Well, things didn’t go according to plan for the Miners. That notwithstanding, we went ahead and charted Kai Locksley’s evening at Sam Boyd Stadium.
Here are the particulars:
Locksley passed nineteen times on the evening in 22 total dropbacks. He completed six of his attempts for 57 yards. The Rebels sacked Locksley twice, and UTEP receivers dropped three balls. Locksley’s passing numbers don’t do him justice. He carries the majority of the Miner offense. UTEP ran 51 plays with Locksley at quarterback and either threw or carried the ball on 39 of those snaps. He ran a lot of zone read, designed quarterback run and ran for his life a fair amount.
He ended up rushing for 119 yards and two scores. If UTEP is going to win, it’s clear their going to ride Kai Locksley to do it. He also probably needs a few aspirins and a couple of days off heading into Tennessee.
A few observations:
UNLV blitzed him on just under half of his snaps (9).
He threw from the shotgun on each of his drops.
UTEP ran 11 personnel (one back, one tight end) on seventeen of his 22 passing attempts.
Miner receivers had three drops, including a touchdown dropped on a pop pass in the first quarter.
One of the two sacks we’d characterize as a coverage sack. The other came on a zero blitz.
We’d characterize two of his incompletions as intentional throwaways.
He missed open receivers on three occasions.
Locksley targeted tight end David Lucero on four occasions and receivers Terry Juniel, Kavika Johnson, and Warren Redix three times each.
Ryan Metz came in for a few series and on a couple of occasions where Locksley’s helmet came off during action and he had to leave the game for a play by rule.
Metz finished 5-10 for 66 yards and threw his second pick of the season.
Some subjective thoughts:
Locksley’s mechanics aren’t great. He uses a lot of upper body in his throws. Yes, that seems entirely appropriate, he is throwing after all, but what we’re seeing is he loses his lower half on throws. Rather than setting, driving off his back leg and into his motion, his feet don’t set and his front shoulder can fly out causing the ball to sail on him and lose velocity. At times he leaves the ground with both feet.
That’s the case in the first of these two throw on film. Warren Redix is open on a post route; the throw requires Locksley to fit the ball into a window between the corner and the safety. He loses his feet and the ball sails. The second cut shows Locksley, with better feet, throwing a corner route to David Lucero accurately and better velocity.
Locksley didn’t throw an interceptions, but the ball hit the ground twice on Locksley’s runs. Reddix recovered one fumble, the other ball bounced back into Locksley’s arms.
Mike Canales rolled or ran bootlegs to get Locksley out of the pocket, and we like that approach. Locksley is dangerous with his legs and giving him a run/pass option puts defenders in a bind. If I were defending against him, I’d try to speed up his clock with an extra rusher, maybe send a delay or dog blitz at him, but the key is to maintain rush lanes to keep in the pocket. Force him to reset with pressure but don’t let him escape. If he gets loose, he can make big plays.
Look for Locksley to continue to carry a lot of the load on Saturday in Knoxville.