindsight being 20/20, you are 100% correct.

This is also why most potential coaches won't agree to something like that.

My #sauces said that we definitely reach out to Mullen, and we were turned down pretty early on. I don't know he (alledgedly) turned us down.

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Any insight from those who have played or coached the quarterback position and who were exposed to good quarterbacking fundamentals? French? Part of this discussion does relate during recruiting, to a quarterback recruit's perception of his possible future development. Thanks for the good responses so far. Worth some time reading about some those mentioned.

What metric are we trying to determine quarterback whispering effectiveness?
NCAA productivity?
NFL draft position?
NFL productivity?
Do they get to claim 5* QBs as part of their repertoire?
Do they get to claim blue chip receivers?
Do they get to claim the good pass blockers?
Do they get to claim a solid running game that keeps defenders honest?

Never Forget #1 Overall Seed UVA 54, #64 UMBC 74

While he's never been in the employ of a university, the career of Steve Clarkson is a must-read if you're interested in the subject of QB coaching. He was an accidental pioneer of positional coaching in the sport of football, and he remains active today.

This article from 2008 (Clarkson piece starts on page 8) is a pretty good start.

He's a brilliant quarterback coach who has been affiliated with a large number of great college quarterbacks. A good number have gone on to get drafted in the NFL. Two of his students received scholarship offers at age 13 (David Sills IV & Tate Martell).

If those names strike a note of caution, there's more of that, too. He coached all of the Clausen brothers (a huge turning point in his career came when he met with the St. Louis Rams and warned them that if they didn't take Jimmy Clausen with their first pick, they were fools.)

His pupils constitute a veritable who's-who of Star college quarterbacks. And yet, Ben Roethlisberger seems to have been his only pupil to gain NFL stardom.

His camps nowadays seem to be nothing more than a promotional tool. More into his business of promotion, he's actually paraded Joe Montana and other NFL greats as an example of his coaching ability in his promotions. (His playing career actually coincided with many of them. In reality, he worked with their sons).

It's hard to find a definitive list of kids he taught for years vs. kids who attended one of his camps, vs. NFL greats who's kids he teaches (he seems to promote all of them equally).

Steve Clarkson is fascinating to me; a self-made, brilliant teacher; and yet a unscrupulous & shameless promoter.

My takeaway from this is that you can coach a QB up to college stardom. NFL stardom is something else entirely.

Grandpa Cutcliffe.

It's the Werther's Originals. Best motivator in quarterback development.