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Evaluating the Mechanics of Big Ten Quarterbacks - Ricky Stanzi

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Our next profile looks at Iowa's golden boy -- straw spinner Ricky Stanzi.

Ricky Stanzi (Iowa)

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Everyone outside of Iowa City remembers Stanzi for last November's 171 yard upset performance against (then) No. 3 Penn State, and a similarly solid showing in an Outback bowl route of South Carolina.  How does his form stack up against the rest of the conference?

Snap (B+):

  • Security/Ball Placement (B): Stanzi carries the football close to his collarbone, and drops his non-throwing hand several seconds before his wind up and release.  This increases the risk of a blind side fumble.
  • Retreat Speed (A): Stanzi is light on his feet, moving back into position quickly after the snap.
  • Footwork (B+): Stanzi shuffles neatly into the pocket, but he bounces a bit after his drop -- motion that sometimes feels out of sync with his release.
  • The Fake (B-)Ricky could be more effective at selling the handoff.  He routinely pulls his head up prior to engaging the back, so it's easy to tell he's not getting rid of the football.  Additionally, he pump fakes sideways, rather than forward.
  • Adaptation (A): Stanzi is effective at releasing the football under pressure and improvizing roll-outs.  

Release (A):

  • Survey (A+): Even before the ball reaches his hands, Stanzi's head is cued up, keeping a continuous watch on coverages and developing routes.
  • Stance (B+): His plant is a little soft, but Stanzi stays nicely balanced.
  • Step (A-): Ricky takes a firm forward step, correctly planting his front foot into the pocket.  Follows through his release by kicking his back leg out -- although this makes him lean forward.  This makes it all the more important that Stanzi keeps the tip of ball up on long passes.
  • Wrist/Throw (A): Stanzi has a solid, circular throwing motion.  He keeps the point of release high, near his shoulder pads.  Flicks his wrist sharply, resulting in fast, accurate deliveries. 

Overall: A-

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

Big Ten Report Card:

  1. Ben Chappell (B/B+)
  2. Daryll Clark (B+)
  3. Tate Forcier (B-)
  4. Ricky Stanzi (A-)
  5. Terrelle Pryor (B+)