The cries for the backup quarterback have begun!
… and I think they are unfounded. But, lets rate them anyway!
Good: Last night KiDodge went 4/7 for 117 yards. Most of those (69) coming of a bubble screen to Jamaal Jackson. No interceptions and he avoided pressure and turned it into some yardage.
Bad: He missed wide open receivers. I mean he didn’t see them. I know its easier for me, sitting on the fifty to see guys running open, but still. There was a play action pass (at 1:05:00 on espn360) that he threw to the outside guy running a double move. Seemingly just an overthrow (who says he don’t have an arm? Oh wait, the broadcast dudes said that) but what you cannot tell from the replays is that Carey was running free over the middle. The PA drew the linebackers up and the safety was playing deep coverage. All he had to do was drop it in there for at least a 20 yard gain.
There was one more where he was scrambling right and saw Outlaw on the sidelines. He tried to lead him up the field but missed him because of miscommunication. I put that on him. As a receiver, you’re standing there and you don’t know where the QB is going to throw it. You can try moving up field but the pass could be where you used to be. If he wants to lead him up the field he should have put it on his upfield shoulder. It makes all the difference. He can catch it and and run that way in one motion.
Good: He went 13/17 129 yards and a score.
Bad: More missed receivers. I get the feeling that Tune, for all his cool-under-pressure-praise (he is a junior-he should be cool under pressure) he leans on his first option and doesn’t come off it until its too late or just dumps it off after it isn’t open.
Look at that last drive for an example. Big moment. On third and seven he forces it to Outlaw who is blanketed by the defender. He does a mechanically unsound falling back throw. There was no pressure. No need to hurry the throw. If he would have come off that read and looked to the guy running across the middle, he would have probably had a big gain.
Although there are lots of doubts about the coaching staff. Whatever your feelings on those guys you have to allow the fact that they know what they want their quarterback to do and have decided, based off of lots of practice reps, that Riley does those things better.
From what I’ve seen, Riley can throw those long passes. He isn’t seeing the field as well as even Tune is because he is a freshman. He lacks experience. Rarely in high school do you have to go throw all your reads. The biggest knock on him is that he is not living up to our lofty expectations. Looking at his performance I think we can say that he is doing a pretty damn good job for a redshirt freshman.
Don’t compare him to Colt McCoy who had a national championship team around him. Don’t compare him to Gio Vizza either, because this is a different schedule and different team than three years ago.