Clayton Tune HAS to be the man for this job. It’s not an option as there simply isn’t anyone behind him that is ready to play. The combined experience in the QB room outside of Tune is three snaps against TSU in 2018 (Ike Ogbogu).
Tune has 17 starts under his belt and it’s time to step up and prove himself. To be the man to carry this team to a championship level, he needs to take a big step forward in a number of areas.
The most important step is to protect the ball. Last year, Tune threw 10 interceptions (against 15 TD) and fumbled three times, losing two with both being returned for scores. Your QB cannot turn it over 12 times in eight games. Now that UH’s offense is more ball control rather than ‘air it out,’ the QB must protect the ball and make every drive count.
Clayton also has to be more consistent and make the routine throws that keep the ball moving. He’s shown the ability to make the deep throw and that’s great but he needs to be better at hitting the 10-15 yard throws in traffic. He also has to find receivers in spots where they can make plays underneath the coverage.
Every college QB should be able to make the 5-yard throw. Better QBs hit the receiver in their upfield shoulder so they can seamlessly carry their momentum forward to make big plays. For this offense to be effective, Tune’s got to start hitting those guys in the flow. UH has to make these types of plays to create more downfield opportunities on 2nd and 3rd down.
In taking the next step, Tune must be better in his decision-making. That involves more pocket presence and more awareness of time and defensive pressure. Defenses will continue to test the offensive line and put as much pressure as possible on Tune. The new OL group should be improved with the addition of Kody Russey and a healthy Patrick Paul but they are going to have to prove it week to week. The line’s best friend is a QB that makes quicker, better decisions.
In the past, Tune has shown that if he’s given enough time he can read the field and make good throws. A good example is the BYU game last year: Tune was 12/16 (75%) on 10+ yard throws between the numbers. For the spray chart, we track how far the ball is thrown in the air not the total distance of the play.
But at other times, he gets hurried with a bit of pressure and can be forced into bad decisions. Sometimes, Clayton tries to fit balls into windows that just aren’t there but now that he has enough experience, the game should be slower in his head. He has seen a lot of different alignments and should be much better at pre-snap reads and his inner clock should be more “tuned.” If that is the case, then his raw talent can finally be put to use and he should take a big step forward.
I expect to see Tune with the entire playbook against Texas Tech. This team needs to come out with guns blazing and make a statement about what UH football is really about. The last two seasons have been tough to watch, especially the manner in which the Coogs have lost. This offense has limited itself for one reason or another and it is time to break the shackles and let it rip.
GoCoogs 2021 Season Preview