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Evaluating the Mechanics of Big Ten Quarterbacks - Ben Chappell

Earlier this week, I outlined a profile to evaluate the form of conference signal callers.  Tonight, we'll grade the first player.


Ben Chappell (Indiana)


Although Indiana's Junior quarterback saw action in eleven games last season, the dismissal of the record-breaking Kellen Lewis puts the load squarely on his shoulders.  Here's what we've seen so far...

Snap (B+):

  • Security/Ball Placement (B+): Although Chappell keeps the football low (even with his bicep) on the retreat he firmly protects it with his non-throwing hand, keeping the fumble risk as low as possible.  
  • Retreat Speed (B-): Chappell is prone to pause directly after taking the snap.  Although this is presumably designed to survey the defense, it still wastes precious time on the drop. 
  • Footwork (B+): Although his gait is a little gummy, Chappell pivots cleanly and keeps a wide stance in the pocket.  Squares his shoulders on the long snap.  
  • The Fake (A-): On the handoff, Chappell stays low, keeping the position of the ball hidden from the defense for as long as possible.  
  • Adaptation (A-): Most of the plays I've seen on film are fairly scripted quick slants, so it's difficult to tell just want kind of flexibility Ben is capable of.  He does take a solid step forward after the drop, so he's got rush angle avoidance down.

Release (B):

  • Survey (B): It's difficult to grade Chappell's reads on the no-huddle plays.  That being said he does appear to keep his eyes planted down field.
  • Stance (B-): Ben doesn't seem to get a solid plant on his back foot, making him appear slightly off balance at the edge of the drop.
  • Step (C+): This is where Chappell really seems to struggle, his kick is awkward and miniature -- and appears to contribute little momentum to the ball.  It's almost like he attempts to step twice.
  • Wrist/Throw (A-): His motion is a little wide, but he puts excellent momentum on the ball, and maintains solid end to end balance on everything from quick outs to medium range passes.

Overall: B/B+

[Editor's Note: I used practice film from 2008 and 2009 as well as actual live game footage to complete this evaluation.]