Small sample sizes suck. With the debate over Drew Lock’s potential to jump to the top of the depth chart heating up, it would be nice to have a bit more than 1-2 drives each game to evaluate him. That said, even in the limited film from him in the latest game, there’s plenty to see from the freshman.
First Down, 28 yard pass to Wes Leftwich
After scrambling for a first down on his first play from scrimmage (with really nice movement in the pocket), Henson decides to test his young quarterback by letting him throw it deep, and he finds Wesley Leftwich on a crossing route. Leftwich, whose speed gives him an advantage on crossing routes, is able to make a nice run after the catch thanks to an accurate throw by Lock.
First Down, screen to Emanuel Hall
The next play was one of an ever-increasing number of run-screen packaged plays Mizzou has run. Lock sees an advantage outside and throws the screen quickly, but the Kentucky linebacker read the play well and wasn’t fooled by the run action from the offensive line. Handing the ball off may have been prudent here, but with the way the run game has been this year, it’s no sure thing.
Second and 11, opposite sideline to Nate Brown
Another play action fake for Lock, and he seems to sell it well. The play takes a long time to get open, but even with pressure in his face he stands tall and delivers a big pass. With time, and a year or two in Pat Ivey’s strength program, he’ll be able to put more zip behind that long throw so Brown can catch it without having to work the sideline.
First Down, under-thrown to Emanuel Hall (Missed Touchdown)
How about one more play action? One major difference I see between Lock and Mauk is that Drew’s first step against a pass rush is forward in the pocket, while Maty usually looks to god backwards or around the defender. By stepping up, Lock can keep his eyes downfield better and he sees Emanuel Hall breaking open. If Lock sees Hall a bit earlier, or is able to put a bit more strength behind the throw, it’s most likely a touchdown. Again, these are things that in time should be fixed as Lock builds muscle and has more time getting used to the speed of college football.
Third Down, Drew Lock sacked
Pressure up the middle is arguably the most difficult thing for a quarterback to deal with. As long as the edge rushers keep reasonable contain, it becomes quite tough to escape the pocket against interior pressure. With both short routes covered up (the slot WR looks open early, but the linebacker was in good position off screen) Lock has very little chance to do anything. That said, taking a sack kills a chance at scoring on that drive, so Lock needs to quickly pick a receiver near either sideline, and sail the ball over his head. An incomplete pass on that play probably leads to a field goal, and the offense needs every point it can get right now.
We certainly see Lock miss on a few chances to put some points on the board, but when he’s in a rhythm he certainly looks like a gifted passer. But it’s hard to make any real conclusions with how little we’ve seen, and I’d love to see Lock getting at least consecutive drives. Let’s see how he shakes off a tough end to the previous drive, which is very important for quarterbacks.