Upon Further Review: King Being King

King breaks free
D’Eriq King breaks free / Photo by Mario Puente

Note: This article is part of our Film Study series. We publish several of these each week on GoCoogs and while they are usually only available to subscribers, we’ve made this one free for everyone prior to the Tulane game.

Something just has seemed off about D’Eriq King this year.  We have all taken guesses as to what it could be and the only real conclusion we can agree on is this: we have no idea. 

I have talked and written a lot about what we are not doing well. But today, I will study some of the plays where King is just being the D’Eriq that we all know and love.

D’Eriq King is a special player that can do pretty much everything you’d want your QB to do with a football.  His greatness doesn’t come from him being just a great passer, or a great runner, or a guy who can make some things happen when a play breaks down.  He has all the skills. And they were evident early on against Washington State. Here’s some film study quick hitters:

King Makes The Perfect Read

This is a simple option in the second quarter – the strongside defensive end crashes down on Porter and King reads it perfectly. He pulls it out and goes.

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Nothing special, right?  Well, this why King is such a dangerous runner at QB. He sees the end’s first step to the inside and knows there’s plenty of room to run towards the space just vacated. He can run through arm tackles, he can juke you out of your shoes, and he has that sweet Madden spin move queued up and ready to deploy at any time.

Justin Murphy excavated the NT beautifully which gave the QB a big clearing to run through.

Sees The Entire Field

On the surface, this just is just a dump off to the TE but in reality, this is King quickly scanning the entire field and checking down to his 3rd and perhaps 4th option in order to get the first down. 

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Before the snap King sees the weakside corner (#2) creep up to show tight man coverage.  But the CB ends up coming on a blitz as TE Christian Trahan slides out into the open space. King knows Trahan will be there as a last resort.

Quarterbacks in this offense are taught to read deep to shallow, always looking for deepest throw possible. But the outside man’s route is too slow developing with the blitz from the right. Meanwhile, the LBs drop deep with safety help to shut down the slot.

With the CB coming, the free safety (#26) steps up to take away the slant. King checks all the way down to Trahan and calmly steps up and delivers on time, and on target, to the TE.

With pressure in his face, King has the discipline to read the defense all the way to the natural conclusion.

Supersonic Arm

This is my favorite play of the game.  One, it is a TD. Who doesn’t love those? 

Two, King opens the field with his eyes to create a lane to throw it through.  Watch both the linebacker and the safety react to King’s eyes.  He moves them both 6+ yards to his left giving Marquez Stevenson space and a perfect throwing lane.  King doesn’t get distracted by the traffic around Stevenson and focuses on pitch and catch.

And finally the throw.  Yes, the velocity is great – King threw a dead accurate laser.  But what made the throw so strong and so accurate is his perfect footwork.

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King’s feet were great with a strong base and he was ready to throw on time. It was probably his fastest release of the day – it was insanely fast.  His release time on this throw was 0.43 seconds.  To put that in perspective, Dan Marino had the quickest release in NFL history and his average was about 0.31.

King Is Back

This play had me excited enough that I fired off a text “King is back!”.  Washington State drops 7 into coverage and we only have 2 receivers downfield and 1 in the flat.  King finally looks comfortable in the pocket and stayed patient waiting for his receivers to get open. 

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He check left and sees nothing there, checks right but Bryson Smith looked covered.  Instead of taking off and running, King moves to the right allowing Smith to get himself open. Big credit to Bryson for continuing to work to the ball and finding an open spot in the zone. 

King delivers the ball right in the numbers on the run.

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