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Myles Brennan 4 Heisman?

Maybe not this year’s Heisman.

NCAA Football: Syracuse at Louisiana State
Future Heisman Winner
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Myles Brennan is going to be really good, but he made some Brandon Harris-esque mistakes so let’s not crown his ass just yet.

He throws the ball powerfully and so far he’s been pretty accurate, but his reads have been just okay. Canada also doesn’t give him the elaborate reads that he gives Danny. They’re easing him in because they know he’s not ready yet, and that’s fine.

Danny, however, has also just been fine. The problem is that, unlike Myles, he’s not a rookie anymore. My biggest concern with him is that he’s not getting off his reads quickly enough. He’s locking on to receivers and trying to force the ball to them. He’s not accurate enough to do that. Find the open receiver, that’s what’s going to allow you to make completions.

I played quarterback when I was 14 and one game we were backed up in our own end looking at a fourth down. The coach gave me the very obvious punt signal from the sideline (most signals are very basic when you’re 14) but alas, our punter had been injured a few plays prior. I didn’t know who he wanted to punt the damn ball so I yelled to the sideline, “WHO???” and the coach looked back at me and said, “YOU!!!”. I’d never punted before in a real game and, in fact, I’d never really practiced punting either. So, I stood back there at 12 yards and waited for the snap. I caught it and made such a clean connection with my foot on the ball that I could not believe it. I turned to the ref and said aloud to him, “Wow, I didn’t know I could do that!”.

They returned that punt for a touchdown and we lost the game 55-0.

Anyways, here’s your Etling breakdown and below that are your Brennan clips.


This was the most egregious error on Danny’s part on it was on his first throw. He has to realize that with the heavy play-action, the linebackers might jump up and he can look for his tight end over top of them. For those who watched the Saints game, you’ll recall New Orleans’ heavy play-action that got Brandon Coleman, who was in a tight split, open for a touchdown. The guys outside on the receivers are reading the receiver all the way, so they are not biting on a run fake. Here with one high safety, the crosser is a great route anyways, so Danny has to look there right away and find David Ducre, 41, for a big gain.

Danny checks to see if he can throw the six-yard hitch route to the weak side before starting his roll out. What scares him about making that initial throw is the safety rotating down into his window. I think he can probably still fit that ball in there on the outside shoulder, but I don’t blame him for not throwing it. After that, there’s not much going with the play-side route concept. He’s just waiting for Russell Gage, 39, to break off his route because DJ Chark, gets covered up by the nickel defender. It’s tough to see if Chark does his due diligence in finding an opening to the inside of the defender, so, again, Danny just has Gage to throw to and he doesn’t really win his route.

This was another error by Etling and it came on one of my favorite passing concepts. The route concept is an over/under with Foster Moreau, 84, and Chark. Because of the tight splits, against man coverage, Chark’s whip route can win and then have a lot of space to run outside. That’s where Danny wants to go right away and he’s right to want that route. It’s his best receiver running a quick double move against man coverage. The problem is that Chark is being held (they do throw the flag) so Danny has to come off it to get to his second read which is Moreau coming across the field wide open. Quarterbacks, amirite.

By alignment, the cornerback is outside leverage on Moreau’s out breaking route. This means it’s going to be tough for him to win outside to the sideline. Danny has to see that before the snap and understand that he can’t just wait on this route to come open. He knows he has a backside crosser and right when he gets his head around on the bootleg, he should probably get to his crosser, who’s open.

Right now, this is the biggest difference between Etling and Brennan. The arm strength. Power isn’t everything but it makes the difference when you have to make off balance throws. This should not be a difficult pass for Etling to complete but sometimes his arm just doesn’t work him. More on this Brennan throw later because I really like it.

If Etling could just do this more consistently, we’d have no problems. But, of course, that’s the problem. If you’re a Division-1 starting QB and a senior you can make these throws the difference is that the really good ones do it all the time, not just once in a while. On the play, once Danny sees the corner turns his hips and run with the fade route, he knows he just needs to put the ball on the sideline for his receiver to make a catch.

It’s tough to see what actually happens here (there’s no replay) but I think Danny makes the right read. If the defender to the inside of the stacked receivers stays short, he can throw the post because Chark will have inside leverage on the cornerback. That’s what happens here but Danny needs to hit him in the hands.

Myles and Danny both making the same read for a completion.

Syracuse rolls down from a two-high safety defense to a single-high, man coverage defense. The guy who rotates down is the “rat” player on defense meaning he’s often going to be reading the quarterbacks eyes and trying to jump a route. Once Danny sees him stray to far to the strong side, he comes back and hits the weakside dig which he knows is going to come open. Great read, great ball.

The concept is pretty straight forward: if the safety stays low, you hit them over the top and that’s what Danny does with another great ball. What makes this play work is the pre-snap motion. Syracuse is going to spin their safeties so that the deep safety comes down and now the weakside corner has to play deep. The corner sees the route by the tight end right in front of his face so he has to take it and then Danny can hit the long one down the field.


He gets the ball out really quick, it’s nice to watch. ‘Cuse blitzes off the weakside so Williams is wide open and Myles makes the read.

Most flood concepts are going to have the quarterback read the flat defender. In this case it’s the slot cornerback. He’s way to close to the flat route for Myles to really think about throwing this. The whole point of the flat route is to pull flat defender up so you can throw over him. Not sure what the other routes were but I’m pretty sure Chark is wide open on a deep out route.

Here’s that same concept from earlier but Syracuse does a better job with their “peel” rules. When you send pressure, usually you need someone to pick up the running back out of the backfield. It’s often the c-gap/contain player. In this case, it’s the defensive end, so he takes Williams and then the spot route gets covered up by the safety who is rotating down. No panic from Myles, as he moves in the pocket and gets to his rush read for a completion. Real good stuff.

The interception happens on the same concept. I think this is Myles’ fault. The end peels off on the running back again, so Brennan knows to go to his spot route. The problem is the he double clutches on the ball when he gets to the end of his drop for some reason, even though Drake Davis is open. Once he does this, Davis thinks he needs to move around and find an opening with the assumption that he’s being covered. Myles needs to throw this right away and it would have been a completion.