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Coach's scouting report: Kale Pick and Jordan Webb

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According to Kansas coach Turner Gill, the competition for the starting quarterback job is pretty much down to two candidates: sophomore Kale Pick and freshman Jordan Webb.

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What are the strengths and weaknesses of both from a coach's standpoint? That's the question we're going to look at in this segment of "The Breakdown."

For help with this blog, I have consulted a Division-II defensive assistant coach, someone we'll just call "Coach" in this blog.

I edited video of KU's football spring game to show only the plays where KU's top two QBs threw a pass or had a QB draw. The videos are below.

I then sent that tape to Coach, who took a look at it along with the wide-receivers coach on his staff — one that has experience as an offensive coordinator at the college level.

After watching the film, the two coaches wrote down observations about each quarterback.

Here are Coach's notes from the film, starting with Pick.*

* — It is important to note that our two assistant coaches could only evaluate from what they saw on the tape. The spring game is often labeled as a "glorified practice" and is one of 15 practices during the spring. Therefore, KU's coaches will have had many more opportunities to evaluate the two QBs.

“On the film that you gave me, (Webb) didn’t play as well as Pick did," Coach admitted.

Kale Pick

Positives

• “He seems like he’s a pretty good ball-handler, especially with fakes to running backs. He has the ball where you want your quarterback to have the ball ... in a good throwing position on the pass drop.”

• “He’s a pretty accurate passer. When I say accurate passer, that’s a pretty general term for the outside public, that you can throw it within a however-many-yard circle, and the receiver can catch it. Sure, but it goes a little bit deeper as well. It gives your receiver a chance to run after the catch. Throwing the ball out in front of the receiver and giving him a chance to run with the ball after the catch.”

• “In the pocket, it seems like he has pretty good feet and uses good footwork and fundamentals with his footwork. Whether it’s a three-step drop or a five-step drop, getting your depth on your drop, then trusting that your offensive line is going to create that pocket for you, and being able to step up and throw that accurate pass.”

Last year, all of KU's snaps came from the shotgun, so I asked Coach how Pick seemed to be handling the transition to taking snaps under center.

“He looked pretty comfortable with his drops. The other thing about that is, (quarterbacks) are not getting hit in the spring game, either. That sure can make a guy feel a lot better when he knows, ‘The pass rush is coming at me, but they’re not going to kill me if one guy comes unblocked.’"

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• “It seems like he has pretty good arm strength. Obviously, neither one of the guys is Brett Favre, because nobody is, but it seems like he has pretty good arm strength.

“There were a couple specific plays on there where the receiver was — I hate to say covered — but the receiver had a defender very near, and he threw the ball with enough zip and with enough accuracy. Let’s say a defensive back was covering me on my left shoulder behind me. Well, he knew how to throw it to my right shoulder and throw it in there with enough zip so the ball’s going to get there before the defender can make a play. He made a couple nice throws like that.”

• “He looks pretty fast and agile in the pocket.

• “When they ran the bootleg stuff and got him out of the pocket, he seemed to have pretty good feet and was pretty fast. You could really see (the coaches this season) getting him on the move.”

Negatives

• “It seemed like he might be holding on to the ball a little bit too long. There are certain situations where the defense is going to get you. They’re going to have your receivers covered. Well, you’re going to have to throw the ball out of bounds or throw the ball way too high for a receiver to catch. Sometimes, throwing the ball away is not a bad throw.”

• “Another time, he had a receiver who had a defender very near, and he threw the ball out of bounds and didn’t give the receiver a chance to make a play on the ball (2:34). If you throw the ball four yards out of bounds, your receiver’s not going to be able to catch it. Well, throw the ball basically right on the out of bounds line, and give your receiver a chance to catch the ball and get one foot down before he goes out of bounds."

Jordan Webb

Positives

• “He does have a quick release. He got rid of the ball on time. Instead of having a long, extended delivery, when you see a receiver open, you are able to get the ball out of your hands with good timing. Like a pitcher’s windup. It doesn’t take you a long time to put a lot of oomph on the ball when you get it out of your hand."

Coach also brought up the well-documented problems with Florida quarterback Tim Tebow's release, as in college, he dropped his arm down to hip before releasing the ball.

Coach said that Webb did a good job of having the ball high and getting it out quickly, which is what you want from a quarterback.

• “He did make a couple of really nice throws when he was on the move, especially on the touchdown throw. It was a pretty accurate throw on the run.”

Negatives

• “A lot of times, he would throw with all arm and not step into his throw and put a lot of zip on his throw. More falling away from the throw than stepping into the throw. You’re not going to have as much velocity on your throw.”

“A couple of times, he threw to covered receivers when he had other players that were uncovered. He took a deeper throw when he could have made a shorter throw and it would have been a better completion.”

One example of this was at the 2:44 mark of the video.

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While Webb's eyes are downfield towards a receiver, tight end Bradley Dedeaux appears to be open in the flat.

Webb delivers the ball downfield into traffic, and his pass — intended for a blanketed Johnathan Wilson — is deflected and falls incomplete.

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“It seems like sometimes he kind of tries to force the ball into his receiver," Coach said, "maybe even though his receiver might be covered."

• “One time, he scrambled into the rush. It didn’t necessarily look like there were necessarily any receivers open, but instead of scrambling to where it could have been a better opportunity for him to get a few yards, he kind of scrambled right into where the rush was coming from."

Coach also made sure to point out that Webb also could have been affected by playing with KU's No. 2 offensive line.

• “A lot of times, it seemed like he telegraphed his pass. That’s not a good thing for your quarterback to be doing obviously. Just staring down his receivers instead of looking them away.”

Other observations

I also asked Coach what he felt were the best throws of the scrimmage.

He came up with three.

I'm sure many fans would have expected Pick's 72-yard touchdown pass to Chris Omigie to be one of the top throws of the day.

Not so, says Coach.

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“The one on the sideline, that’s a throw that mainly any average Joe citizen can throw," Coach said. "You expect your fifth-string quarterback to be able to throw that pass when the guy’s wide open."

One of the three best throws according to coach was the aforementioned pass by Webb, who rolled away from pressure to hit tight end Tim Biere for a 25-yard touchdown.

The other two throws were from Pick.

The first throw actually was an incompletion when Bradley McDougald couldn't hold on for a long reception (00:30).

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“The guy was covered, but (Pick) threw it over the defender and threw it right in the perfect spot for the receiver," Coach said. “That was one of the best throws of the whole scrimmage right there. Puts it on the line right over the top of that safety’s head and didn’t give him a chance to make a play on the ball. That’s a catch right there ... if you’re a Big 12 receiver, you’ve got to make that catch every single time.”

The other throw was one that Pick made to Biere between three defenders (00:15).

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“He threw it just exactly where the receiver was going to be the only one who could make the catch," Coach said, "and the receiver made a nice catch on the ball as well.”

Coach said Pick diagnosed the play well and made the throw with the accuracy that it had to have.

“You see the receiver right below KU, on the bird? He could maybe fit the ball in right there as he lets the receiver clear the linebacker. But see how the linebacker kind of continues to chase that receiver, well that’s what they want," Coach said.

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"They want the linebacker to chase the under route so you can throw it right behind his ear. The defense actually covered it pretty well, but it’s a pretty good throw and catch by the quarterback and tight end. That was a pretty good stick right there.”

Comments

stravinsky 9 years, 7 months ago

Fantastic to hear analysis from a real pro.

From this breakdown, it sounds like not only did Pick have the better game, he showed a lot more maturity as a QB than Webb did. Which, having a year of college ball under his belt, you would sort of expect.

It'll be interesting to see how it all plays out.

panalytic 9 years, 7 months ago

I agree also that it was an excellent breakdown of the spring game.

Thanks for the good analysis. It helps to hear some of the details of the game and it was fun too.

Andy Tweedy 9 years, 7 months ago

I'm just glad we got to read about some football and not conference realignment!!! That stuff was making me dizzy!!!

Jonathan Allison 9 years, 7 months ago

unfortunately there's only a very limited number of plays to review. Based on the spring game it would seem like Pick is the clear-cut number 1, and Webb would be battling for back-up snaps. Clearly our coaches have seen a lot more good things out of Webb which has put him even with Pick, if not inches ahead, and created a terrific competition going into the summer. I'm excited to see how things shake out in August.

hawksince51 9 years, 7 months ago

Good article. And, it is great to have real competition at QB with a couple of guys with pretty good ability. Pick has the edge, primarily due to experience, but will have to stay sharp to keep the job. Of course a lot will depend on the O-line is which I felt was one of our biggest issues last year.

bearhawk 9 years, 7 months ago

Both QBs started with a new system this spring,I don't think experience was the issue.I believe Pick is a complete Qb(throws the short and long ball well,great feet,looks extremely smooth with his movements).Both Qbs will have to be able to move.Over the years watching KU football, Qbs with good feet had success.The defenses in the Big 12 seem to get to our QBs, so mobility is a must.Its good to see competition this will make KU a better team.

Ron Prichard 9 years, 7 months ago

Love the analysis. I can't wait for football to start.

Because it is his first year here, we know Gill wants to get off to a great start. Regardless of the quarterbacks being neck and neck right now, I fully expect Gill to start Pick. The only reason I have for this is experience. Webb might play and we may even have two quarterbacks that get significant minutes, but I think Pick gets the nod as the starter.

Of course, I picked KU to winn the NCAA tourney this year and I thought we would be in the PAC 16 right now, so take my prognostications with a few grains of salt.

mdfraz 9 years, 7 months ago

These articles are fantastic. I love the in depth analysis, especially finding an actual football coach to help break things down. Lots of effort going into this, and this Jayhawk football fan is very appreciative.

Let's get down to cracking skulls already!

hawk316 9 years, 7 months ago

Jesse, what a terrific idea for an article! I loved the in-depth analysis from a coach's perspective. Granted, it was a "snapshot in time"--just one performance among many, but it was interesting to be able to make a comparison between the two players, albeit rather limited. I have a feeling that we're in pretty good shape at QB with these two young men. It doesn't hurt to have a couple of former all-american QB's on the coaching staff, either (Gill was 2nd team all-american his senior year, I believe).

Tony Bandle 9 years, 7 months ago

Looking at the talent level and the schedule [addition by subtraction i.e. no Texas, Oklahoma and TTech], we have a legitimate shot at 8-4 and a decent bowl......and I am afraid this year will be our last shot for a long, long time!!

In 2011, add three "L's" every year for OU, TT and UT and subtract one "W" for one less cupcake and the math gets brutal. Missouri will still be a suck game if it stays in Arrowhead, A&M will always be tough there, K-State is a rivalry game where anything can happen, Okie State is no picnic. Baylor and Iowa State may be the only sure things!!

KCHawk81 9 years, 7 months ago

If you can't win four conference games (which will still be a sub-.500 conference record) you don't deserve to play in a bowl game.

Dirk Medema 9 years, 7 months ago

8-4 in 2010 seems reasonable, but the doomsday for the future is only reasonable if you believe that the new facilities and this coaching staff won't be any better than previous versions.

I predict that Coach Gill and Co. will turn KU FB into a top program.

Fruity22 9 years, 7 months ago

I hope the players don't think winning in Ames or Waco is a sure thing. Because they would be mistaken just like you.

Jeff Kilgore 9 years, 7 months ago

I'm another very satisfied reader, JN. Keep up the good work. I would read every article about every player's critique if you were up to it. Nice job. All of us are excited about KU football. We were not a 2-9 team last year, and we have some really good players back. We'll see how good they are in just a few months.

Kman_blue 9 years, 7 months ago

I agree, a really good article that was interesting to read. Mark me as another satisfied KU football fan and I look forward to many more articles of this quality to come!

Mike Kendall 9 years, 7 months ago

Love the breakdown, Jesse. I think Kale Pick is the starter. However, Webb will give a good shot to compete as the starter, as well. Looking forward to this season, as well as, a lot of others in Jayhawk Nation.

OakvilleJHawk, I kind of agree with your analysis about this year might be the year to get some wins but the following year would be tougher. However, the Hawks have some good recruits coming through in 2011. And I expect to see some upsets, with KU winning some of those upsets. Just sayin'.

jayhawkfan49 9 years, 6 months ago

Think KU can compete in the Big 12 North?

Jeff Coffman 9 years, 7 months ago

Great article...Need more fun articles like this.

Pure facts and analysis.

Don't hesitate to do one on Linebackers, receivers, running backs....I hope you get the picture.

There is a lot of time between now and Kickoff.

Clarence Haynes 9 years, 7 months ago

ESPN site has an article on the top 10 football facilities and we rank #8. Now if we can move the track as planned a redo the stadium.....................

http://insider.espn.go.com/ncf/blog?name=feldman_bruce&id=5318369

kufanman88 9 years, 7 months ago

Only one or two players on this team really excite me. Pick is one. Despite all of the overwhelming optimism on Gill's ability to recruit, he has been unable to improve on his his efforts in Buffalo, which is not to be expected. Mangino could recruit to a level on par with Big 12 competition. Expectations and salary dictated that Gill would be able to recruit better than Mangino, but unfortunately this is clearly not the case. Judging on his first recruits of the year, it appears that things are not getting better-instead they are getting worse. It appears KU is in for another Terry Allen era of mediocrity or demise. Gill's selection will further demonstrate the ineptness of Perkins as AD. I am glad Perkins is leaving, unfortunately we still have two more years (hopefully no more) of Turner Gill. I hope Gill proves me wrong, but he has yet to show that he can recruit to the level to be successful in a BCS conference.

KCHawk81 9 years, 7 months ago

You're right. It's a good thing we got rid of Mangino after his first three years. Let's see...2-10 (0-8), 6-7 (3-5), 4-7 (2-6). Or should I look, instead, at his last year--5-7 (1-7)? That's a track record of success!

So let me get this straight: you say, "I hope Gill proves me wrong" right after you say, "we still have two more years (hopefully no more) of Turner Gill." So you're hoping he fails, right? What's Columbia like this time of year? Sorry that whole "Big Ten" thing didn't work out.

kufanman88 9 years, 7 months ago

No the difference is that Gill walked into a much better situation than Mangino did, to include one of the best strength facilities in the country. I might also add that Mangino didnt start out with premium pay until he earned it. Gill came out of the gate earning Mangino pay which he accomplished by building the program to a very respectable level.

If you think that expectations for Gill are lower than they were for Mangino when he arrived you might want to do a salary comparison. Gill was lauded as a recruiter, which he himself emphasized during his introduction speech. Gill's first recruiting class was one of the lowest ranked classes in the Big 12 and his current recruiting class is on par to be just as weak.

I am not hoping he fails, but he wasnt the best choice available and he is demonstrating his mediocrity with his lack of recruiting ability. If his coaching is as bad as his recruiting, we should expect Terry Allen all over again. Just remember when KU plays Texas Tech in the future that KU had the opportunity to secure Tommy Tubbervile (a proven coach) as the new head coach. Instead, Perkins with all his wisdom decided to pass and take a long shot while paying him a BCS salary. I dont want Gill to fail, but unfortunately the cards are stacked against him. Perkins has set the expectations so high with his salary that he is destined to fail.

kufanman88 9 years, 7 months ago

P.S. I am a KU football fan but I am not a fan of Perkinesque stupidity and ineptness as an administrator. Just remember my comments in 2012 when KU is fighting to compete at the bottom of Big 12 with sub par talent as a result of Gill's inability to recruit.

KCHawk81 9 years, 7 months ago

Gotcha--so this is one of those "if we win, I'm happy, and if we lose, I told you so, so I'm happy" comments. You sound like a natural leader, a bold decision-maker, an individual. Either that, or someone so afraid of being wrong he'd badmouth his own team. The worst kind of fan, I mean.

I can tell you're a big fan of Tommy Tuberville by the way you spelled his name. The only way you'll get him out of Lubbock is in a pine box. Or a hint of success and an opening not in Lubbock. Or by firing him like his last team did. I suppose he was willing to beg for a job via the media, though, so you can tell his heart's in the right place. Salary is the best way to measure "expectations," I agree. And you're right about different situations: Mangino was taking over a team that had gone 1-7 in the Big 12 the year before! Can you imagine a team as bad as that? Gill certainly is inheriting a team in better shape.

The only thing I'm unclear on is Gill's "inability to recruit." Correct me if I'm wrong, but we just landed two more 2011 O-linemen this weekend--one nationally ranked, the other a standout JuCo transfer. Or do we only get excited about skill position players?

kufanman88 9 years, 6 months ago

Get Tommy out of Lubbock? Were you even paying attention to the coaching deliberations prior to the hiring of Gill? Tommy made a public statement saying he would like to come to KU. Now he is at Tech!

No, I am a fan of KU football not coach Gill. He hasnt done enough to deserve his current salary and Mangino had built the program into a point where a guy like Tommy would throw his hat in the ring if Perk would have accepted his offer. I will have immense respect for Gill as coach if uses this subpar recruiting class and somehow shapes it into a bowl team through a tough Big12 schedule. He has done nothing in his previous career to indicate that he can coach at the Big 12 level and his recruiting capabilities have yet to produce a 4 star or 5 star player this year. He might produce some outstanding student-athletes (which I hope he does) but so far he doesnt look like he is cut out for winning football games in the Big 12 (recruiting is important).

As far as recruiting...I would at least do a comparison to classes ranked under Mangino. If you are going to make a point of saying Gill can recruit then I would hope you are making that point because he is better than Mangino. Unfortunately, a single nationally ranked OL isnt impressive and his previous class and the class being currently recruited will likely be 30-40 ranked positions below that of Mangino's last class. If all Gill can recruit is a bunch of three star recruits, all that will get you is to a Motor City Bowl and not a BCS bowl.

KCHawk81 9 years, 6 months ago

Yes, I recall fervently hoping he wouldn't get hired here. Were you even paying attention a decade or so when they would have to carry him out of Ole Miss in a "pine box"? The guy is after money--he quit on Ole Miss, he quit on Auburn, and he'll quit on T-Tech. The fact that the same administration that's handling the Mike Leach saga decided he was a good risk makes me feel even better about "missing out" on Tommy T.

The only better coach than Gill being discussed was Harbaugh, and Harbaugh wasn't interested. Gill started out months behind every other coach in the recruiting campaign, managed to hold together most of Mangino's class even after an embarrassing season, and continues to convince talented kids to come to a school that barely won one conference game all season. This staff has 11 commits for 2011--I believe we had two at this point last year.

You're right about a Motor City Bowl being embarrassing though--and we weren't good enough to qualify for that last season with the most talented team KU's had in quite some time.

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