A Quarterback’s Ideal University

June 10, 2014

Being one of the most difficult positions to play in all of sports, there’s no question as to why quarterback development and success rates rank lower when compared to most other position players in Detroit PAL Football.

Associate Athletic Director Mike Bradley has put forth a series of updated development programs, maximizing athletes’ football understanding and opportunity. Among the latest, the most comprehensive quarterback fundamentals clinic administered by one of the most accomplished quarterbacks to ever come out of the Detroit PAL Football program. Donovan Dooley.

To follow a career year in the PAL Youth Football League with 27 touchdowns, Donovan would anchor St. Martin De Pores Varsity High School to a state championship. Splitting a collegiate athletic career between Wayne State University and West Los Angeles Community College, he lead WLACC to their second conference championship since 1979, throwing for 2,356 yards with 25 passing touchdowns.

Dooley’s Quarterback University (QBU) clinic took place Sunday, May 18th, at Northeastern High School. Divided into two sections,  24 Detroit PAL organizations were represented as phase one catered to coaches only. Illustrating proper fundamental evaluation and practice to be implemented in quarterback training, Donovan and his staff focused on leadership by example and positive reinforcement during times of in-game adversity.

The early afternoon hours brought phase two; bringing in 48 athletes for extensive professional quarterback demonstrations. Everything from stretching to reading defensive coverage was broken-down during the four hour workout.

dooleyQBU is a nationally recognized quarterback development entity. Detroit PAL players exercised proper footwork and pocket technique. What Donovan calls a “small, controlled environment” ensures attention to detail. Points of emphasis include proper hand placement when handing-off, passing or running with the ball.

Strategically scheduled by Mike Bradley, the camp was followed up the very next week with the beginning of the Detroit PAL 7 on 7 Football League. Consisting of only 14 players on the field, a 5 week skill league allows for isolation and skill refinement in passing, receiving and route running. “We are doing everything we can to help develop our young quarterbacks skills” said Mike.

This style of football provides youth quarterbacks the opportunity to assess the game, coverages and the overall responsibility of the position; but there is a catch. With no tackling allowed, players do not wear equipment. There is no running the football and as the ball is snapped, quarterbacks are given a four second window to throw, before being issued an automatic ‘sack’.


Following the conclusion of both QBU and 7 on 7, PAL Tackle Football will begin the very next day, June 23. Bradley said “So now our QB’s  come into camp with extra reps, receivers will have had extra reps too, everyone is much more prepared and confident”.

When piecing the project together, Bradley went straight to the source. “I called his mother and said ‘I need to talk to your son’ “. That was the first and only phone call needed to entice an enthusiastic Dooley. And like Donovan, his parents continue to give back to youth football and dedicate their time as managers of Detroit PAL’s East Side Falcons Football Organization.