I just don’t know what to make of Joe Burrow. There’s been a part of every game so far where I’ve prematurely said, “yup, this guy is it!” only for a bevy of incompletions to mar those few bright spots. The first drive of the season against Miami, I was on board. The last drive against Auburn, I was on board. The first drive against Florida, I was on board.
The flashes just haven’t lasted. This is the season where we probably need quarterback play more than anything. The tackles were absolutely atrocious against Florida, there is no dynamic, superstar running back and the receivers are still young, although unbelievably talented. Things can change. 5-1 without any semblance of a passing game means if there are any improvements this could be a special season.
I was reading Poseur’s “Behind the Box Score” from this past week and this stat certainly stuck out:
I wanted to see how much of that we could put on Burrow and how much was his surrounding cast. Here’s what happened.
The two-point conversion ended up being pretty big. LSU runs a fake reverse to get into a simple hi/lo with a flat route and another in the back of the endzone. Florida doesn’t bite on the fake so when Burrow rolls out, his first read, the flat route, is leveraged by the Nickel. The second route by Derrick Dillon is covered very well by the Florida corner. This might be more of a situation where Dillon needs to give the corner a better shake at the top of his route to gain separation. It ends up being a good play on the cornerback.
Three-man route and we get sacked. LSU is going to slide the whole line to the left and Saahdiq Charles is going to be absolutely annihilated by a spin move. With the running back a part of the full slide on, LSU has no one to pick up any leaks at the second level. At the end of the day, even though the Florida end spins back inside to the B-gap which is the LSU guards zone, Adrian Magee has already turned his head back inside knowing Charles is locked one-on-one. I’d be interested to see what the coaching points are but I believe Magee is doing his job here.
More of this eight-man full slide stuff that still ends up in a little pressure on Burrow. The backshoulder throw has been Burrow’s go-to ball this year and he creates pass interference on this one. Burrow is eyeing the left side fade route the whole way. It’s slightly underthrown but he gives Jefferson enough of a chance on it.
The pressure again gets to Burrow. LSU is running a shallow cross concept. We can see that it’s man coverage because the Florida linebacker is chasing Foster Moreau. Because it’s 3rd and long, Burrow wants to hit the intermediate in-breaking route for the first down. He never gets the chance.
Florida is in man coverage so Burrow finds his receiver with the softest coverage to get an easy one on a hitch route.
Burrow misses on the next play and then this happens:
The pick six. Very similar to Danny Etling’s pick 6 against Alabama last year. Fade/Out concept. The Gators slot corner blitzes so Burrow thinks he has a good matchup against an off defender on the out route. The safety who came down in man coverage on the slot is playing a catch technique so he’s just sitting at like eight yards. Stephen Sullivan probably needs to read this and act like he has a two way go inside or out instead of rounding his cut to the sideline. That’s tough on a young receiver. The Florida DB beats Sullivan to his spot. The ball needed to be absolutely perfect. It wasn’t. Pick six.
This picture kinda tells the story of the day. I paused it right as Burrow hits the end of his dropback. There’s no pressure. He would then take off running right after this picture was taken and Jachai Polite would sack him. It’s tough to sit there when you don’t trust your protection.
The final drive would end up being pretty good for Burrow considering Florida only rushed three and dropped everyone else in coverage.
First he stays calm on 4th and a mile, waits for his inside slot receiver to clear so hit his second slot receiver for a huge first down.
The next two are similar throws that are drops that actually give me some hope. Florida is in a “soft cut” coverage scheme where the cornerbacks are protecting the flats and the safeties are over top. The place you want to throw the ball is behind the corner but in front of the safety. It’s called the hole. The first throw is a fade route into the hole and the second one is a corner route. These are awesome throws and LSU is very unfortunate that the drive ends on the next play with a fourth down interception.
Burrow is not going to be able to elevate this passing attack and this offense himself, it seems. There are some really good throws and reads and some very disappointing ones. Burrow is going to need the whole attack firing on all cylinders to move the ball against Georgia. The running game has to be better and probably more importantly the pass protection needs to be better.
The defense will keep this team in games, but the offense will have to finish the deal week in, week out.