It can be a tenuous relationship.
Everyone has seen it on the sidelines before. A quarterback's face mask grabbed by an irate head coach, who seems to be convinced that his signal caller will get the message if he just screams a few decibels louder.
Some are worse than others. Some are much, much worse. As bad as Nick Saban can get, he's probably quite pleased that Greg McElroy has yet to lose at Alabama.
Here are some coaches whose relationships with their quarterbacks aren't as rosy underneath.
To be fair, Dayne Crist might turn out okay. We just don't know yet.
Brian Kelly comes to Notre Dame and the stakes go up. Way up. Cincinnati wasn't really supposed to win in the first place. What cut the mustard on the banks of the Ohio won't be enough in South Bend.
Kelly probably just wishes he could bring Tony Pike with him to Notre Dame. He can't, so he'll have to make things work with Crist. It just may be a rough first year.
You just don't know what you're going to get with Jacory Harris. Ever.
No. 12 can be a world beater at times. Ask Paul Johnson or Bob Stoops.
Then he can throw three picks against Clemson, four against North Carolina, and pull a total disappearing act against Wisconsin in a bowl game.
Randy Shannon must feel like he's on a roller coaster. The ups are great, but it sure can go downhill fast with Jacory Harris under center.
Kirk Ferentz probably doesn't hate Ricky Stanzi. More likely, he just gets really annoyed with him.
Stanzi has refined the skill of getting his team behind in games when he throws the ball. To be fair, he wins them, but it is way too exciting a brand of football if you like the Hawkeyes.
At some point, squeaking out wins over Northern Iowa and Indiana has to get old.
Iowa had success in 2009 because of their great defense, solid running game, and studs on the offensive line. It had little to do with Ricky Stanzi, though they did win every game he finished.
Just keep handing the ball off, Ricky...
The Sooners had high hopes for 2009. Sam Bradford got flattened in the opener, Landry Jones came in, and they all went up in smoke.
Jones had some solid games, but it's the five interceptions against Nebraska that really stood out. Less than 200 yards against Miami wasn't that stellar a performance, either.
Jones was a freshman in 2009, and freshmen make mistakes. He'll have to tone those down in 2010 if the Sooners want resume playing after New Years Day.
At the end of the day, Stoops is probably more annoyed with Bradford's leaving early than with Jones' lack of experience. But Jones is who he's stuck with now, like it or lump it.
The mustache doesn't help matters either...
Les Miles is stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to his starting quarterback.
Jordan Jefferson, the master of inefficiency himself, has had a lackluster spring. Jarrett Lee, the king of the butterball pass, is his competition.
What's the Mad Hatter to do?
Jefferson will probably be the guy. That will mean still more three-and-outs for the Tigers.
LSU has the talent to break through and contend for a national title at just about every position except quarterback. That fact could take years off of Miles' life.
Had Zac Lee managed to throw for 40 yards against Texas, Nebraska could have won the Big 12 title. Instead, he threw for 39 and the 'Huskers lost by a point.
Lee's performances were equally awful in losses to Virginia Tech and Texas Tech. Outside of games against Florida Atlantic, Arkansas State, and Louisiana-Lafayette, he only eclipsed the 200-yard passing mark once.
Nebraska won in 2009 in spite of Zac Lee, not because of him. If Nebraska wants to return to dominance, Pelini will need a lot more production from his quarterback
If you're Dan Hawkins, what do you do?
Do you bench your son Cody, who has been the worst-rated passer in the Big 12 for the past two years, in favor of Tyler Hansen?
Do you stick with family and continue to draw the ire of a once-proud fan base?
It's a tough call in Boulder. Nothing has come easy for Hawkins, who was tasked with resurrecting a program that Gary Barnett got in trouble.
To be sure, Dan Hawkins doesn't hate his own child. He just probably hates the fact that his yardage, touchdowns, and passer rating have declined each year since he got the starting nod in 2007.
T.J. Yates just hasn't worked out as expected for the Tar Heels. He's immobile, loves to throw picks, and has yet to win a big game as the starter.
North Carolina has been strong when they run the ball between the tackles (at Virginia Tech in 2009) and very beatable when Yates drops back.
Butch Davis would be much more comfortable in Chapel Hill if he had some confidence in his quarterback to make the throws he has to.
In the meantime, he'll keep handing the ball to Shaun Draughn and relying on his top-tier defense to bail out his inept quarterback.
2010 was going to be the year for the Ducks. A very winnable trip to Knoxville, a weak Pac-10, and a new coach at USC was supposed to mean at least another Rose Bowl trip for Oregon.
Then it all fell apart. Seven, distinct, off-the-field issues for the Ducks were highlighted by Jeremiah Masoli's arrest for stealing laptop computers. A year suspension means a new quarterback in Eugene.
It's probably not going to happen for Oregon this year, and Chip Kelly is no doubt placing a ton of responsibilty on Masoli's shoulders.
He'll refund your money if your trip to Idaho doesn't go as planned, but he can't seem to keep his team out of trouble. Oh well, someone has to take the blame. Might as well be the quarterback...
He'll throw you under the bus. He'll chew you out in front of 80,000 and a national television audience. He'll bench you in a second.
Of course Steve Spurrier is No. 1 on this list. Who else could it be?
Stephen Garcia is just one in a long line, but his attitude probably compounds the problem. Spurrier would probably club Garcia in a dark alley if he thought he could get away with it.
What burns Spurrier is that he has never had a quarterback that measured up to his own capabilities as a player, or at least what he perceived them to be.
Don't hold your breath, Gamecock fans. Spurrier isn't changing. Dave Brown, Shane Matthews, and Danny Wuerffel got similar treatment from Darth Visor.