UTSA fans probably want to forget Saturday night, but we'd like to revisit it briefly and take a look at Cordale Grundy's evening vs. the Sun Devils. First the particulars, UTSA lost 49-7, they actually trailed 49-0 until a late B.J. Daniels score got them on the board. Grundy played most of the game, save three or four series by D.J. Gillins.
Here's his final stat line.
We'll get to a little film later, but let's break down his evening with a few larger thoughts.
- Grundy and UTSA's play callers didn't get much help. The Sun Devils are a decent PAC 12 team, and they shut down the Roadrunner run game, holding UTSA to just two net yards.
- As a result, Arizona State pinned their ears back and let loose the dogs after Grundy and Gillins.
- Gillins' insertion in the second half seemed to destroy any offensive momentum UTSA had.
- Grundy impressed us in several areas. 1) His internal clock adjusts well to game situations. What we mean by this is, unlike a practice scenario or seven on seven where a quarterback understands that he's not getting pressured and his clock can slow down, a game situation and this game situation in particular called for Grundy to speed up. He seemed to understand that he didn't have time in the pocket because ASU controlled the line of scrimmage.
It's the old John Wooden maxim, be quick but don't hurry.
2) As a by-product, Grundy played under control, buying time when necessary and throwing the ball away when necessary. He threw accurately under duress and on designed movement.
3) He used a lot of the field including between the hash marks - a Bermuda triangle for a lot of college quarterbacks.
- UTSA has players at receiver. We were really impressed with Kirk Johnson. Tariq Woolen and Tykee Ogle-Kellogg are big, athletic targets. That said, neither tight end seemed up for the task, Gavin Sharp didn't adjust to the necessity for quicker routes and wasn't a viable option.
- The offensive line is a work in progress. They didn't get any push and, as we'll see, struggled to slow the Sun Devil rush and played on skates in the run game.
- Three of the Sun Devil sacks appeared to come on designed quarterback draws.
Here's Grundy's passing chart.
Let's go a little deeper.
Arizona State brought five or more on 22 of Grundy's 40 pass drops. Defensive coordinator Danny Gonzales loved a zone blitz and after the pick six on Grundy's first attempt, he went to it often.
Here's the first attempt...
The zone blitz takes advantage of a common blitz countermeasure, throwing into the pressure. The countermeasure relies on throwing into the area vacated by the blitzer, assuming his help won't get there fast enough. On a zone blitz, you show pressure, but instead of bringing a defensive tackle or end, they drop into the blitzer's zone. Here Grundy never saw him, and the big man gets himself a touchdown.
ASU's pressure game worked, Grundy completed just eight of those 22 attempts, took two sacks, threw a pick-six, and fumbled. I'd expect to see pressure in the next few weeks. Grundy also beat the blitz for two of his long gains on the day. Still, we'd say that's a net win for the Sun Devil defense.
Grundy had five intentional throw aways to avoid pressure, including a middle screen that never developed. He suffered two drops and three balls that he intended for receivers but missed. That last number is pretty good. He was around the plate all evening.
Here's an example of UTSA's line problems. The left tackle gets trucked leaving Grundy no recourse but to run at the highly talented Ohio State transfer defensive end.
That environment isn't conducive to winning football or survival.
Finally, let's end with a couple of nice throws by Grundy.
The first is a third and nine for UTSA in the second quarter, the game is still in question, and ASU dials up another zone blitz.
That's a big-time arm and a big-time throw all the way across the field and Woolen gets the first down.
Last clip, it's late in the contest, 49-0 Devils, and UTSA is facing a 4th and 10.
Grundy makes a tough throw downfield, rolling to his left and throwing across his body to Greg Campbell Jr.
Finally, it's easy to jump ship after week one especially when a P5 puts a whoopin' on you. 2018 was never going to be a cakewalk for Frank Wilson's program. We don't know how good Arizona State is, but they looked really good up front. What I can tell you is that UTSA's young skill talent is as advertised and Grundy, in spite of the score, acquitted himself well. This team can't compete in the PAC 12, but they will compete in CUSA.