Does size matter?

Submitted by Topher on September 27th, 2009 at 6:33 PM

A couple years back I was following a discussion of another school's QB situation. When I suggested they use their mobile quarterback for more ground-based plays (options/draws) I received howling protests that the QB was too "slight" to hold up.

Yesterday during the game it was noted that Forcier had never done a weightlifting program until he arrived in AA this spring. This brought to mind the issue - is he or any other player in more danger of injury based on their weight or body structure?

It's supposed to sound "intuitive" that a smaller player is at more risk for injury, but weight limits in youth football have never been shown to prevent injury to lighter kids (in fact, heavier kids are more likely to be injured by more athletically-advanced lighter kids of the same age.)

Is there any scientific, medical or kiniesological evidence available? (In other words, can we have a real survey and not just anecdotal "I was a skinny guy and never got injured playing football" stories?)



September 27th, 2009 at 6:39 PM ^

Its a bit overrated IMO...people tend to focus on it when they are looking for answers as to why there was an injury. This has been going on forever in football. Anthony Carter was rail thin and 5.11 and never had serious injuries...but his size dropped him in the eyes of the NFL scouts and he had to start out in the USFL before he got his shot and played well in the NFL.

Another example in the modern game is USC's Freshman QB Matt Barkley was out with a bruised shoulder, and he is considerably bigger than Tate. It happens with any QB...

I dont know about actual data for this...but someone posted a comparison here between running QBs vs. pocket passers and injuries and there was little difference at all, injuries happened at times to all of them.


September 27th, 2009 at 6:41 PM ^

So is Henne from two years ago. The thing to remember about the Tater is this: you can take the biggest, strongest, fastest QB out there and he will suck if he is not "mentally strong." Tate has been working since he was real young in the mental weight room. I will take that everyday of the week. Especially with Barwis as his cut man.

this doesn't mean that strength, stamina, endurance, etc are not importatnt. Good question


September 27th, 2009 at 6:51 PM ^

It's well-known that quarterbacks come in all shapes and sizes. Fans are obsessed with their quarterback's size, even if they don't realize it. Most fans live in constant fear that their quarterback is not big enough. What they don't realize is that a recent study, involving quarterbacks of all shapes and sizes, concluded that the average quarterback size is much smaller than originally thought.

So who says size counts? Mostly fans. I think that if you talk to a coach, he will describe the qualities that he looks for in a quarterback. You might think that size would be the primary factor, but it's not. Coaches are more impressed by what the quarterback does than how big he is.

Having a bigger quarterback doesn't hurt, but is it really important, when it comes down to the game? Really, the quality of performance is much more important than measurables. In fact, many large quarterbacks are known to be lousy. If a coach feels comfortable with his quarterback, he will overlook his size. If the quarterback is still able to stimulate the fan with his performance, then it doesn't matter how big he is. Whether 5'11" or 6'6", if used properly, a quarterback can satisfy any fan and provide an evening of passion and lust afternoon of pure football excitement.


September 27th, 2009 at 8:30 PM ^

If I'm reading you correctly then, you're saying that these quarterback enhancement programs, such as the one administered by Mike Barwis, have little evidence of working; and even if they were to work, there's little reason to believe that they would lead to increased satisfaction on the part of the coaches?


September 27th, 2009 at 7:00 PM ^

I think a lot of you are not answering the question.

It's not about how good Tate is going to be, which is what some of you are answering. It's about how injury-prone he is. And my take is, it only stands to reason that if you're going to have 250+ pound guys repeatedly smashing into you at full force, you're a lot more likely to get hurt if you're 180 pounds instead of 220 pounds.


September 27th, 2009 at 7:48 PM ^

I'm not a physics/math major, but if

Force = mass x acceleration

then doesn't it mean that Terrell Pryor (220 or 225 or whatever pounds) running into Mike Martin is going to create a more violent collision than Tate Forcier (175 lbs.) running into Mike Martin?

Anyway, the thing that matters is musculature, not size. Strong muscles create more stable joints that are less likely to be injured. If Tate is a strong 180 (and he's not yet), then that's probably better than being a soft 205, right?


September 27th, 2009 at 7:51 PM ^

I don't know too much about his career at Purdue (really before my major following of college football) but his size is what triggers my curiosity in comparing him to Tate. They are about the same height and Brees is about 20 pounds bigger then Tate--granted that is 20 pounds, but Tate can only get bigger now that he is actually lifting weights. Which triggers another question, how much bigger can we expect Tate to get?

But back to my point, does anyone know Brees' history at Purdue in regards to injury? He was extremely successful there, and was roughly about the same size as Tate is now. Not to mention Brees is more of a pocket passer therefore is more susceptible to being hit. In the NFL Brees had a major shoulder injury at the end of the 2005 season that required surgery, but that seems to be about it.

This may be a decent comparison, any thoughts?


September 27th, 2009 at 10:04 PM ^

What about Jeff Garcia? At 6'1" and 205 he is only slightly larger than Tate. With a little work in the weight room, Tate could be around there.

I didn't find much on Garcia's college career. He seems mobile, but not blazing fast, like Tate, and has had some big years throwing the ball (yes, great receivers).

And clearly size must no matter off the field because Garcia snagged himself a playboy centerfold...

The King of Belch

September 27th, 2009 at 9:10 PM ^

Depending on whether you have it or not. If you don't got it, it doesn't matter. If you do got it, it matters because, well, you got it, and it's an advantage (even in football).

Also, file this under the related arguments currently raging about time of possession, recruits and star rankings, 40-yard dash times, and foreign relations experence.

What we have here is not just a quarterback of slight build, he is a freshman, and in an offense that needs him to run the ball to make it more effective. We also have what I like to call a "Live Grenade"--a QB who will not give up on a play and who is always looking to make something happen. It's kind of a "Bermuda Square of Injury" waiting to happen. Or maybe even Korth's Square: cross off one thing, or two things, and you still get your answer.

Chase Daniel had a relatively injury free career, and he is only about 5'10 (although he is, well, pleasantly plump let's say), and Todd Reising of Kansas might be just a smidge over 5'9, but again doesn't get hurt.

There is also the experience factor. Tate will learn (maybe much to our dismay) to be a lil more afeared in the pocket and maybe less likely to take chances as he gains more experience (and certainly if the injuries keep piling up).

One thing I have heard coaches really lament about with the limitations on practice is that fundamentals suffer--and one of the fundamentals they used to be able to stress more was how to play safer football--safer tackling techniques, safer ways to avoid hits or fall down properly (yes, there is a way believe it or not).

As for kinesiolgy or injury studies as evidence, I can only paraphrase all that I have looked into thusly:

Football is not a very safe sport.


September 27th, 2009 at 9:15 PM ^

Core strength is the most important factor to avoid injury in violent acceleration. There has been a considerable number of studies done on this not specifically related to football. I do believe this, along with cardiovascular, are the foundation of the new conditioning program.