A while back Mark Lebedew tweaked some comments from legendary football coach Bill Walsh. He turned them into a post about the characteristics of the ideal setter. It reminded me of an experience I had a few years prior. I was watching a college football bowl game (2010 Sun Bowl, I believe). Hall of Fame NFL quarterback Bob Griese was the analyst. He made a comment that really bothered me. He called the football quarterback the only position in sports where the individual coordinates, plays, and leads their team.
Compared to the volleyball setter, the football quarterback has it easy. Granted, setters don’t usually have to deal with 300lb defenders trying to smash them. They do sometimes, however, to have to contend with big goon middles who won’t get out of the way!
Put the risk of a pile of big, sweaty guys burying you aside and consider these points.
- Setters often must chase the ball down. Quarterbacks get it placed basically right in their hands.
- The quarterback only runs one offensive play at a time. The setter often runs multiple plays in a single rally.
- A quarterback rarely plays defense, while a setter plays it constantly.
- Most quarterbacks get their plays called into them from the coach. Setters often call their own plays. (see Calling plays from the bench)
- Setters often have to improvise on the fly, while quarterbacks usually get to run the play they called.
Setters are also leaders, of course.
Football and volleyball are very similar sports (even Brett Favre says so) in structure. Maybe we should use that to help elevate the profile of the sport – at least in the US where football is king.
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