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aubiefifty

Receivers...what we know and what we don't

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19 minutes ago, Tiger said:

Kerryon Johnson threw the ball over the middle once to NCM...so there's that I guess?

It's the sport of kings, better than diamond rings...

Image result for goldie hawn wildcats gif

Shout out to anyone who gets this reference. 

 

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In 2017, Jarrett Stidham became the second player in Auburn football’s 125-year history to pass for more than 3,000 yards in a  season. Stidham fell 119 yards shy of Dameyune Craig’s program record — an impressive feat, especially considering how Auburn limited itself in the passing game.

The former Baylor quarterback put up nearly record-breaking numbers despite throwing a small percentage of his passes in the intermediate range of 10 to 19 yards downfield. Instead, the vast majority of his attempts were safe throws near the line of scrimmage or deep balls thrown 20 yards or more in the air.

Drawn from film review of Auburn’s 14 games last season, below is a chart of Stidham’s pass attempts broken down by direction and distance thrown downfield. (Note that these totals exclude throwaways and shovel passes on jet sweeps.)

Stidham-Passing-Chart.jpg

With Stidham reacclimating to college football after a year away from game action and debuting in a new offensive scheme, Auburn went with a strategy that could be described as “go big or stay home.”

More than a third of Stidham’s pass attempts never crossed the line of scrimmage. Nearly another third didn’t go farther than 10 yards downfield. But on the other end of the spectrum, Auburn reignited what had been a dormant deep-passing attack with former quarterback Sean White, using Stidham’s arm talent to complete 22 passes thrown 20 yards or more downfield, including seven for touchdowns.

The intermediate range throws of 10 to 19 yards in the air were the most underutilized in Auburn’s offense. Stidham attempted those passes only 51 times — fewer than the deep balls and less than half as many as both the attempts shorter than 10 yards and the passes thrown to targets behind the line of scrimmage.

Yes, the intermediate pass is inherently less appealing than the other two options. Shorter passes are safer, and deeper passes often have better potential to create big plays. But Stidham threw in the 10-to-19-yard range far less frequently than his peers.

With the help of tracking done by CFB Film Room, 247Sports and NDT Scouting, here’s how several of the top quarterbacks from the 2017 college football season compared to Stidham on intermediate passes:

For an offense that put up one of its best-ever passing seasons, Auburn was greatly limited in this area as Stidham averaged fewer than four intermediate attempts per game in 2017. However, the infrequency of those throws was not because of a lack of success.

Stidham’s intermediate completion rate (62.7 percent) topped that of 2018 first-round picks Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen and Lamar Jackson, and his yards per attempt mark (11.6) was better than each of those three players as well.

On third downs, Stidham was even better, as he completed 14 of his 22 intermediate attempts (63.6%). Thirteen of those completions moved the chains, and the 14th was a touchdown pass. Despite accounting for less than 15 percent of his total pass attempts, a third of Stidham’s third-down conversions in 2017 came on throws 10 to 19 yards downfield.

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Stidham is viewed as one of the top quarterback prospects for the 2019 NFL Draft, much like many of those above quarterbacks were for 2018. But, as Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.comwrote last month, “It’s tough to evaluate the quarterback in Gus Malzahn’s attack because of the lack of intermediate throws and full-field reads. … (Stidham) will likely need some time to develop in the NFL, due to the limited opportunities in this area.”

For Stidham to showcase his full pro potential — and for Auburn to take advantage of his entire skill set as a returning starter at quarterback — he will need to get more intermediate opportunities, and many signs point to that happening in 2018.

It’s the natural evolution of an offense that combines Malzahn’s run, play-action scheme with coordinator Chip Lindsey’s “Air Raid” roots. And to get that done, Auburn not only returns Stidham, but also every scholarship receiver who finished the 2017 season. (That includes Eli Stove and Will Hastings, who are out indefinitely with ACL injuries suffered during the spring.)

Like Stidham, Auburn’s wideouts showed promise in their few intermediate opportunities last fall. Three Tigers were targeted at least 10 times on such routes last season — junior Nate Craig-Myers, junior Darius Slayton and senior Hastings.

Craig-Myers had the most such targets, catching eight of his 12 for 142 yards with one drop. Six of those eight receptions were successful third-down conversions. The 6-foot-2 Florida native stands to benefit the most from a greater focus on these routes because he has spent most of his time this offseason working in the slot, where he can use his larger frame and wide catch radius to create matchup problems against smaller defenders.

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“Nate has the ability to make plays down the field,” Malzahn said in March. “(Wide receivers coach Kodi Burns) is going to give him the opportunity to do that in the spring, and hopefully that will carry over to next year.”

Slayton wasn’t far behind Craig-Myers in 2017 at seven catches and one drop on 11 intermediate targets for 130 yards. Although Slayton was Auburn’s primary deep threat, Lindsey also called him “an underrated intermediate route runner” last December.

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Slayton told reporters this year that his offseason goal was to catch “a lot more” intermediate balls and become “more consistent” in that area.

Hastings was drop-free on his 10 intermediate targets, with six catches for 129 yards. Most of those targets came in the final minutes of losses to LSU and UCF, but he became a reliable go-to man for Stidham late in the Peach Bowl with three first-down grabs.

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Having at least Craig-Myers and Slayton back for the entire 2018 season should help boost Stidham’s intermediate passing success this fall. Utilizing more of those throws will make Auburn’s pass offense less predictable and more dangerous, especially with the growing chemistry Stidham has developed with his veteran receivers.

Stidham’s debut campaign was one of the most productive seasons for a quarterback in Auburn history. With more freedom in the offense, experience with his teammates and coaches and — presumably — play calls that attack what was an overlooked part of the field, the Texan has plenty of potential to rewrite the Tigers’ record book in 2018.

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5 minutes ago, bigbird said:

But, as Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.comwrote last month, “It’s tough to evaluate the quarterback in Gus Malzahn’s attack because of the lack of intermediate throws and full-field reads. … (Stidham) will likely need some time to develop in the NFL, due to the limited opportunities in this area.”

Whiner.

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6 hours ago, McLoofus said:

It's the sport of kings, better than diamond rings...

Image result for goldie hawn wildcats gif

Shout out to anyone who gets this reference. 

 

“Wildcats” wasn’t a great movie but Woody Harrelson’s snap counts made it worth watching. A lot more entertaining than Peyton Manning saying “Omaha” all the time.

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On 7/7/2018 at 4:00 PM, NorthGATiger said:

Here is my question.  Stove, Davis, Myers, and McClain were considered to be one of the best WR classes in the modern era for Auburn.  Davis created his issue but were these kids overrated by everyone including a who's who among college coaches or are we not finding ways to use that talent?  It's hard to get excited about any WR signing with Auburn until Gus can turn that talent into something more than a blocking machine.  Our rivals recruit equal talent at the position and those players show up as freshman and sophomores who live up to the billing.  Ours come to Auburn, open the dictionary to the M's, and find the word mediocre.  Don't take a great athletic talent and remove that athletic talent by making a kid think to much or learn to be a blocker or not play.  Use them for what they are and improve their game by feeding them the things that will make them a complete player.  In my opinion Gus, with all skill players, wants to make a kid good at everything before he can see the field.  It would be easier to recruit TE's and have them lose weight lol.  In all seriousness, was tiny Mecole Hardman a good blocker for UGA his freshman year? No, but they used his talent at what he was good at.  Was Calvin Ridley a good blocker on the perimeter his freshman year. No, but they used him for what he was good at.  It is time for Gus to start using the kids he recruits for what they are good at and stop trying to make them something they are not.

There is a difference in playing in games and being successful and being told you need to improve on your blocking when the ball doesn't come to you and being told you can't play in games until you prove yourself as a blocker.  NCM and McClain are examples of you ain't playing till you can do this or that.  We have all heard and read about how these kids need to get their attitude right and show more effort with the little things before they can play more.  They were stud WRs.  They catch balls and make plays.  Hell they catch balls and make plays in their extremely minimal opportunities that they get.  A Ferrari does you no good in Atlanta traffic.  Why drive it when the top speed is 35. 

A Double Amen to your post! I agree wholeheartedly. Saban recruits Calvin Ridley to play Receiver and guess what..he plays Receiver like a world beater.

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On 7/17/2018 at 12:52 PM, McLoofus said:

Regarding intermediate passing. It's behind a paywall, but the tease says it all. Even Jake from State Fromm threw 1 more per game. Next above him is a huge jump. 

 

Wait....so, us AUF message board coaches didn't make this up?

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1 hour ago, AUsince72 said:

Wait....so, us AUF message board coaches didn't make this up?

BUT WE SET RECORDS!

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