There is possibly no position in any sport that invites as much visibility and criticism as the quarterback in football. There also may not be a position in any sport that carries the importance of a quarterback in football- he calls plays in the huddle, is the one making the decisions about where the ball goes on passing plays and is the only player guaranteed to touch the ball on 99.9% of offensive snaps. If you have a great quarterback, you have a chance- even if the rest of the team may let you down a bit. If you have an average or bad quarterback, even if you’re stacked with talent everywhere else, there’s a hard limit on just how much you can accomplish. And that, of course, leads to the topic of Kenny Hill. In 2016 TCU disappointed from a top 15 preseason ranking to a 6-7 finish, much of which can be traced back to a wildly inconsistent offense that would look unstoppable one week and helpless the next. Sometimes we’d even get both in the same game, leaving fans calling for literally anyone else to take over the position. And now we enter into a season where Hill is looking over his shoulder to see one of the nation’s most touted freshmen passers holding a clipboard in one hand and his helmet in the other, with much of the fanbase salivating over the thought.
Is that really fair, though? Picking up from one of the greatest quarterbacks in TCU history was never going to be an easy task, and without Josh Doctson around being a fade wizard and an automatic first down on slant routes, the offense was always going to take a step back. Compounding the issue was a wide receiver group that struggled with both drops and health; having 5 receivers receiving lots of targets is generally a sign of a well balanced offense with some depth, but TCU’s had ten players targeted for passes at least 20 times last year. Not the best recipe for chemistry or familiarity for a quarterback. Factor in some occasionally maddening play-calling that saw co-OC and former play-caller Doug Meacham move to Kansas without too much of a fuss and it’s fair to ask just how much we know about Hill’s potential. Is he more the September Heisman candidate he was at A&M, or is he more “the only QB to not shred Texas Tech’s defense” (well... almost only). Will he be winning the Heisman or be holding a clipboard before the start of Big 12 play? Is he any good?
That’s where Frogs O’ War comes in. As you may already know, we have film from each TCU game on our youtube channel and a guy who is familiar with film study and is ready to chart and grade Kenny on his performance for each offensive play that isn’t just a straight handoff. To get more data on where Hill’s strengths or issues may lie, we’ll be splitting up the criteria into two halves, the first of which is:
Decision Making (DM): Did Hill make the right decision on a play?
Good Run Read (GRR): Hill made the correct decision on a zone read/option style play.
Bad Run Read (BRR): Hill made the wrong decision on a zone read/option style play.
Good Pass Read (GPR): Hill read the defense well and found the open man, or threw it away/kept if coverage was good.
Bad Pass Read (BPR): Hill forced the ball to a covered receiver, missed an open receiver or threw it away/kept when there was an open man.
The second criteria is Execution- Once the decision was made, what was the result?
Good Run Execution (GRE): Hill’s keep got good yards for what was available, on third down or fourth down he got enough to get a first down.
Bad Run Execution (BRE): Hill’s keep didn’t get good yards for what was available, or didn’t get a first down on third/fourth down, resulting in a turnover.
Good Pass Execution (GPE): Hill delivered the ball in a spot where the receiver could catch it. If it was a particularly well thrown ball; right on the numbers, where the receiver could catch it in stride, or was a deep ball in a spot where no one other than our receiver could catch it, it will be marked as a +2.
Bad Pass Execution (BPE): Hill delivered the ball in a spot where the receiver couldn’t catch it. If it was particularly bad (to near to a defender) it will be marked as a +2.
At the end of the game we’ll total each category and compare them to the actual game stats of completion percentage, yards, touchdowns, interceptions and such to see just how much of the success/failure was attributable to Hill. By the end of the series we’ll be bumping up on football season and we should have a decent idea about whether Kenny Hill is any good or not.
I’ve rambled on for quite a length here, so the first analysis will be coming next week. Thoughts? Feelings? Other things you’d like to see? Hypotheses about whether Kenny is actually good or not? Let me know in the comments.