After the Arizona game, I started thinking about how D’Eriq King doesn’t see the deep-middle of the field (20+ yards) when he’s in the pocket. It’s not too surprising – quarterbacks with just a handful of starts at this level often have that issue.
So I decided to investigate. I went back and watched every snap of the first two games. After the Tech game, I watched those, too. Now, I’ve charted all 109 attempts by D’Eriq King. The data is pretty interesting.
A few notes about what you’re going to see:
1. Every throw is charted from the line of scrimmage to where the ball was or was intended to be caught. Not total length of play.
2. All passes thrown to the LOS or behind it are documented on the goal line.
3. The image used as a field is an NFL field – in college the hash marks are much wider (40 feet vs 18.5 feet). Despite that difference, if a ball was caught between the hashes I charted it as such.
For convenience, here are all 5 charts together in a gallery. Click below to view.
King only threw 24 times against Rice. He missed on 5 and two more were dropped. King hit 50% of deep balls in the Rice game – he was 3 of 6 – his best performance of the first 1/4 of the season.
He was very comfortable inside of 10 yards – he hit his target 13 of 14 times (hit target = completions + drops). He wasn’t as successful against Arizona and Tech on these throws – the two P5 schools pressed him at the line of scrimmage more.
UH was very conservative early in this game and really didn’t run the “Briles offense” as we’ve come to know it.
King didn’t attempt many passes over the middle and didn’t complete any deep to his left. You’ll see a pattern develop from the left hash out to the numbers from 20+. To date, UH hasn’t run many routes deep to his backside.
King went from 24 attempts to 34 against Arizona but his completion percentage dropped sharply (71 to 50%). Watching the game live, I thought he took a lot of shots downfield. The data suggests that he was more vertical but not successfully. His 20+ yard throws increased from 6 to 9 but he didn’t complete any passes over 25 yards.
King made an improvement in two areas vs. Arizona: first, in the 10-20 yard range. Against Rice, King threw between 10 and 20 just four times. In the Arizona game, he threw that distance 11 times – completing 7 (and with a drop).
Most importantly, he used the middle much more effectively. He hit 8 of 10 targets in the middle-third of the field.
King was again pretty good against Tech on short distances up the middle. He was really good in the middle third of the field – hitting 15 of 18 targets. I love a QB that can see and hit receivers across the middle.
But Tech pressed on the corners and had some success on the right 1/3 of the field. Tech DBs did a great job pinning our receivers to the outside. 2/3 of King’s misses to the right-third of the field occurred against Tech.
Once again, he was strong on underneath throws on the left. He didn’t throw as many short left but hit every target on that side under 15 yards.
Tech crowded the line defensively and caused more misses inside of 10 yards than the first two games combined. Tech put a lot of pressure on King, hurrying him on 6 plays and recording a sack. They dared him to use the middle of the field but he couldn’t connect on a deep ball or two to keep them more honest.
A few notes about the three-game spray chart:
King has hit 17 of 18 targets (15 catches, 2 drops) under 15 yards to the left side. But from any further and he’s just 1/6 to that side.
Yes, he does have blinders towards a large part of the field – over the middle and both flats. Defensive coordinators will scheme towards this until King can prove he can connect over the middle from 20+.
King is just 5 of 20 over 20 yards (25%) but that inches up when looking at targets hit (7 of 20).
Since the Rice game, he’s been very good over the middle inside of 20 yards.
It should be noted that King’s drop rate is 9.2% currently. Most QBs expect a drop rate of 5-7%.
cover photo by Mario Puente