This has been requested by a few people over the years so I decided to give a film review a shot. I immediately realized that I have a hard time skipping over plays so I broke it into an offensive review and a defensive review. I don’t know how this will go in the future but I’d like to at least get something posted each week that takes a look at some specific plays from the game.
There wasn’t a lot of positive in this game so there’s a good amount of plays in here that show some glaring weaknesses with this team.
This play early in the game shows a few issues with the offense that have to get fixed at some point. First you’ll see that Cole Bentley doesn’t reach his man with his block. It’s been an issue for a good while and Bentley is far from the only guy that you see this with. The bigger issue is that Colin Wilson doesn’t read the block and tries to get around Bentley and the defender.
What he should do here is cut inside Bentley and get up the field. That would solve every problem that happened on this play. Bentley would be able to seal his man down the field and Wilson probably (maybe?) doesn’t fumble when someone simply touches the football.
This play shows some other issues with blocking up front. Kemari Averett gets stood up at the point of attack which forces Jeremy Smith to bounce his run further outside. Lukayus McNeil doesn’t get to his block, so the defender is able to shed it easily and get to Smith.
The glaring issue on this play is Micky Crum just jogging around and not doing much of anything. McNeil not being mobile enough to get to his block and Crum giving no effort to block anyone leads to the two guys they’re responsible for combining for a TFL.
Here are two views of Jaylen Smith’s first drop. I threw these in here to breakdwon why this is a drop and not a bad pass or inaccurate throw by Jawon Pass.
The Western Kentucky cornerback is in heads up coverage on third down. That means that he will play this route to the first down marker and he will be in a position to make a play on any throw inside. Smith’s route takes him that way, so Pass has to throw this to the outside of him. It allows Smith to shield the ball from the defender.
Pass knows all of this (Or should know) and Smith should be aware of this also. So, when he comes out of his break he should expect this ball to be outside. Instead, he works back to the quarterback and has to react late to the throw. And if we’re being honest, a guy at his level should make this catch anyway. He gets two hands on it.
This is the third drop of the game by a UofL receiver and it ends up as an interception. This throw is exactly what you want out of your quarterback. Pass immediately sees the blitzing linebacker and he makes a throw to the area that is being vacated by the linebacker.
The throw is slightly high due to the pressure in his face but it’s obviously catchable for the 6-6 tight end on the roster. Instead it is bobbled and Western’s athletic defensive end is able to make a nice play.
On the other hand, this is exactly what you don’t want from your quarterback. Pass hesitates and misses Jaylen Smith over the middle on this play. It’s a quick decision that needs to be made because the defensive back on the backside of the play ends up sinking right into the window after he doesn’t pull the trigger.
What was worse to me was the fact that he didn’t throw this ball away. He tucks it as soon as he leaves the pocket and because of that the running back looks to throw him a block instead of giving him a target. Even still, Pass could have thrown this into the stands and it’s second and ten.
The much talked about fourth down play was much worse in every way once I watched the game again. It was Malik’s third play and he hadn’t done anything other than scramble at that point. The defense had no reason to think that he would give this ball on an option play.
As for the play itself, Malik doesn’t even make the read. The end is the option guy and even if he felt that the end had overplayed it, he’s looking at the blitzing safety. Dae Williams has the space to at least get a couple of yards and likely gets the first down. He can’t make these plays as the competition gets harder and his coach shouldn’t put him in these spots in the first place.
This is the type of play that I would love to see Louisville run more often. I believe they have run some variation of it three times this season. Once at the end of the Alabama game with Hassan Hall, and twice in this game. It has picked up solid yardage each time and I think that Marcus Riley could have maybe turned the corner here and scored.
It’s a good use of the speed they have at receiver and as the season goes on, they absolutely have to find more ways to get the ball in the hands of these guys in space.
This is a good example of the promise that Malik brings. He makes the right read and throws a ball that should be caught. He’ll develop down the road where he puts this in front of Jaylen Smith but this is a good throw. He shows a good ability to step up in the pocket and his mechanics are perfect. Accuracy and inconsistency shouldn’t be much of a problem for him as he gains experience.
He actually ends up completing this pass to spark the field goal drive before halftime. It was on the exact same play and the coverage was identical. He steps up again and delivers a ball up where only Jaylen can get it. That time he came down with it.
This play is where things really concern me going into conference play. Malik drops back and never even gets to his first read. He sees a white jersey flash in front of his face and he bails out. I wrote about Kirk Herbstreit calling out Jalen Hurts on this during the national championship game last season. It’s a big flaw in Hurts’ game and Malik has to avoid falling ito the same trap.
This play doesn’t work against most of the teams on the schedule. They’re going to come after him a lot and he has to stay in there and get the ball to his play makers. He also isn’t the type of athlete that can outrun everyone on the field. He’s extremely talented and elusive but he’s going to be going up against really talented defenders that will track him down.