Spray chart: Tune dominates the middle


Tune connected with 11 receivers in the BYU game. Photos in the illustration by Mario Puente (click to enlarge)

Clayton Tune showed his continuing maturity as a quarterback in the game with BYU. Tune put on a clinic early in the game, going 15/16 to start before he clocked it twice at the end of the opening half. Of those 15 completions, 12 went for a first down or TD.

Tune also kept throwing the ball down the field with 13 of his 21 completions traveling 10 yards or more in the air. He was patient and scanned the field looking for the best option. He wheeled it to 11 receivers, the most UH players with a catch in a game since Rice 2017.

It was Tune’s career-high in receivers hit, breaking the mark he set a week ago. Prior to 2020, his highest number in a game was Army in 2018 when he hooked up with eight receivers.

For the spray chart, we track how far the ball is thrown in the air not the total distance of the play.

Clayton Tune’s spray cart vs. BYU (click for better view)

The BYU game was the first time where the plan was for Tune to establish the middle of the field early. Typically, Tune has been sideline-heavy. But reading the BYU zone perfectly, Tune was able to carve up the space between the numbers.

On the first play of the game, Clayton fired at Marquez Stevenson across the middle for 19 yards. Strangely, it was Stevenson’s only catch of the game (3 targets). Stevenson is second on the team in targets (10) behind Keith Corbin (12).

Tune found Christian Trahan several times down the seam for big chunks of yards and a TD. The spray chart shows a sweet spot of 10-20 yard throws between the numbers for Clayton. For me, it naturally draws comparisons to how D’Eriq King could not make those throws.

Tune vs. King: middle of the field

Tune was 11/15 in that 10-20 yard space between the numbers. To compare, in 4 games last year D’Eriq King was just 6/15 on those throws.

This spray chart shows several other differences between the two QBs. The left side of the field was non-existent for King in 2019 as he hit just 1 of 19 passes thrown 10+ yards and to the left side (the one completion was virtually in the middle of the field). Tune was 8/9 in just this one game in that space.

King was just 10/45 on throws beyond 10 yards (22%) and was worse on throws outside the numbers (3/27 – 11%). His ‘best’ long-distance throw was inside the numbers where he was 7/18 (39%).

D'Eriq King Spray Chart
D’Eriq King 2019 Spray Chart (click for better view)

Clayton Tune was 12/16 (75%) on 10+ yard throws between the numbers and 6/6 between the left numbers and the left hash. That is, frankly, insane. Tune brings an accuracy on mid-range balls that has been absent from this offense for a long time. Defenses will have to account for this for the first time since Case Keenum was making those throws. That will open up space to the outside and in the running game.

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