'Coach' grades Dayne Crist's performance against TCU


For this blog, I have consulted a Div. II offensive assistant coach, someone we'll just call "Coach."

After hearing so many different opinions about Kansas quarterback Dayne Crist's performance against TCU, I thought this would be a good week to take a broader view and have Coach look over the film to see how he would grade Crist's play.

I went back and cut up video of every KU passing play against TCU, including the ones that turned into sacks or rushes.

I then told Coach to watch the film like he was scouting an opponent and make notes about what he saw from Crist.

Here are Coach's notes.


"Obviously, he has a big arm. He's very accurate, for the most part. I think he makes pretty good decisions with where to go with the ball. Some of the clips, it's hard to see the receivers, if they're separating downfield or not.

"For the most part, he has good ball fundamentals. When they run play-action, he does a good job faking the football and then making sure he's back with the proper throwing angle."

Coach says some of Crist's good fundamentals can be seen on the first play of the video above.

"Even though he's on the move, he does a nice job of whipping that left shoulder around and getting it pointed to his target," Coach said. "He has a high ball. The ball is above his right ear.

Ball above ear

Ball above ear by Jesse Newell

"That's a great throwing motion, and the ball, therefore, is right on target."

• "He's making pretty good decisions. Some of the times when it looks like he's holding onto the ball too long, that could just be a coverage sack (where) TCU had the receivers covered up. He doesn't necessarily have any place to go with the ball, so he takes the sack."

"He really has that kind of arm and accuracy to make all the throws (needed of a quarterback).

"He uses good footwork in the pocket for the most part. And, without scrambling, he knows how to get away from the rush by moving his feet and staying in a good throwing position."


"Sometimes, I think he looks like he forces it, tries to rely on that big arm and accuracy and forces the ball in there. For instance, the interception. He tried to force that one into a window where he probably should have made a better decision on that play."

Speaking of the interception, notice that KU finished with two receivers close to each other.

Two receivers

Two receivers by Jesse Newell

"We used to run a play that was similar to that, and I never really liked it because you're bringing two receivers into one area," Coach said. "That means you're bringing more defenders into that area as well.

"It looks like they're trying to run it off play-action and get a nice rollout there and get two guys on different levels on the outside of the field, but I've never really liked that type of play right there because you've got teams that run combo coverage, like TCU does right here. They've got a guy over the top, they've got a guy in the intermediate, and they've got a guy underneath. It's going to be tough to find an open receiver right there."

Coach said the play call still doesn't excuse Crist's poor pass in this instance.

"That's the thing with guys that can 'make all the throws' is sometimes they rely on their arm strength and accuracy and really fire it in there when they really should make a better decision," Coach said. " ... Sometimes, (Crist) relies on his arm strength a little too much and tries to force it into small windows."

"Sometimes he makes a bad decision when he should maybe scramble or throw the ball away. He can run pretty decent. He's not RG3 or anything like that, but he can definitely get out of the pocket and gain positive yards.

"A couple of times when he took the sack, it looked like he might have been locked on a receiver for quite a while during a play. Maybe, instead of looking at that receiver for so long, just go ahead and take off and try to get a few yards out of it."

Overall grade

I asked Coach for his overall assessment of Crist.

"If I were grading him right here, I'd say he had a pretty decent ball game," Coach said. "I'd say, for the most part, he was getting the ball to the receivers when they were open and made pretty good decisions. He could just use a little bit more help around him.

"It seems like he's holding onto the ball a little bit too long at times, but then again, that could mean the DBs downfield have got the wide receivers covered up pretty good, and they're not getting a whole lot of separation."

Coach said the numbers — Crist finished 19-for-39 for 303 yards with no touchdowns, an interception and a lost fumble — probably don't reflect how well KU's QB played Saturday.

"He obviously had a few drops in there that could have upped his accuracy," Coach said. "Of course, he did throw a few away when he was getting pressured and didn't have an open receiver. Sometimes that low completion percentage can be a little bit skewed."

When I asked Coach about Crist's best throws, he didn't hesitate.

"The one I really love ... it's right at three minutes," Coach said.

"They're backed up in their own territory. They run a little play-action pass. He steps up. The pocket is pretty good. He gets rushed a little bit from his right, but he steps up into the pocket behind the center and the guard and just makes an absolutely great throw to a receiver that doesn't really have a whole lot of separation right there.

Crist on post route

Crist on post route by Jesse Newell

"He puts the ball on a line. It's a throw where only his guy is going to catch it. It's either going to be a catch or an incomplete pass — definitely not going to get intercepted. But just an absolutely great throw. That's pretty good."

Coach said one other throw stood out most: the deep ball down the sideline to Andrew Turzilli on KU's final possession (5:40 mark of video).

"The receiver doesn't even really do that great of a job. See how the receiver is very close to the sideline right there?" Coach said.

Turzilli sideline

Turzilli sideline by Jesse Newell

"That's not necessarily a great route by the receiver, because Crist really only has one place where he can throw the ball. It has to be a perfect throw. It has to be over the defender, not out of bounds, high enough so the receiver can run underneath it.

Turzilli catch

Turzilli catch by Jesse Newell

"What we tell our receivers is, when we run these go routes like this, we try to do the best we can to be close to the bottom of the numbers. That way, the quarterback can lead you directly up the bottom of the numbers or, if you have to fade out any, you're fading out, but you're still not fading out so far that you're running out of bounds (red arrow instead of blue arrow).


Routes by Jesse Newell

"In this situation, the receiver is so close to the sideline, he has no room to fade out. Crist only has one place to throw the ball, and he puts it right on the money. That's an absolute great throw right there."

Because I've heard a lot of opinions about Crist from fans, I ended by asking Coach if — based on the film — he would consider Crist to be a Big 12-caliber quarterback.

"I think he's definitely a Big 12-level quarterback," Coach said. "He's a big kid. He's got good feet. He's got a good arm. For the most part, he makes good decisions.

"I think this is a quarterback who can win games for you. You just have to put him in position to make the best plays possible."


clevelandjayhawker 10 years, 2 months ago

New commit!! Andrew Bolton, DE, had 18 TFL, 9 sacks last year at a JUCO. Offers from LSU and Iowa and hes gonna be a Jayhawk.

Eric Dawson 10 years, 2 months ago

That is great news! Rivals describes him as "one of the top defensive linemen in the country." Add him and spring enrollee Ty McKinney, and the D line is really looking good for next year.

I wonder -- with JUCO LB Jon Shelby gone, can KU use his scholarship to bring Bolton in starting with the spring term? That would give him a great jump start for 2013!

canuckhawk 10 years, 2 months ago

Jesse. Do you mean to say that we can't trust all the "house is on fire" chatter by anonymous posters, even if their username is a play on jayhawks or mangino and uses phonetic spelling? Wow. That is really liberating.

My actual name, by the way, is Elron Mckenzie, not Doug.

Matthew Roesner 10 years, 2 months ago

Great article. So often we only see one aspect of a play and don't get to consider the whole frame work. Guess this analysis begs the question on how the coaches are working with the receivers to develop techniques and routines to provide Crist with more opportunities.

JayHawk_from_SWKS 10 years, 2 months ago

My impersonation of the future meltdown of the Crist haters:

"But, you don't understand Jesse! He takes too long to read the defense, and he doesn't take long enough to read the defense, and he holds the ball too long and takes too long to go through progressions because our receivers run the best routes ever, and get an inch of separation from their defenders. How much more does a 'hot shot' like Crist need. I know more about football than you, your supposed 'Coach' expert, Coach Weis, Coach Campo, Coach Bowen, and all the other coaches combined. There is no reason we should have our DBs lined up 8 yards from the line of scrimmage, even though we have been doing it for years, and a former NFL coach continues to do it, and it prevents giving up big plays down the field. I win every game from my arm chair, and I am the best. And, blahjfakdhfajdkglskjvnlfjkvhfauifbodjklgdajdhasjkfdajfld.*"

*This represents the mental meltdown of someone who can't accept objective logic.

What do you guys think? Does that summarize it nicely?

Andy Tweedy 10 years, 2 months ago

Clearly, most posters are NOT experts, including myself. But if you've ever watched MNF countdown, you will see endless amounts of coaching and playing experience disagreeing on how good a player and/or a team are. So for the posters basing everything off of Jesse's anonymous coach, well... And the coach here also said that he can't always see if the receivers are open, just as most of us can't without the benefit of replay angles we just don't have. Personally, I still think Crist sometimes holds on to the ball too long (seconded by the coach above?), and that is the problem I have with his play when going by the "eye test." I certainly can't speak for every poster, but I personally have never said anything as harsh as "he sucks" or asked for him to be benched. In my mind, if Charlie is playing the guy, he's the best option we have. But I'd be lying if I didn't say I've been a little underwhelmed after hearing all the glowing praise we heard all summer.

jgkojak 10 years, 2 months ago

What I see from that video are 3-4 plays where we were 1 yard from the endzone - and a small change of mechanics in passer/receiver/runner gives us a TD - we make half of those we're tied. Even Crist's fumble at the end - we make it and we're doing an onside kick.

JayHawk_from_SWKS 10 years, 2 months ago

Well, the fumble play had the phantom leg whip penalty. So, it would have been called back. But, you are right otherwise.

Stan Unruh 10 years, 2 months ago

Crist is getting more comfortable and will have a great day vs NIU. And for those who care.. Brock Berglund has left Scottsdale Community College and will now play for North Texas next season. BTW Scottsdale is having a fine season without Berglund.

Lance Cheney 10 years, 2 months ago

And then he'll be at North Texas for 2 months, and then transfer to Colorado School of Mines for a few months, and then transfer again...

It's kind of like that psycho ex-girlfriend you used to have. You really don't care where she's at now or who she's with; you're just happy that she isn't with you.

Ashwin Rao 10 years, 2 months ago

You are correct... "The Coach" is not Weis... it is Gill... How did you know? :)

Eric Dawson 10 years, 2 months ago

Jesse would never live it down with his readers if it came out that were true. :)

Dirk Medema 10 years, 2 months ago

"For this blog, I have consulted a Div. II offensive assistant coach"

Though some think Turner isn't that good.

Kevin Crook 10 years, 2 months ago

We need to look to throw more short routes in the passing game. It seems like Weis is either calling for too many of these longer routes or Crist is not being patient enough to check down to a back out of the back field or some quick slants, little curls, skinny crossing routes, etc. How many times did Reesing hit #86 for a little dump pass within five or eight yards of the line of scrimmage? A million? How many times did it break for a big gain? We need to look for more yards after the catch instead of trying to break off big chunks in the air like we think our personnel is Fouts to Branch. We need to think of Joe Montana taking what the defense gave him, patiently, relentlessly.

Jeff Suther 10 years, 2 months ago

I can see why this guy is a D2 coach. Crist is absolutely terrible. When he throws the ball deep i stop watching because i know if will be 15 yards to long. He also has no idea how to put touch on the ball. He throws it as hard as he can every throw which causes so many drops. Terrible terrible terrible. Better off with webb.

Dirk Medema 10 years, 2 months ago

mid-pummeling by Fresno State, post-beating by CSU and another doormat.

Ron Prichard 10 years, 2 months ago

I'm not sure what you have been watching or even if you are trying to be sarcastic, but Crist typically throws a fantastic deep ball. Twice he threw over 40 yards in the air and hit receivers in stride when they had little to no separation. If you are referring to one of the deep passes that was well overthrown over the middle when we had two receivers going deep, I think that was intentional as he had to get rid of the ball and that was a safe way to do it and avoid a penalty.

I'm not going so say Crist is playing great, or even very good for that matter. I do agree that he tends to throw the ball too hard at times. I think at times he holds the ball too long, but I'm not sure if that is based on the routes or lack of separation or even the play calling, etc. I did like when we started throwing quicker and shorter passes in the second half.

But for you to acutally suggest we were better off with Webb tells me you didn't watch Webb play very much. Yes, he had heart and tried hard, but he was not anywhere near as good as Crist. CU is 0-3 with him starting. I wish him well, but we have definitely upgraded at the QB position, and I think Crist will continue to improve as the year goes on.

jaymar74 10 years, 2 months ago

+1, Crist stands tall in the pocket and does not get happy feet. His best games are all still ahead of him beginning with this week at NIU.

Bville Hawk 10 years, 2 months ago

I was at the TCU game and was a little disappointed afterwards in our quarterback's performance. Last night I watched a replay of that game on FSN and came away feeling a whole lot differently. I agree with "the coach" that Crist played pretty darn well. We were just a couple drops (of balls right thru the receivers hands. Hands. Not fingertips, hands) and missed tackles from being in control of and probably winning the game.

In the final analysis it wasn't a victory, but it could have been. The players just need to keep up the good effort and pay attention to their coaches and I think we will surprise a couple of the teams remaining on our schedule.

Doug Cramer 10 years, 2 months ago

Not a fan of Crist...but eere Not better off with Webb. He was so inaccrurate with his passes.

Geekinout 10 years, 2 months ago

Armchair quarterback/current Xbox NCAA football KU coach here...

Well, he does a terrible job of looking off defenders and stares down every target he throws to. Has trouble going through progressions on his reads (probably due to lack of talented receivers). Looks for too many deep routes instead of simple 4-6 yard underneath ones. Doesn't incorporate his tightends or running backs nearly enough in the passing game. Not nearly as mobile as I thought he'd be, might use more running back screens to take some pressure off pocket. Average field general that has average command of offense. On a few drives I noticed he tried making the "big play" himself with his slow feet, instead of using the running backs that got the team in the red zone in the first place.

If he flops this next outing, I'd hope Chuck W. can end his love affair with Crist and start either Cummings or Baty. If he couldn't get it done in the first 3 games, why not make a change? So far not impressed and looks like the entire ship is going down b/c of the captain.

Kirk 10 years, 2 months ago

A) Again, this "breakdown" series is really cool and very much appreciated. Good use of video. And much more illuminating than other sources.

B) Crist is improving. I believe that over the season he'll make good use of his much-deserved opportunity at KU. I think he'll find a groove. I'm not as confident in our receivers yet.

C) We'll win on Saturday, hopefully with the addition of a couple offensive weapons we've been missing lately.

Lisa Beran 10 years, 2 months ago

We've been saying all along that, while Crist has not been perfect, unless the receivers can get some separation, it's extremely difficult for him to complete passes. Couple that with the drops and I totally agree that Crist is not playing that poorly. Could he have done some things better? Sure. Could his receivers help him more? Absolutely.

Rivethead 10 years, 2 months ago

Some (many?) of the posters on this thread have unrealistic expectations for a Big 12 QB.

wildjayhawk 10 years, 2 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Randy Bombardier 10 years, 2 months ago

Holy cow. After watching this I have to admit I have put too much blame on Crist. What in the world are our receivers doing? They don't seem to know how to run routes? I hope we keep Pierson in the slot or use him in draw plays and screens. After watching this I really feel for the guy. I think we need our old receivers coach back.

wileykufan 10 years, 2 months ago

I saw somewhere (sorry, no link as I can't remember where I saw it) that Crist's QB ratings have improved by 7+ points each game . . .

Now, I know that means little to some of you . . . But when you consider that the third game (with his highest QB rating) was against a very good TCU defense (I think we'll only see three others as good all year) that is a very encouraging sign.

If Crist continues to get better and feel more comfortable and if he and his receivers can get on the same page this could end up being a pretty competitive football team.

DocPossum 10 years, 2 months ago

The team is working hard and improving. Good things will happen. Crist gives the team confidence and guidance. As the receivers improve so will the outcomes. (Sham)rock Chalk Jayhawk!

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