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QB Spotlight Week 7

A deeper look into four quarterback’s Week 7 performance

NCAA Football: Memphis at Southern Methodist Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Another week is in the books of the 2020 college football season and as far as quarterback play is concerned, it did not disappoint. The Sun Belt featured a game that saw both teams combine for over 100 points — UCF and Memphis in the American combined for 99 points — Conference USA was not to be left out as they had a game that consisted of a combined 87 points.

Before we spotlight this week’s quarterbacks, let’s take a brief run down at the other quarterback play this week from the American, CUSA, and Sun Belt. In the American we saw Clayton Tune, from UH have another good game, but BYU ended up pulling away. Shane Buechele continued doing Buechele things in a good win over Tulane. Temple and South Florida both had some good performances at the quarterback position as it is nice seeing Jordan McCloud take steps for USF despite the loss. UCF and Memphis had a heavyweight quarterback slugfest as both quarterbacks played tremendously as neither team’s defense could slow down the opposing quarterback.

In C-USA, we saw UAB defeat WKU with no problem, despite quarterback’s for both teams completing under 50% of their passes. UTSA saw another starting quarterback get injured while UNT may have found their guy moving forward. The Sun Belt started off with Grayson McCall playing another stellar game for Coastal Carolina and leading them to a win against Louisiana. Arkansas State’s QB’s and Georgia State’s Cornelious Brown IV all played great in their high scoring affair. With lots of interesting quarterback play from this weekend, let’s go ahead and get to the guys we are spotlighting this week.

The AAC

Brady White (Memphis)

In a week that The AAC had several top quarterback performers, Brady White and Dillon Gabriel both were named co-offensive players of the week by the AAC. I am sure that both fan bases totally agreed with that decision, only kidding of course. We could have easily done a spotlight on Dillon Gabriel who threw for over 600 yards against Memphis and set several different conference records in their loss against Memphis. Gabriel was unstoppable the entire game as he made it look like UCF’s offense was playing against air. He accounted for six total touchdowns.

While we could have flipped a coin on which quarterback to spotlight this week between the two, we ultimately went with White. Unfortunately for UCF, White was also unstoppable as the UCF defense had no chance of stopping him once he got on a roll. He also accounted for seven total touchdowns (1 more than Gabriel). Let’s breakdown White’s performance a bit more. UCF got off to a hot start as White and the Memphis’ offense took a bit to heat up. Memphis was down 35-14 before finding their groove.

While it is important to take the offensive performances with a grain of salt considering the poor play of each teams’ defense, White was composed the entire time and truly looked like he elevated his game here. He has always been considered one of the better quarterbacks in the AAC, but what made his record-breaking performance even more impressive was doing it without his star wide out, Damonte Coxie. We could talk about some of the big throws he made and look at some of the shots he took down field, but I was more impressed with his ability to throw outside the pocket this game and do the small things right. As a quarterback whose draft stock is sure to be debated after the season, he showed several NFL plays against UCF by doing the small things right, staying composed, and thriving under the pressure. This game surely helped his draft stock, which is something we have talked about on The QB Spotlight Podcast. Below is a great example of throwing outside the pocket on a big 3rd down with not much time left in the game to take the lead. He made this throw look way easier than it actually is considering everything going on in the play.

Conference USA

Jason Bean (North Texas)

In another game that didn’t have much defense, though more than the other two games on this list, Jason Bean was the one who ended up shining. Bean was the main reason North Texas was able to come back from several touchdowns and beat Middle Tennessee by a score 52-35 in a game that was a must win for North Texas. The game started off bad for North Texas as they found themselves down several touchdowns. Austin Aune started again at quarterback for North Texas and after two early interceptions, they put in Bean and the game turned immediately.

Bean came off the bench in the 2nd quarter and led North Texas to 35 unanswered points to put the game completely out of reach against Middle Tennessee. In not even a full game, Bean was 12-of-17 passing, for 181 yards and 2 passing touchdowns. That would be an impressive performance by itself for one half of football, however he also had 169 yards rushing and 3 scores on the ground. He accounted for 5 total touchdowns and should have North Texas fans feeling a bit more optimistic, at least offensively.

Below are two examples of what Bean did to Middle Tennessee the whole time he was in the game. The first clip shows a great ball with pressure in his face. He is unable to step into his throw, but shows the rotational force needed to put the ball where it needs to go. Notice that he throws the ball to space and allows his receiver to go get it. Quarterbacks can get sucked in to trying to make the “perfect” throw all the time, but in plays like this when you see the receiver has a step on the defensive back, just throw it to where you see green grass and let him get it. The second video shows his dynamic ability as a runner. This is something that should add a huge element to North Texas’ offense as he shows in this clip to have that 2nd gear that you hear coaches talk about. C-USA defenses now have several additions to their game-plan now when facing North Texas.

Sun Belt

Logan Bonner and Layne Hatcher (Arkansas State)

While we like to keep this spotlight to just three quarterbacks, it is hard to separate Logan Bonner and Layne Hatcher, as they have been splitting time for Arkansas State the entire season. Bonner and Hatcher led Arkansas State to 59 points against Georgia State as they held on to the lead to win by a touchdown. They combined for seven touchdown passes against Georgia State and the week before combined for six touchdown passes, though it was against an FCS opponent.

This quarterback situation is something we have talked about at length on the QB Spotlight Podcast, and admittedly I have always thought they should eventually pick a guy and roll with him. It can be disruptive offensively to always be switching out quarterbacks. However, I was proven extremely wrong in their game against Georgia State. They looked like they meshed well rotating in and out. If they can continue this type of success as they get deeper in conference play then the two-quarterback system could be an advantage for them.

Below is an example of the Arkansas State offense not missing a beat regardless who is in at quarterback. The first video below is with Hatcher at quarterback. It shows a quick play action and a deep pass down field for a touchdown. The second video is with Bonner at quarterback. This play looks identical to the above play as Bonner has a quick play action and chunks it deep for a touchdown. Regardless who is in at quarterback, as long as he keeps giving his stud receivers a chance to make plays, Arkansas State should be okay offensively.

You can find us on Twitter @QBSpotlight & @StevenHamner