J.Short in the Film Room: Maroon-White Game

Quarterbacks

  Initial Analysis

 The quarterback position was the biggest topic of conversation throughout the spring. Everyone, including myself, wondered if Tyler Russell would take control of the position and separate himself from Dak Prescott. Well he did just that in the Maroon-White game, on Saturday. I decided to break down Russell and Prescott’s performances to see what each quarterback does well and what they struggle to do.

Tyler Russell

Maroon-White Stats: 24-43/ 312 Pass. Yards/ 2 touchdowns/ 0 Interceptions

Highlights

  • Although it ended up falling incomplete pass, Russell had a fade throw to Morrow that was perfect ball placement. Morrow just couldn’t drag his foot.
  • There was a play in which Russell was flushed out the pocket; instead of trying to force a tough throw, Russell tossed the ball away.
  • Russell threw a perfect over-the-shoulder throw to Joe Morrow, fitting the ball in between two defenders. It’s the type of big-time throw needed to be successful in the SEC.
  • It may not be a highlight to some, but Russell checking down to LaDarius Perkins brought a smile to my face. I’ve been critical of the redshirt junior always looking for the home run; he is now maturing to the point where he realizes that, sometimes, the safe pass is the best pass.

Lowlights

  • The only decision I took issue with was Russell throwing to Johnthan Banks while he was covered. I don’t care that he was trying to get Banks a ball; he has to shake bad habits like passing to covered receivers.

Russell Game Breakdown: Russell seems to have taken command of the team. The subtle things really impressed me more than the passing itself. I’m encouraged by Russell waiting for Robert Johnson to come off the field so he could explain to him what to do on a fade route they misconnected on; it shows good leadership. He also understands how to survey a defense and, afterwards, is capable of looking defenders off, before firing the ball to opposite side.

The Meridian High product has virtually eliminated the “WTF” or “who the freak are you throwing to” passes that he sometimes made the past few years. He finally understands how to play the quarterback position in the SEC.

Dak Prescott

 Maroon-White Stats: 10-27/ 205 Pass. Yards / 1 touchdown/ 2 Interceptions

Highlights

  • Prescott struggled with accuracy, most of the game, but he got in a rhythm for a stretch, connecting on some strikes to Chad Bumphis, Brandon Heavens, and Arceto Clark. The ball looked special coming off of his hand.
  • The quarterbacks weren’t allowed to be hit, but Prescott looked good running the option, on a few plays. He also had a nice scramble, when the pocket collapsed.
  • Prescott’s touchdown pass to Clark displayed his incredible arm strength.
  • The dual-threat quarterback looked comfortable throwing to Chris Smith on a roll out. I think he throws best on the move, for the time being – until he develops more.

Lowlights

  • Prescott had two bad reads, where he locked onto covered receivers; the end result was two interceptions. He has to learn to look off receivers, if he is to succeed in the SEC.
  • Prescott had several balls batted down, most of which were preventable.

Prescott Game Breakdown: Prescott had his moments, but he is clearly not ready to start in the SEC. His throwing motion still needs work – considering he still releases the ball below his shoulder and passes like the Heisman is on the line, on every toss. The poor mechanics caused knocked-down passes and most of the flat balls that he threw, in the spring game. The issues are correctable, though, and he could become more proficient with a solid summer working with his receivers. Although not ready to be an SEC starter, the Haughton, Louisiana native could bring a change of pace to the Bulldog offense – sort of like Chris Relf, a few years back.

Final Quarterback Breakdown

After watching the tape, I’m confident that Tyler Russell is the clear-cut starter. I thought I’d never say these words, but I am “sold” on Tyler Russell. Yes, you heard correctly, Russell’s biggest critic (or hater, depending on your perspective) – J.Short – is sold on him. Tell your friends, dad, and co-workers the earth-shattering statement. All kidding aside, the strong-armed quarterback could be poised to break some passing records, this season.

Upcoming: J.Short in the Film Room: Offensive Line, Denico Autry, and Quay Evans. Other positions or players will be reviewed, based upon demand.

Jeremiah Short covers Mississippi State University football and basketball.  Follow him on Twitter, @DaRealJShort; join his Facebook blog, Real Story Sports: J.Short’s Blog, or e-mail him, JShort@realstorypublishing.com.

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