LSU has been among the top teams in the nation in terms of overall talent, even before Les Miles was canned. However, two big issues have kept the Tigers from achieving consistent success; coaching and quarterback play. This year, LSU hopes they could their QB of the present in Ohio State transfer Joe Burrow.
Burrow comes to the bayou with experience in years but not in game play. Burrow has thrown 39 passes in his collegiate career and has managed to complete 74% of them with two touchdowns and no interceptions. However, that is an awfully small sample size for someone who, barring injury, will be going up against Miami’s defense on September 2.
So in the spirit of getting to know your enemy, here is some of what Miami can expect to see from Burrow at quarterback. Keep in mind that the plays being broken down here are from a 2016 game he finished in relief of J.T. Barrett and a spring game from 2017. Unfortunately, that’s all we have to work with for Burrow.
Here we see Burrow running a zone option to the weakside. He successfully reads the weakside defensive end, closing toward the runningback, and decides to keep it. He follows his tight end but simply doesn’t have the speed or elusiveness to pick up more than a yard, if that. We shouldn’t expect Burrow to be a rushing threat; he might be able to use his legs to move in or out of the pocket but the Canes’ athletic front seven players should be able to chase him down no problem if he tries to get fancy.
On this play, Burrow is going to make a simple read and deliver the ball quickly. Burrow doesn’t do much to try to look off the defender but locks onto his primary read and throws it to him with good timing. Burrow has pretty solid arm strength to drive it into a fairly tight window and with good anticipation to allow his receiver to gain YAC. His footwork also isn’t half bad either.
In this spring game play, Burrow does a better job of using his eyes, looking off the safety to the middle of the field. This is especially important on a play like this, since the play is designed to be a deep throw. Burrow again shows off his arm strength, good footwork and excellent placement to drop the ball right into his receiver’s hands for a touchdown.
So what can we expect from Joe Burrow? Well he hasn’t started a game and hasn’t played in pressure situations yet in college. Coming in up 55-3 in the fourth quarter isn’t quite the same as going against the no. 8 Hurricanes in your first collegiate start. We do know that Burrow has good footwork, good arm strength and is a naturally gifted passer. It’s a small sample size but in the tape of Burrow that I have seen, he throws with consistent accuracy, timing and anticipation.
However, it all goes back to the pressure question. If Miami can knock the LSU o-line back into Burrow’s lap, will his passes continue to look pretty? If the Canes allow Burrow to sit back with a clean pocket, I think the transfer could very easily pick apart a questionable Miami defensive backfield. Burrow is probably the most talented QB Baton Rouge has seen in some time but he will still need to prove he is ready for the big time for September 2. My word of advice fellow Canes fans; don’t go underestimating Joe Burrow too much.