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Film Review: Albany QB Reese Poffenbarger vs. Marshall

Mario Cristobal has found his man in the QB competition at Miami for the 2024 season. Reese Poffenbarger led Albany to the FCS playoffs this season.

Albany v Hawai’i Photo by Darryl Oumi/Getty Images

The Miami Hurricanes have another arm in the quarterback competition for 2024. Albany transfer QB Reese Poffenbarger is heading to Coral Gables, FL to compete with Jacurri Brown, Emory Williams, and Judd Anderson.

Poffenbarger has thrown for 5,969 yards with 56 touchdowns and 16 interceptions at Albany. I’ve taken a look at his game-by-game stats and cross-referenced them against the combined SP+ rankings from Bill Connelly (from November 28th, 2023). Albany’s top-six ranked games came against: South Dakota State, Hawaii, Marshall, New Hampshire, Richmond, and Idaho.

Albany finished 2-4 against their top-6 rated opponents with Poffenbarger’s biggest games coming against Richmond (137th) and Idaho (121st). Albany’s top-6 averaged an SP+ ranking of 113, and their two wins were against 121 and 137.

As you can see above, against the SDSU Jackrabbits, Poffenbarger was annihilated. SDSU at the time would’ve been 35th in the FBS SP+ per Bill C. That puts them below Miami (22nd at the time) and far above Marshall and Hawaii, their two FBS opponents in ‘23.

We’re going to take a look at Albany’s three highest rated games for Poffenbarger’s 3-part film review starting with 99th ranked Marshall.


Marshall 21 - Albany 17

In the close loss to Marshall, Poffenbarger scored two TD’s (one passing, one rushing) with no interceptions. Poffenbarger completed 57.9% of his passes for only 5.1 yards per attempt. The Thundering Herd (6-7) had the 98th rated defense per SP+ as of January 2nd.

His touchdown run came on a designed read option, and his TD pass was off of a nice scramble drill where the WR got wide open in the end zone and Poffenbarager threw to him on the run.

The Great

Above- That post is a tough throw. You have to have both accuracy and ball placement. Over the LB, under the safety and front side shoulder. Off by an inch and that’s picked or the WR is on a cart headed to a nearby medical facility.

Above- WOO buddy I’ve missed having a QB that can keep a defense honest with his legs. You don’t need the next Mike Vick (but I mean, I’d be happy to have him!) but at least give me Stetson Bennett IV or Sam Howell levels of mobility.

This is a gun triple option play. The QB pulls out of the dive because of the squeezing defensive end. Then he reads the linebacker, when he goes to the pitchman, it’s a keep and score for Poffenbarger.

Above- The Q has nothing open, gets exterior pressure, STEPS UP in the pocket, evades a rush, and throws across his body on the run for a TD in the end zone. That’s a really difficult throw that he connects on here.

Good

Above- I like his zip on the lookie route here, also the ball placement. It’s front shoulder which helps the WR catch it and pick up extra yards after catch. Miami’s suffered through enough back shoulder slant-glance-lookie route throws for a lifetime.

Above- Arm angle, unspoken communication with the WR. It’s a simple hitch break-off but that’s what you need to pick up 1st downs in close games.

Above- Again, having a QB that can scramble, pick up yards after a protection break down, etc will be a nice addition. Brown wasn’t as fluid in scrambling as you’d like to see from a modern QB (and Tyler Van Dyke couldn’t do it at all against P5’s).

Bad

Above- QB’s have to see front side pressure, period. The overhang comes in unblocked and he doesn’t feel it at all.

Above- Shannon Dawson loves a screen but Poffenbarger needs to get the ball up on a ‘now’ screen to make it work for a big play.

Above- Q misses on the deep fade but he misses “right.” If you’re going to miss here it has to be out of bounds, not in bounds to the safety side.

Ugly

Above- This should feel familiar. A QB-RB exchange going haywire. Albany had a few mistimed plays against Marshall that looked wonky and this was one.

Above- The Q has some really what tha?! type of throws. Brown does the same thing where he can drop a dime and then throw some wild ball that you can’t explain.


The Wrap

Miami needed to have four scholarship QB’s on campus for spring football and now they do. Poffenbarger isn’t Cam Ward, and it was quite the mighty fall for Mario Cristobal to drop from Ward to an FCS QB not named Gronkowski.

This has a Tony Muskett to UVA type of feeing for Miami, except I’m not sure who the Anthony Colandrea is on the ‘Canes roster right now. I do think Poffenbarger is better than Muskett but is some product of Brown-Anderson-Williams better than Colandrea?

The Cristobal Era at Miami is going to come down to QB play and game day coaching- I hope both are an upgrade from 2022 and 2023.