Air War: WVU

Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Hello ODBers, I'm finishing up this post as the dulcet tones of ODB Podcast come through my speakers. It's time to look at this week's air campaign against West Virginia. Stanley Baldwin claimed that the bomber always gets through, but that wasn't the case against WVU. We all remember the opening throw to Coleman and Jay Lee's great third quarter grab in the corner of the end zone, but those were the exceptions to the rule. Instead of throwing it over their heads, we attacked the Mountaineers with short and intermediate passes.


Misfire. Our deep throws to KD Cannon are not having a lot of success. How little you ask? He's caught only 3 of 17 deep balls. Even with 3 pass interference calls against him, that's not good. As best I can tell the failure here stems from three causes:

  1. Cannon is having a difficult time getting separation from defenders on the deep throws;
  2. Russell doesn't throw the deep ball as well to the right side of the field (Cannon is 2 of 10 in that zone) as he does to the left (9/19 there);
  3. Russell tends to heave it deep and right when a) other options are covered and b) he's sliding right to buy time (I haven't gone back and watched six game tapes, but I'm reasonably sure on this).

Please note that this is not taking anything away from Cannon, who is getting the job done (16/21) except when tracking down the deep ball. Oh, and I really wish he'd secure that ball.

Here's the overall picture, from bubbles to bombs:


Unbalanced Left. OK, so I get that Coleman's lined up on the left most of the time, but in the WVU game 50% of our throws went to the left. The number is 46% in the last two games and 39% for the year. Given that propensity and our failure to connect on deep throws to the right side of the field (we were 3 for 9 on throws over 10 yards in the last game and 12 of 30 for the year), I'm confident saying that we have something of a tendency here that is only balanced by a more even distribution on short throws (74 left, 65 right).


Behind the Chains. I'm not sure why we use this phrase--I mean, we're not really behind the chains-- but four dropped passes and two bad throws on first down certainly didn't a) help our yard and distance numbers or b) help us play fast.

One Trick Pony. We really do only have one route for those big tight ends. Can anyone remember throwing to a TE that wasn't running some seam route? I'd like to think that this will be another wrinkle in the offense, but history doesn't seem to be on my side. Oh, and our tosses to the running backs have begun their mid-season disappearing act.

Next Mission. Is there anything in particular that you'd like me to look for? My employer makes certain demands, so there are limits, but I also enjoy ferreting out information.

Thanks to my 16 year old daughter (who tutored me), we can now enjoy the charts in living color! I'm still working to fine tune things; you'll note I added the quarter, down & distance, and a couple of cosmetic changes. I can't figure out why some charts get a bit out of focus, any ideas? The key to abbreviations follows the WVU chart and the other games proceed in reverse order.














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