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In The Film Room: I Think I’m Just Numb

Etling vs. Florida

LSU v Florida Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Can I just not talk about the quarterback situation for the rest of the year? I don’t want to be involved in the debate. I want to remain friends with both Paul/Dan and Poseur. And, honestly, I’m tired of it. We have it every year. Every time this starts up again it’s because we’re not winning games and that makes me sad. I don’t cry anymore when LSU loses like when I was a kid but that whole feeling of malaise that fills you when LSU loses is still difficult to deal with. I just want to be over it. Let the guys who are paid millions of dollars run the team the way they see fit and I’ll leave my opinion out of it. It’s been too many years of trying to fix LSU from my couch, I’m gonna let these guys fix it themselves. Start Danny, don’t start Danny, fire Orgeron, fire Canada, start Brennan, I don’t even care anymore.

I think one of my biggest problems in evaluating quarterbacks is assuming that they will improve year to year. With other positions you improve just by being stronger and faster. Quarterback is not like that. I said Brandon Harris would improve. He didn’t. I said Danny would improve. He didn’t. I’ve been writing a lot about Michigan for another website and I said Wilton Speight would improve. He didn’t. I thought my senior quarterback would improve. He didn’t and he left the team. I guess you kinda are what you are at this position. Either you can make reads and throw the ball accurately or you can’t and no off season is going to change that.

Etling is trying not to make a mistake right now. He’s holding on to the ball for a long time and he’s often just throwing the ball up down the field hoping to get a chunk play. He doesn’t look comfortable in the pocket and when he moves outside and throws on the run you really see how limited his arm strength is. Overall, he’s very tentative.

Some credit needs to be given to Florida, of course. They have athletes just like we have athletes. There were some plays where Danny was trying to get to an open receiver but didn’t have the time because of the rush.

Danny vs. Da Gators

Danny is staring right at Foster Moreau who is open because the safety on top of him started back pedaling on the snap. He’s open when Danny finishes his drop. One of the problems is that Danny is so off balance when he finishes his drop (look how wide his legs are), that he needs to reset his feet and maybe it’s too late by then. The ball needs to go to Moreau here for a first down. This is where I talk about tentativeness. He probably feels as though that defender is going to come down and make a play on the ball by the time he’s ready to throw. A quarterback with confidence says “fuck you, I’m gonna put that ball in there before you even have a chance”

Etling gets exactly what he wants here. Moreau has established outside leverage on his defender and is winning by over a step. Easy completion right here that is lost by a really bad throw.

We have a double post route by LSU and Danny doesn’t think the window is big enough to hit the first post by the slot receiver. Again, we can talk about a more confident quarterback throwing it with anticipation into the window before the mike linebacker gets there, but that’s not Danny right now. You can see that the second post is actually going to come open because the sam linebacker has to respect the tight end in the flat. It’s too late, however, and Danny needs to escape the pocket.

Florida’s linebackers drop very deep and I think that’s what eliminates any of the wide side routes from contention. Because they drop so deep, you are going to have space to throw a underneath route and let your playmaker do something in space one-on-one against a defender.

Football is all about consistency. If Drew Brees misses a wide open receiver, you curse out loud but then you move on because you know he’s going to come back and complete the next one. When Danny misses a wide open receiver it’s hard to move on because you don’t know how many other chances LSU will have on plays like this. In a game that really was tied at the end, this would have been a huge play. Can’t miss these.

This is one of the examples of Etling not getting the protection he needs. LSU is trying to hit an out n’ up to Chark but Moreau and Moore get beat pretty bad. It’s one of the those “I thought you had him” type deals where Moreau thinks that Moore has the block so he looks inside for a second and then it’s too late.

This one bothered me because the pocket is kinda clean and the read is pretty simple. The corner is taking away the vertical route to Chark, so now LSU has put the flat guy in a bind with the bubble route and the shallow cross. When Etling finishes his drop, the flat defender is almost already being outleveraged by Williams to the sideline. He can throw this to Williams there but I get that he’s thinking the window for the cross will open up as the flat defender widens. The problem is that he doesn’t and he ends up looking inside to the shallow cross. I think that once Danny had to move in the pocket, he got nervous and was going to throw the shallow cross no matter what.

Single high safety, press coverage. I don’t blame Danny for going for the vertical route here. It’s not the worst pass ever but #Myles4Heisman would have hit Chark in stride.

ez life.

LSU is running a quick passing concept and Florida drops nine and only rushes two. Danny looks weak side to the slant/flat combo and sees the flat defender jump on the bubble but the slant is covered by a linebacker. He turns to get to his inside route from the wide side but the Florida defensive end who dropped off in coverage is in the window. After that, Danny is already feeling the pressure (from a 2man rush) and has to bail. When you can rush two damn guys and get pressure that’s not good.

What LSU is trying to do here is get the Florida cornerback to believe that he has to take on the block of Guice on this potential jet sweep and then have Guice run by him. It works. The problem is that the corner, who is in cover three, doesn’t respect Sullivan vertically down the field. Danny sees the corner when he’s looking for Guice so he tries to check it down to Gage and he overthrows him. I have no problem with him getting to Gage really. If he puts the ball down, he gets 3-5 yards and it sets up a manageable 3rd down. With that said, because the corner jumped on the wheel route by Guice, he left Sullivan pretty wide open. On these wheel route concepts, usually your first read is the vertical route. There is a lot of room to throw Sullivan open on his back shoulder so he doesn’t get lit up by the safety. But again, if he just throws accurately to Gage all is forgiven.

I don’t know what the routes are here because there is no replay the broadcast angle zooms in too much. What I do know is that Danny decided to run too quickly, instead of stepping up into a clean pocket and keeping his eyes down field.

The corner jumps inside for some reason meaning that Sullivan (?) is one-on-one versus a safety that is deep and on the hash. Sullivan is running a corner route. The first read is the cornerback. He’s not deep. Throw the wide open corner. For some reason Danny doesn’t, so he comes down to his read on the flat defender. The flat guys stays inside long enough, so he’s right to throw it to Guice but man, he’s got to put that ball to the sideline. Should be 10-7 Florida after this play.

At one point, LSU just decided that Danny was going to be an option quarterback and stopped calling downfield pass plays often. You saw screens, QB draws and even speed option. I don’t blame them. Did Danny hit a receiver on any route that wasn’t a fade? He completed nine passes. Two of them were screens (Guice and Moreau), one was a shovel (Williams), four were in the flat (Williams, Guice, Moreau and the touchdown), one was the very contested fade (Chark). Doesn’t leave a lot left.