Author Note: This game was only available on WatchESPN after the game, so I had to record the video on my laptop with my phone. That being said, thee quality of the videos won't be the best, but it's better than nothing.
As many of y'all know, Stephenville played Lubbock Cooper on ESPN2 Thursday night. The reason why this is significant is because Jarrett Stidham, Texas Tech's 5-star QB commit, was playing in the game. Most of us have seen Stidham's 11 minute highlight film (which is now deleted on YouTube), but have never seen an accurate representation of Stidham's play. Well this Thursday we were able to sneak peak at the next great Red Raider QB. Here is an analysis of how the QB played and what Texas Tech has in store.
Stidham has incredibly good accuracy, fitting the ball in the tightest of spaces. If a QB can fit the ball right in the receiver's pocket, it makes it easier for the WR to catch the ball and makes the CB's margin of error even greater. It also gives the team more options when choosing plays, and less of chance to waste a down. There were a few passes Thursday night where Stidham showed exactly how accurate he can be. The one I remember the most though was on a 4th and goal in the 1st quarter. After three failed running attempts to get in the endzone (and a Lubbock Cooper timeout), Stephenville decided to go for it on 4th down. Jarrett located his target, looked away from his primary option to move the linebacker over, then fired a bullet between 3 defenders for the score. He put speed on the football and threaded the ball through the Lubbock defense right into his receivers hands. You can't do it much better.
Stidham completed 28 of 40 passes on the day. At one point he was 24-27, completing 18 straight passes, but had to start forcing the ball down the field late in the game when Stephenville feel behind. Stidham has a 70% completion percentage on year, which is just amazing. Here is another accurate throw in the 1st and another accurate pass in the 2nd quarter.
Any time you are throwing in a pass heavy offense, it's important to have good arm strength. You have to be able to get the ball out quick to order to get it to your receivers in time and be able to stretch the field to give your receivers more room. Stidham does posses a lot of arm strength and should to be effective in Kingsbury's system. Here is an example of how power Stidham's arm is. In the 3rd quarter, Stephenville was facing a 1st and 15 at the 50 yard line. Stidham dodged a defender before firing a cannon 55 yards down the field to his receiver. The touchdown was taken back due to offensive pass interference, but Stidham showed off his rocket arm there. He had another pass in the 2nd where he barley underthrew Kaegun Williams 60 yards down the field.
He had 343 yards this game and 1205 yards on the season so far. Here is a 35 yard TD from Stidham in the 1st quarter.
When playing the Quarterback position, it is important to know your surroundings. If he doesn't, it could lead to a sack, fumble or an interception. There were analysis early on that questioned Stidham's pocket presence, but I saw no problems at all during the game. Jarrett was not sacked throughout the game and escaped from the pocket plenty of times to give his team a second chance. One example of this is in the 2nd quarter on a 3rd and long. The pocket was starting to breakdown and Stidham was in danger of being sacked. However, he was aware that there was a defender sneaking up behind him, so he evaded the defensive end and scrambled out of the pocket away from oncoming defenders. In fact, he actually found a receiver and turned a broken play into a first down, which eventually lead to a TD.
While mobility is not a necessity for playing QB, it does give the Quarterback second opportunities and the offense more options when choosing plays. This element of play helps guys like Winston, Manziel and Mariota (the best college QBs in the last two years) gain an advantage on the opponent. While Stidham isn't quite as fast or explosive as those QBs, he does bring an extra element that will keep the defense guessing the whole time. Not only that, but while on the run, Stidham still maintains a his incredible accuracy. In the beginning of the 4th Quarter, Jarrett kept the ball on an option play and ran for 16 yards, evading one tackle and out running another defender. We could see Texas Tech add the option when Stidham comes to Tech to fully utilize his talents. Not only would they have to guard the pass, but be prepared in case he takes off. Just imagine how an option with Stidham and Stockton would look
Sometimes QBs have all the measurables to to be a great Quarterback, but are as dumb as a rock. They make stupid mistakes and turnovers that cost their teams not only drives but games. Stidham was making smart throws for a majority the day, not forcing the ball to his WRs. When the pocket broke down, he didn't try to push the ball 30 yards up the field, he took the simple 10 yard pass to get the first down. On screen passes, he throws the ball in front of receivers so they have momentum before they catch the ball. Midway through the 3rd quarter on a 1st and 10, Stidham threw a screen to Kaegun Williams (4-star 2017 ATH) for a 30 yard TD. It's such a simple play, but takes intelligence to throw it. He took what the defense gave him and threw it in front of Williams, that way he was able to keep his momentum going and ready to take on defenders. Thee TD wouldn't have happened if he didn't throw it in front of Williams like he did. Such a simple throw that some QBs don't make
I can't wait to see this guy play on Saturdays and Sundays.