Our recent articles re VA have stirred the feelings of some coaches in my network, and I received the following analysis (below) from one of them, that, while controversial, is also illuminating. I added the GIFs, picture, and my personal endorsement to what he wrote. This is fun stuff, my friends!
So – why would some stupid guy state the absurd: “Vernon Adams will have a better statistical year next season than Marcus Mariota did last year.” I’m the guy (another FishDuck.com consultative coach), so let me state my case: Vernon is a very accurate passer.
His yearly completion percentages at EWU were 61%, 66% and 66% — and that (obviously) includes drops and throw-aways (Marcus’s were 69%, 64% and 68%). Of anyone who has seen him play, the first thing they say about VA is how incredibly accurate he is with his passes [“Just give him a small window …”]. And then there’s the eyeball test. Charles Fischer and I independently watched every pass Adams threw against Oregon State and Washington. Our verdict: incredibly accurate.
You skeptics say, “Yeah, but who was he playing against?” My response is, “How ’bout defenses whose every-down-emphasis was to stop Vernon Adams?” Do you know how hard it is to throw on 3rd-and-long? For EWU, every play was essentially 3rd-and-long. The Big-Sky conference’s defensive players might not have been Pac-12-worthy, but they were scholarship athletes, with very knowledgeable defensive coordinators.
You might have noticed VA did pretty well (above) against the far superior athletes of the Beavers and Huskies – who each had minimal respect for EWU’s running game. The Huskies had about 7 NFL-quality defenders and yet they gave up 7 TD passes to Adams. Washington’s defenders (after having watched VA shred OSU the previous year) certainly were very aware of, and highly motivated to stop, Adams. Coaches Chris Petersen and Mike Riley both admitted their defenders simply couldn’t contain him.
You might have noticed that Oregon often has wide-open receivers? This is mostly due to the respect that is paid to the Ducks’ rushing offense. Russell Wilson — who reminds me so much of Adams — has been aided by great rushing offenses at Wisconsin and now, Seattle. VA now has that great running game at Oregon to help get his receivers open in the play-action packages you see with the Ducks.
Have we seen Vernon’s true upside? Now that opponents must pack the box to stop highly-talented runners such as Royce Freeman and Thomas Tyner — it leaves fewer defenders in the secondary (outside the box), and opens up more attractive one-one-one situations for the Ducks’ gifted receivers. With fewer defenders in the secondary … what can Adams do with his accuracy? Is a 70% completion rate possible? (Yes!)
Adams (above) is also a very elusive scrambler, who often ran to throw into broken coverages with wide-open receivers. Think carefully, Oregon fans, how often did Mariota “successfully” throw after scrambling? Marcus’ scrambles usually resulted in his keeping the ball and running upfield, or throwing the ball away to avoid a loss.
By contrast, Vernon constantly threw accurate completions while or after scrambling. I appreciate Marcus as much as any of you, but he wasn’t always accurate with his passes. It wasn’t just the missed open receivers, but many of his completions required his receivers to adjust to the ball and prevented them from running full speed after the catch. I think VA will greatly improve the Ducks’ YAC [yards after catch] statistics because of his accuracy. An important stat — to show a passer isn’t just dumping the ball off – is YD/A [yards per attempt]. VA’s were 9.1, 10.3, and 9.2. Marcus’s averages were 9.1, 10.6, and 11.5. 2015 will be VA’s chance to improve on his numbers.
You know what really helps improve that stat? It’s the ability of receivers run with the ball after they make the catch — providing they can catch the ball in stride. VA will be throwing to the likes of Byron Marshall, Bralon Addison, Dwayne Stanford and Devon Allen, coupled with the capable hands of the Duck running backs. Adams will be throwing to more experienced receivers and better run-after-catch men than Mariota did. (Thus my optimism.)
Some of you are skeptical because VA missed spring practice. Excuse me, but Adams has played three seasons of college football with opponents knowing they had to stop him to win the game. He led a lot of young men to many victories, and that to me, somehow seems a bit more important than missing a few practices. VA’s already had to read progressions against every possible coverage and make tough throws under pressure, often in lousy weather. How many of last year’s Pac-12 QBs could have achieved what Adams did at Eastern Washington?
So enjoy yourselves, Duck fans. We’re extremely fortunate to have Vernon Adams leading the Ducks — with the added bonus of him being a wonderful young man. He gave up a lot of well-earned glory to gamble on a dream that will continue in Eugene.
“Oh how we love to learn about our new beloved Duck!”
(FishDuck) Oregon Football Analyst for CFF Network/FishDuck.com Eugene, Oregon
Top Photo from Video