September 14, 2010

UCLA Passing Inquisition - Stanford 2010

Though I've explained all this in the PI FAQ, since this is brand-new I'll summarize some important terms for the upcoming post here. After each play, you'll see something along the lines of (CA+, 3). The first item is how I classified that specific pass - the meanings of each classification are here. This will eventually go in the Chart of Hope, the running tally of the entire season's pass results. The second item is what I rated the catch difficulty for the wide receiver. Higher is easier. More specifics can be found here.

Ed. - 2nd half later today, as are charts. Full analysis and video to come tomorrow. Everything should be up and running now.

Yard Line Down Distance Player Yards
UCLA 19 1 10 Rosario INC
The Bruins start the game off with a bomb attempt from a snap under center (I don't remember if they did this once last week). It's a pretty simple straight fly pattern. The DB gets into Rosario and slows him up a bit off the line, but Prince just overthrows him. This is a tough pass, but the play is there if the ball is better-thrown. (IN, 0)
Drive Notes: An immediate 3-and-out leading to a punt. An inauspicious debut for this season's offense, to be sure. Yes, the last two sentences were copy-pasted from last week. Oh good. They try some runs here deep in their own territory, but Coleman can't quite attack the holes quickly enough. Stanford scores a TD on the next drive.
Yard Line Down Distance Player Yards
UCLA 32 3 1 Coleman -2
A lot of Coleman to start this game. Here UCLA takes a quick snap on third and short, which they also did last week. But while at KSU they made it with an inside blast, the call here is a pass. Harkey just COMPLETELY whiffs on his block, but I think this was a designed screen, which is too bad: I think Rosario's got single coverage on the top here with no deep help to that side. The Stanford safety isn't fooled at all (on 3rd and short - surprise!), and comes up to immediately tackle short of the LOS. (CA, 3, Screen)
Drive Notes: An immediate 3-and-out leading to a punt. An inauspicious debut for this season's offense, to be sure. Yes, the last two sentences were copy-pasted from last paragraph. Oh good. LOTS of DC here. I just don't think he has the burst necessary for plays like this. The ensuing Stanford drive goes 80+ yards, but the D holds for only a FG.
Yard Line Down Distance Player Yards
UCLA 26 1 10 Embree 15-yd Pen
*Note - Pistol formation* Franklin gets a shot at TB, and doesn't do a particularly good job blocking the blitzing LB, though far worse is Kia missing almost entirely on a straight edge rush. Prince is pressured here a bit, and the throw probably sails on him as a result. Once more they've got single coverage to the WR on the strong side. This throw isn't great, but Embree draws a PI call on a ball he probably never would have gotten to, but who knows? Results-based charting will label this (CA-, 1).
UCLA 41 1 10 Embree 17
*Note - Pistol formation* Hey, another first down! Pretty solid amount of time here for Prince to load up and gun this ball. The throw is high, but Embree climbs the ladder and hauls the pass in. The pass is understandably a bit over Embree's head, as Prince needs to clear a linebacker helping underneath. Still, a very nice catch to bring the ball in, and something sorely lacking from last week. (CA, 1)
Stan 40 2 8 Rosario 5
*Note - Pistol formation* Quick curl route to get a much easier 3rd-down distance. Rosario just goes out 5 yards and turns around, and Prince delivers the ball on-time before the LB can slide over. Nice pitch-and-catch. (CA+, 3)
Stan 37 3 5 Sack -7
*Note - Pistol formation* A Ricky Marvray hold wipes out a very nice run by Coleman to the 15-yd line, so UCLA has to try again on 3rd-and-5. Prince has some time, but can't find anybody downfield, and eventually Prince gets sacked. On looking at this again, I think this was maybe supposed to go to Carroll as a checkdown/screen, but Harkey gets shoved back straight into him, knocking him off his route coming across behind the LOS. Nobody's left open. This is 4 Cardinal defenders (the 5th man coming in late was spying) vs. 6 UCLA blockers - Prince should have had more time. Also, I think the play was thrown off by the poor blocking of Harkey, so (PR, N/A)
Drive Notes: The Bruins are moving the ball a bit better here, and the hold really hurts what could have been a TD drive. Interestingly, after the UCLA D forces a punt, their next offensive sequence has nothing but running plays. They're moving down the field extremely well, when Carroll has the ball stripped, leading to a Stanford recovery and another Cardinal FG. The following kick goes OOB.
Yard Line Down Distance Player Yards
UCLA 40 1 10 Rosario 8
*Note - Pistol formation* GREAT field position to start this drive. Stanford is playing waaaaay off Rosario here, and UCLA takes advantage with an easy curl for a quick 8 yards with nobody even close to Nelson. (CA, 3)
Stan 28 2 14 Sack -7
*Note - Pistol formation* The Bruins have had a lot of success running the ball well into Stanford territory, but a Williams false start on 1st-down really hurts the team here. When Stanford stuffs the ensuing 1st-and-15 run, UCLA is almost forced to pass. The Cardinal again only rush 4 (with a 5th man spying) against 6 UCLA blockers, and still get to Prince. He's patting the ball looking to pass, but I think this was a slow-developing play with the blockers to protect him. They didn't. (PR, N/A)
Stan 35 3 21 Marvray INT
*Note - Pistol formation* 3rd-and-21. This will go well. I think Prince believes Marvray is behind the coverage if he can get it to the back corner of the end-zone. He is no Doug Flutie. He short-arms the throw into double-coverage, and it wasn't even Rosario or Embree (who are at least big and could maybe win a jump-ball). Once more it's a 4-man rush with a spy (Stanford's answer to the Pistol) but the pocket still collapses. The run blocking has been pretty good, but the pass protection is lacking. This time it's Taylor who can't hold his block. Still, just an awful idea to throw this ball, with Forbath certainly able to make a 50 yard field goal. (BR, 0)
Drive Notes: The Bruins are moving the ball a bit better here, and the hold false start really hurts what could have been a TD drive. I have begun repeating myself. The ground game is coming to life as Franklin and Jones get more work. I don't think that's an accident. The D holds to give the Bruins one last shot before the half, and Embree once again deserves an Oscar for his 2nd undeserved drawn kick catch interference penalty in 2 weeks. Veteran savvy!
Yard Line Down Distance Player Yards
Stan 38 1 10 Scramble 6
*Note - Pistol formation* Okay, UCLA. 80 seconds left in the half, you're already inside Stanford's 40, and you've actually been the better team for the last 10 minutes or so. What do you do? ... Huh. Franklin motions out wide from the Pistol back spot, then takes off downfield from about 5 yards behind the LOS. I don't like the decision to try going deep when just a few yards gets a FG, and a first down stops the clock. Prince does do a good job of fighting for yards on his run. However, he completely misses Marvray coming across the middle here on a short drag - he'd have been 1-on-1 with a linebacker, probably gotten at least 3 or 4, and had a good shot at 1st-down yardage or more, plus he was headed towards the sideline and could have stopped the clock. (BR, N/A)
Stan 32 2 4 Harkey INC
Once again, when UCLA 'needs' a long pass play, they switch out of the Pistol formation. Interesting. This is the best throw of the night by Prince. So, of course, it's dropped. And it's not dropped because of the hit - you can see the ball coming loose (alternate camera angle) before Harkey gets knocked by the DB. This is one of those examples where, yes, it's only a "single drop," but the impact is so much greater because of the combination of points off the board and momentum lost. Hits him on his hands in stride - he has to reach out, but this is Division 1 football, not Pop Warner. Great route, great throw. Gotta finish that with a catch. (DO, 2)
Stan 37 3 9 Harkey INC
AGAIN in the Pro Set. AGAIN to Harkey. And the first long pass play last week was also to Harkey from this formation. I think Prince gets into habits sometimes. Here, the protection is good, and Harkey gets fairly open across the middle (though short of the 1st down). The throw is high and behind him a bit, and he can't hold on to the ball. This could have gotten UCLA back into FG range. (CA-, 2)
Drive Notes: The second straight drive late in this half with fantastic field position that garners 0 points. Even a pair of FGs would have totally changed the complexion of the game, much less a TD or two. Instead the team is booed off the field. End of the 1st half.
Yard Line Down Distance Player Yards
UCLA 11 1 10 Barr 0
*Note - Pistol formation* UCLA gets the ball to start the second-half, and opens with a little screen to Barr, who is lined up as the F-back motioning across the formation. The safety comes up quickly to tackle for no gain. (CA, 3, Screen)
UCLA 11 2 10 Rosario 10
*Note - Pistol formation* (Ed. - At least, I think it's Pistol; ESPN comes back to the play after the ball is snapped.) Play action rollout here, and Rosario is open on another one of those 5-yard curls. This play is there more often than not, and Prince hits him with another easy throw. Rosario turns upfield and gets close to the first before getting hit out of bounds. They give it to him on the spot. (CA, 3)
UCLA 27 3 4 Embree 6-yd Pen
*Note - Pistol formation* Embree comes across the formation and runs the same 5-yard curl UCLA's used for the majority of their passing success. It works here again, as the LB hits Embree too soon and gets called for PI. You can also see Rosario about to break free when he's dragged down at the top of the screen. He would have been running free behind the safety otherwise, though I don't think Prince saw him. The pass is fine, if a bit late - Embree has already fully completed his curl and has to wait for Prince to throw. (CA, 1)
Stan 34 1 10 Rosario INC
*Note - Pistol formation* Prince audibles into this pass play, which is a deep route for Rosario. He gets 1-on-1 coverage, but can't get any separation. This is actually a pretty nice throw from Prince, but the CB for Stanford does a good job of fighting through Rosario's handplay to swat the ball away. I think Rosario needs to slow up a bit and try to catch this higher, so that the CB has to go through him to get to the ball. (CA, 0)
Stan 32 3 8 Rosario INC
*Note - Pistol formation* Tons of time here, including a fantastic blitz pickup by Anthony Barr. Prince has Rosario open on yet ANOTHER curl, this time at about the 20-yard line. He throws this ball way too high, though, and Rosario is unable to make what would have been a spectacular one-handed catch. (IN, 1)
Drive Notes: Another good drive stalls after a couple of incomplete long pass plays. I can't really put the onus on the coaches here, though - Prince audibles into the long bomb, Jones gets stuffed, then Prince misfires on an open Rosario. Forbath misses the FG. Fitting. Stanford follows with a 9-minute TD drive that effectively ends the game, given UCLA's offense to that point. Of course, the next UCLA play from scrimmage is the strip-fumble-TD. 28-0 Cardinal. Goodnight, Kevin.
Yard Line Down Distance Player Yards
UCLA 42 1 10 Scramble 2
*Note - Pistol formation* Brehaut in. Just in case that wasn't clear. Play-action off the fake dive. Stanford isn't fooled, and drops 7 into coverage against only 2 UCLA receivers (Barr motions across but stays in to block). Brehaut has tons of time but can't find anybody downfield, so he takes off for a short gain. I think he probably could have waited another second or two to see if anybody came open, but this is clearly a case of coverage, so gets marked as a (TA, N/A).
UCLA 44 2 8 Sack -3
*Note - Pistol formation* Once more 4 Stanford linemen attack 6 UCLA blockers. Really, Brehaut has a fair amount of time to throw here, but doesn't see anything. UCLA looks to be running 4 deep routes, which take longer, and before they complete the DL splits the Taylor/Williams double-team. At the end of the play, Brehaut puts the ball on the ground as he's tackled, but Franklin falls on it immediately. I'm tempted to label this a throwaway too, but I think these routes were slow-developing, so I'll chart it as (PR, N/A).
Drive Notes: A pair of runs end up a yard short, and UCLA turns the ball over on downs. This was not what the coaches were hoping to see, with Brehaut coming in and showing his same hesitancy in the pocket, and again putting the ball on the turf. Stanford takes the good field position and uses it for a TD. Stanford pulls their starters for the rest of the game.
Yard Line Down Distance Player Yards
UCLA 28 1 10 Rosario 11
*Note - Pistol formation* Play-action rollout, and Brehaut finally throws his first pass of the season. It's a nice dart to Rosario, who again is hanging out after another open 5-yard curl. Stanford's playing pretty soft, here, so this is wide open with space to run for the first after. (CA, 3)
UCLA 39 1 10 Rosario 9
*Note - Pistol formation* This is a pretty nice pass under pressure. Presley comes across the formation to block, and just flails at the DL (this was schemed intentionally, and would have worked well if he had done a better job). Stanford is in the backfield immediately, and Brehaut has to throw with a hand in his face. Rosario has cut back towards the sideline on his route, and Brehaut hits him in stride just before getting leveled. This is not an easy pass, and it's exactly the sort of throw UCLA has been missing so far this season. (CA+, 3)
UCLA 48 2 1 Marvray INC
*Note - Pistol formation* Quick hitter on a go route - he's got Marvray open, but just throws it 3 yards behind him. They had this play if they wanted it all night, really - Stanford's corners were playing very soft all game. (IN, 0)
Stan 48 1 10 Barr 12
*Note - Pistol formation* After lining up in trips, there's a nice catch-and-run by Anthony Barr. Brehaut puts the ball in a spot where he can continue in the same direction towards the middle of the field off his break, and Barr does the rest. Once again, Brehaut delivers the ball right before the arrival of the Stanford DL (same one that hit him on his previous completion, I believe). Griffiths and Taylor get split this time. (CA+, 3)
Stan 36 1 10 Presley 2
*Note - Pistol formation* This time Brehaut clearly lacks the timing he showed on previous passes, waiting much too long for Presley to come open. The route's very obvious, and the LB is waiting for him as soon as the ball arrives, holding the gain to very short. The throw is a bit low, and Presley goes to the ground to catch it, but he wasn't getting any further anyway. Even so, considering it's late and low, I'm tabbing this (MA, 3).
Stan 29 1 10 Smith INC
*Note - Pistol formation* After a Marvray late hit mostly nullifies a very nice Malcom Jones run, Brehaut tries for the home run and overthrows Josh Smith. Coverage was there anyway. (IN, 0)
Stan 29 2 10 Smith 8
*Note - Pistol formation* Rollout here, and Brehaut goes right back to Smith, connecting for a moderate gain. Good thing they called the rollout or Brehaut was dead to rights by a corner blitz. Solid throw, a little high but gets it there quickly, and it's very catchable. So. (CA, 3)
Stan 21 3 2 Barr INC
*Note - Pistol formation* Barr motions across the formation and then heads upfield, and Brehaut tries to hit him as he gets to the goal line. This is tough to chart, because Barr looks like he doesn't make a ton of effort for the ball, but it's not really on target either. It hits him in the hands, but he would have come down out of bounds even if he had caught it. I think Barr can slow up and catch this with the DB not looking, but the throw's still high and wide, so I'll say this is (MA, 1).
Stan 21 4 2 Johnson INT
Brehaut under center instead of shotgun? Interesting. I think he actually has Jerry Johnson on a slant here for the 1st and more, but the pass is batted at the line, knocked into the air, and into the arms of a Stanford DE. Whoops. (BA, N/A)
Drive Notes: Brehaut makes a couple of nice throws, and a couple of not-so-nice ones, but this was probably the best 'passing' drive of the game. It was also against Stanford's 2nd- and 3rd-stringers, so I'm not sure how instructive that really is. End of the game.

So What?

Eugh. That was ugly. It's a stretch, but I'm sticking with the name for now, so let's see the Chart of "Hope"! First up is Kevin Prince:

 Opponent   DO   CA   MA   IN   BR   TA   BA   PR   DSR 
KSU 2 13 (2) 2 6 (1) 5 - 1 (1) 3 46% (13/28)
Stanford 1 10 (2) - 2 2 - - 2 60% (9/15)

60%! That DSR really jumps out. I couldn't believe it either. Remember, DSR, or "Downfield Success Rate," is a measure of the number of catchable passes he throws down the field (DO+CA) out of all his downfield passes (DO+CA+MA+IN+BR+TA+PR) - balls batted at the LOS don't count, nor do screen plays. 60% is actually reasonably good, and a significant improvement on last week's 46%. But, as they say, there are lies, damn lies, and statistics - and here the statistics are damn liars.

The problem is, 'downfield' is a nebulous term that basically means everything that's not a screen, immediate flare, or 2-yard drag. And all Prince was hitting, more-or-less, were extremely short passes. On the 15 downfield attempts Prince had, he garnered +53 yards, with an interception. That's 3.5 yards per 'downfield' passing play (and that includes the two pass interference penalties), with a goal-line interception thrown in for good measure. That just won't do it.

Let's see how Brehaut did.

 Opponent   DO   CA   MA   IN   BR   TA   BA   PR   DSR 
Stanford - 4 2 2 - 1 1 1 40% (4/10)

Small sample size warnings abound. Worth noting - on Brehaut's 10 'downfield' pass attempts, he gained 41 yards with an INT - 4.1 yds per downfield pass play, with an interception as well. And that was against Stanford's second-team defense, playing soft with a 35-point lead. However, Brehaut put together the only real 'passing' drive of the game. Aside from Brehaut's 5-completion drive, the next-most completions on one drive (by Prince) was 2 - most of the yardage gained on even the best drives by Prince were via runs, not passes.

There was a TON of Pistol in this game, as you can see above (maybe I should just start noting when the team ISN'T in the Pistol). They only ran 5 passing plays that weren't in the Pistol (out of the 26 total), netting one completion for -2 yards, 3 incompletions, and an interception. The remaining 21 pass plays out of the Pistol went for 94 yards, with an interception thrown in for good measure. 4.5 yards per play - the average yards per play from the Pistol - is not very good... but it's light years better than averaging -0.4 yards per play, which is what they did out of standard formations.

Let's move on to the Receiverchart:

This Game Totals
Player 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3
Presley - - - 1/1 - - 0/1 1/2
Embree - 1/3 - - 4 1/3 - 1/2
Coleman---1/11- -2/2
Smith 1 - -1/11 -0/11/1
Marvray2--- 4-0/11/1
Franklin--- --0/11/1-
Barr-0/1 -2/2-0/11/22/2
Harkey--0/2- --0/21/1

The first thing I notice is that Prince throws it to Rosario a ton. Right now Rosario has 15 targets, Embree has 9, and nobody else has more than 6 (which is being generous, since that '6' is Marvray's, and 4 of those passes were completely uncatchable). Prince and Brehaut both spend a lot of time throwing short outs/curls to Rosario. For all that's been made of the improved talent at WR, there has been much bemoaning their lack of production. Gotta throw to them! Barr seems to be the only 'new' face getting much of a realistic look, and he's actually done pretty well with the opportunity: he's 2nd on the team in receptions right now.

One more item of amusement: Embree is the penalty king. He's earned 2 PI calls and 2 catch interference calls this season (worth an extra 51 yards), which has made him arguably the most productive receiver on the team despite having only 2 catches so far.

Going forward?

Who knows? I thought they'd score at least into the 20s against Stanford, if not the 30s. I was... not even remotely close. I'm not convinced Brehaut is the answer to UCLA's QB troubles - on his first series he still showed some of the same problems that kept him off the field last season. However, once he got into the flow of the game a bit (his 2nd drive), he displayed a solid arm, a good rapport with the receivers, and the ability to move the ball through the air. How much of that was due to playing against Stanford's backups, up 35? No clue. I can say that the INT wasn't really his fault, as the pass he had batted down looked to be a correct read to an open Jerry Johnson.

The real problem for this offense is a lack of ability to produce any sort of big play through the air. UCLA moved the ball well on the ground. They had reasonably high conversion rate on pass plays (adding in the PI calls, they "completed" 13 passes in 23 attempts, which is over 56%) - certainly high enough that one would have expected a better offense. But the yards per attempt is where it becomes clear that the offense is failing. They have to have more success on pass plays beyond 5-yards from the LOS. Without that, they've got no chance. As to who will better accomplish that going forward? I think Prince deserves one more shot (well, two, really - no way Rick/Norm give Brehaut his first career start at Texas), as my understanding is that he throws a better deep ball. He's gotta start showing it in games, though, or this season will be verrrrrrrry long indeed.


Anonymous said...

The 3rd and 21 pass to Marvray should say INT, not 8 yard gain

Good read though

Underbruin said...

Whoops, nice catch, thanks.