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Evaluating the Mechanics of Big Ten Quarterbacks - Ricky Stanzi


Warning: This evaluation will not be able to explain the inexplicable interceptions thrown by Ricky Stanzi. A quick look at his pocket presence will give some clue as to the constant stream of gift touchdowns for the opposition. We will also pay close attention to Ricky's excellent release point, his weak forward step, and his improving rollout form.

Big Ten Report Card:

1. Kirk Cousins (A-)

2. Scott Tolzien (B+)

3. Tate Forcier (C-)

Snap (A-):

  • Security/Ball Placement (A-): I love the way he holds the ball high up and keeps it close to his body when scrambling.
  • Retreat Speed (B): Take a look at Kirk Cousins for the best retreat steps; I love the measured but violent steps. Stanzi has a different philosophy, taking big, soft steps into the pocket. Either a) he's slow or b) he's in control and biding his time.
  • Footwork (A-): This sort of merges into "survey" and "stance" because one of the best things Ricky does is stand tall in the pocket without panicking. As Jon mentioned last year, Ricky does a little bounce to get himself into rhythm. Since I don't think it really throws him off, I don't really see a problem.
  • The Fake (A): Improved fake from 2008. Play actions convincingly, pump fakes decently.
  • Adaptation (B+): One  of my first brushes with BHGP was when I had to ask Hawkeye State why exactly Ricky Stanzi was rolled out to the wrong side of the field. I'm not sure what he said, but all I remember is that the damn play worked anyway. No one's going to claim Stanzi is quick, but he shredded Georgia Tech with rollout passes. I think Rick likes rolling out because it lessens his reads and allows him to turn that big body for accurate throws.

Release (B+):

  • Survey (C-): I think this is where Ricky loses his lunch and makes those horrible pick 6's. Against Michigan, he looked at the right side, threw the ball to a spot, and lived with the consequences (Donovan Warren dancing in the endzone). Stance wise, Ricky looks great in the pocket, but he just fires away to spots without worrying if his receiver is blanketed. The Indiana game, here, is a good example of that outstanding weakness.
  • Stance (A): Physically he looks great in the pocket. He also lacks the happy feet that plague Forcier.
  • Step (B-): People with strong arms like Kirk Cousins don't need to take a big step. Ricky Stanzi doesn't take a big step at all, but I'm conflicted as to whether he really needs to. He isn't asked to make 50 yard throws that much. Plus, all the throws he can make don't usually require a big step.
  • Wrist/Throw (A+): High, perfect delivery. Not too much motion, perfect follow through. Not a monster arm, but can make all the throws.

How the Offense Affects Mechanics (B+):

  • Ricky isn't asked to make throws he can't (think Weber in Mini). He completes screen passes well, throws a beautiful slant (see the MSU game), and threw a couple nice out routes against GT. Those are all throws he can make successfully. What about all those picks? I guess KOK needs to call less medium yardage routes which require Rick to throw into coverage.

Overall: B+

[Editors Note: I looked here, here, here, and here]