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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)

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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.]