Arizona State quarterback Brock Osweiler is tall. You might have heard this.
But you probably haven't heard -- or read -- a breakdown of how his height fits in with what Sun Devils offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone wants from his spread passing attack.
ESPN.com's Brock Huard takes a gander at exactly that in his weekly column:
... [Osweiler] and Mazzone have developed together to not only overcome some of the challenges created by Osweiler's size but also exploit the advantages that come from it, turning him into one of the most unique offensive weapons in all of college football.
This is important because Huard, a former Washington quarterback believes Osweiler "has a decent chance to do Saturday night what no quarterback has been able to in more than three seasons: beat the Oregon Ducks in Eugene."
For one, Osweiler isn't just tall. He's athletic and physical. That taxes a defense trying to bring him down. And height provides specific advantages in the passing game:
... his height allows him the vision to see everything a defense is throwing his way -- before and after the snap. Whereas most quarterbacks will have at least one time this season when they get on the phone with their offensive coordinator after an interception and say, "Sorry, Coach, I just couldn't see the safety tipping his hand to the blitz pre-snap," Osweiler doesn't have that challenge. With his height, he can scan and see over all his linemen, dissecting the tendencies of not just the front seven but also the members of the defensive secondary.
But height also has disadvantages -- a long, slow release. But not with Osweiler.
This is where Dennis Erickson and Mazzone, along with Osweiler, deserve a lot of credit. Osweiler has a shortened pass release; in essence, he is a 6-8 passer with a 6-3 release. The throwing motion is compact and much quicker than one would expect from a long-levered thrower. "He's spent a lot of time changing his throwing motion," Erickson said in a Sports Illustrated article in August. "He's getting the ball out of his hand a lot better than he did. He's much more accurate now."
Some good stuff from Huard.