Tuesday, September 23, 2008

so, not too shabby

Maybe this'll work out OK. I got around to watching the UConn game. Sort of - I watched the offense, anyway, with the specific purpose of making some attempt at evaluating the quarterbacks as is my custom. I didn't bother watching the defense. It stinks, and you didn't need me to tell you that.

But this Verica kid. Hey now. I was impressed. More on that in a bit. The usual way of doing things around here (which is to say: I've done it twice and am going to do it a third time right now) is to adjust the quarterback's passing stats based on what "should" have happened. Receivers drop balls, holding calls are handed out, etc; giving credit for those (and taking away credit when a receiver goes above and beyond the call of duty for a catch) results in these adjusted stats.

Today there's very little of that to do. Here's what I came up with this week:

Verica's actual stats: 22/30, 158 yds, 0 TD, 1 INT
Verica's adjusted stats: 21/30, 159 yds, 0 TD, 1 INT

Deke's actual stats: 3/8, 30 yds, 0 TD, 1 INT
Deke's adjusted stats: 4/8, 35 yds, 0 TD, 1 INT

Verica's 12th throw: Koch bent down to make a nice catch at the knees. Take away 1 completion and 4 yards.
Verica's 17th throw: Ogletree caught the ball but managed to rack up -5 YAC, so add those 5 yards back to Verica's total.

Deke's 1st throw: Covington flat-out dropped it. Add a completion and 5 yards.

That's it. Against Richmond there were plenty of adjustments to make with the stats and Lalich came out looking better than his actual stats indicated. Today, not so much.

Anyway. Verica. This redshirt sophomore who'd never taken a snap in a college game looked like a polished senior. No, really! He was decisive, he was accurate, he didn't panic in the pocket. "But, bloggerguy," you're saying. "The playcalling didn't call for anything downfield!" True enough. The playbook was clearly scaled back. It looked like the Jameel Sewell playbook without the running-quarterback plays. This is OK. Many quarterbacks fail to successfully execute even the dump-off over the middle. The throws Verica made, they were good, accurate throws. They were put where the receiver could catch them AND where he could run after the catch. Somewhat.

Because here's the problem: UConn clearly had no respect for the running game. It's garbage. I think it was the fourth quarter by the time Simpson had a for-real, no-shit hole to run through. These guys get no push off the line of scrimmage. None. What's puzzling is the pass-blocking is -dare I say it? - good. I suspect, though this is a darts-in-the-dark guess because I am not an O-line coach, that the technique is good but the S&C is a major weakness. This theory would seem to explain the fact that UConn was not blowing past our guys into the backfield, but also was never pushed back off the line.

Anyway, Verica. I wish we had a running game anymore, because the kid knows his way around a pocket. And this was his first game ever! And he looked like a seasoned upperclassman. I am no longer concerned about the quarterback position. It's thin with only three schollie QBs, but if Verica is a good student and doesn't drink...and stays away from quasi-gay clubs downtown.....and doesn't beat people up....and doesn't mouth off to the coaches.....and doesn't bend his knee sideways (all this is a lot to ask these days) then we are in good shape under center for the rest of the season.

No comments: