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Can Myles Brennan save us?

What the (limited) tape tells us

NCAA Football: Louisiana State at Alabama Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

There is an aphorism (I looked that word up) that goes, “a rising tide lifts all boats”. Surely, a common phrase used in Louisiana I would imagine. With a ton of departures and unproven underclassmen proliferating the 2-deep all over LSU’s roster, it will take a rising tide to, well, beat the Tide next season. That rising tide? Quarterback Myles Brennan.

But, please, don’t pin all your hopes on this kid. In the very small sample size of his 2017 season, he showed a lot of good play with where his physical height and “arm talent” (ugh) played a key in completed passes but the plays where he had to make more use of his brain, there were issues.

Brennan has all the physical characteristics we, the societal “we”, like in quarterbacks. He’s tall, he’s white and he throws the ball frickin’ hard. His mechanics are mostly fine but because he tries to throw fastballs every single throw, he ends up unbalanced very often.

You can see how off balance he is after throwing here:

You want your spine to stay straight up and your core to rotate around an erect spine.

His elbow usually comes through at a good angle, however, I did notice that the elbow dropped a bit in game footage. This is going to cause the ball to be thrown lower than he would want.

You can see the lean starting in this picture too. All of this is fixable but no one ever fixes quarterback mechanics at this level so this is probably what we’re getting next year.

Myles dropped back 31 times last season, threw 24 times and connected on 14 of those. He was sacked three times, had one touchdown and two picks. Let’s check him out:

Things he does well

The first thing I noticed was how quickly he can get the ball out on short throws. This combined with his ability to read and make good decisions on these quick passing concepts helps a lot.

Y-corner here from LSU with the back pushing out. The cornerback on the top side of the screen is cut off a bit (you can see his feet) and that’s who Brennan is reading. The corner stays high, so Brennan know he can’t throw the corner route to that side. Now, he moves his eyes to the flat defender who had expanded with the running back pushing to the flat. This opens up the spot route inside for a completion. You can see the velocity on this 5 yard throw.

A quick read where he can get the ball out in a timely manner. Whenever LSU ran this concept this year, that middle guy was always open. You can see the ball is low a little bit, it will be a theme in all these throws.

Not being able to step into the throw but still get it off accurately on to his hot read.

Easy completion when the corner follows Chark. Moreau finds the space and it’s a good timely throw.

Getting to his third read is great. Under-thrown again but a good decision and he’s able to get the ball there accurately enough with a guy in his face.

Getting to his second read after the corner bails and throwing on time. Low again.

A couple one-read short throws on the Texas route to Guice that he makes good on.

Accurate flat throw.

Things he does less well

All this short throw stuff is fine and dandy, but what can you do when you actually have to make reads down the field? This is where the problems start. Young kids are going to have trouble making reads down the field that’s for sure, but there were some one-read smash throws that he misread and ended up holding on to the ball too long. There was a lot of Myles having to escape the pocket and then scramble for a few yards or throw out of bounds. It’s always going to be tough to evaluate fully without the All-22 angles but the trend I saw (without exactly seeing the routes/coverages) is that Brennan was not there yet in terms of down the field throwing.

This was probably he’s only real good throw down the field:

Chattanooga is running some interesting defense here. They’re trying to trap the flat on the top of the screen with the corner playing sight technique and the safety flying over top, but it looks like it’s man every where else. Anyways, once that safety flies to the field (and there is no other safety) Brennan knows he can hit the post without any problems. Good read, throw and a drop.

This ended up being a good read, but the timing is bad.

It’s tough to see what happens on the corner route here that causes Brennan to hold on to the ball so long. You can see the cornerback (#3) stay kinda low to take away that flat route so Brennan, I guess, is just waiting for Sullivan to win his route against the safety. It ends up being a good read but can’t tell if he should have thrown it earlier.

He threw two interceptions. One was on the receiver not being on the same page as him, but this throw should have been a pick so we’ll look at this one instead.

This is a flood concept and Syracuse is rotating to one-high at the snap. You have the two receivers running vertical and right before when Chark, the slot, gets off camera you can see him making a move to the outside. With it being Cover Three, this means LSU now has a two-on-one on the cornerback. That’s where Brennan should be reading. One of the two receivers is open there because the flat defender was sticking to the flat route where Brennan ends up throwing it.

LSU is running a hi/lo concept on the Mike here with Moreau running a sort of pivot route and Gage coming over him on the dig route. Chark’s route on the outside is pre-snap decision. If you get soft coverage, you can throw this before you read the Mike. This is what Brennan sees pre-snap. The problem is that with Troy in zone (quarter-quarter-half), the Sam who is over Gage pre-snap, drops Gage off and runs underneath Chark’s route. Brennan even double clutches on the ball and still doesn’t see this, which is bad. You can see on the replay, if Brennan had crossed off Chark’s route and gotten to his read on the Mike, Gage was coming open on the dig route.

Overall, I like certain things about his game. The quick throws are going to help keep the offense ahead of the sticks. Being able to comfortably call a pass play on first and 10 is going to help the team tremendously. Brennan’s decision making is going to be better in 2018 as he has a full offseason to work with the staff, presumably as the starter. The biggest thing is just continuing to adjust to the speed of the game, and that’s something that just has to come with practice and game repetitions. He can already go through progressions — he just needs to be able to do it faster and more decisively.

Again, this is all a really small sample size, spread out over a couple of games. I started to see a little bit of a trend just in those few drop-backs but we’re talking a few snaps here and there in different games trying to come up with a conclusion. Can he save us? I want to believe that he’ll figure out his warts and continue to improve on the stuff he already does well.

I wanted to believe Danny was our savior. And Brandon. And Anthony. And Zach. And Jordan. I’m going not going to give up now.

Welcome to 2018, the year of our Lord and Savior, Myles Brennan.