Have you ever watched a football game and wondered what do quarterbacks yell before the snap? If so you are in the right place, this article is going to break down everything a quarterback will say prior to starting the play.
The Snap Count
The snap count is the most common thing a quarterback uses before starting a play. A snap count is essentially a verbal signal to let his teammates know when the play will start. An example of this would be the word “hut”.
The team may agree in the huddle that the snap is on three. This means the quarterback must say “hut” three times for the ball to be snapped. On the third hut, the center will snap the ball to the quarterback and the other players will know to start the play.
This is used to keep the offense moving in unison as they will all know when the play is about to start. Unless using a silent count a quarterback will likely yell the snap count before every play.
Identifying The Defense
Another reason quarterbacks are yelling prior to the snap is because they are identifying the defense. A common phrase you may hear yelled in this situation is “59 is the mike“. This refers to the player with the jersey number 59 being the middle linebacker.
For this purpose nicknames like mike, sam, and will are used to identify players quickly.
Often times offensive players will be given blocking assignments based on position. What we mean by this is the left guard may be responsible for blocking the middle linebacker if he blitzes for example.
The quarterback will sometimes identify these players prior to the snap so that the offensive players understand which player is in which position. This makes it easier for them to effectively complete their assignment.
Changing The Protection
Quarterbacks tend to not like getting sacked in the backfield. One way to prevent this is to bring in extra blockers to slow down the pass rush. Taking a tight end from the slot and moving him inside to protect the quarterback is a great way to stop a blitz.
If a quarterback notices that the opposing team is sending several players rushing the quarterback he may attempt to change the protection. This means he may yell to his tight end to change his assignment and become a blocker for the play.
The reason this is done prior to the snap is that the quarterback has an easier time identifying an incoming blitz once the defensive players have gotten into their formation on the field.
Calling An Audible
Calling an audible is another common reason you may find a quarterback yelling before a play. An audible occurs when a quarterback decides to change the play after he sees how the defense is lining up.
As you likely already know a team chooses their play and communicates it in the huddle prior to lining up. But on some occasions, the quarterback may line up and notice the play will not work well against the defence.
At this point he is able to call an audible. This means he can communicate to his teammates that he wants to run a different play. The team will have signals or words for plays in which they can audible into.
When you hear a quarterback yelling before the snap he may just be calling an audible to change up the play for his offense.
One famous example of yelling before the snap is the “Omaha” call often made by Peyton Manning.
Using A Hardcount
The other alternative when you hear a quarterback yelling before a snap is a hard count. For those that don’t know a hardcount is essentially a fake snap count.
A hard count is easily heard on television as this count is typically very loud. These counts are typically quite exaggerated as well because they want the defense to think they are about to snap the ball.
You will most often notice hard counts are short-yardage situations typically on third or fourth down. This is because the five-yard penalty will give you a first down if you are able to get the other team to jump offside.