September 25, 2007

The Zoom Lens: Quarterback

Each week subscribers will choose the focus of The Zoom Lens, a weekly post-game analysis of a specific position. BOL staff reviews a tape of each game with a play-by-play eye on the position chosen by members. This week's poll results after Alabama's 26-23 overtime loss to Georgia:

Quarterback66.8 percent
Defensive ends26.3 percent
Tight ends5.3 percent
Center1.6 percent

The subject: John Parker Wilson

Statistics: 17 of 35, 185 yards, no touchdowns, no interceptions (two rushing TDs).
Observations: Wilson's performance clearly wasn't as sharp as it was the previous week against Arkansas, but a closer look reveals at least a few incompletions that can't be blamed on the quarterback. How much did pressure from Georgia's pass rush have to do with Wilson's problems Saturday night? BOL counted only three incompletions that could be directly attributed to pressure, though one of them came at a critical time. On a potential touchdown, with blitzing Georgia LB Darius Dewberry in his face, Wilson overthrew DJ Hall in the endzone on Alabama's last offensive play of the first half before settling for a field goal. ... Two other incompletions were smart throwaways by Wilson when the Bulldogs had the field covered, one on a key fourth-and-1 try in the first half on which Nick Walker fell down, leaving nobody for Wilson to throw to. ... There was only one receiver drop, by Keith Brown. ... Wilson completed three crossing routes - all to Mike McCoy - including an 11-yarder for Alabama's only third-down conversion of the first half. ... His best throw of the night came on a deep route over the middle to Brown, who hung on despite a violent collision with UGA safety Kelin Johnson. ... Wilson's worst-looking throw may have been his first overtime pass. He threw off his back foot despite having time to throw, and the ball sailed out of bounds on a sideline route by Matt Caddell. Unless Caddell ran the route poorly, that one lies squarely on Wilson.
Overview: The biggest difference between Wilson's Vanderbilt performance and the Georgia game was that the running game was far more successful in Nashville than it was Saturday against the Bulldogs. There, the running game allowed Wilson's struggles to be a secondary factor in the game. Against Georgia, with the running game solid but not dominant and Georgia leading throughout, the game was much more on Wilson's shoulders. Alabama's junior quarterback simply missed too many receivers Saturday, and there wasn't much of a common thread. Some overthrown, some underthrown, some with pressure, some without. Credit Wilson for not committing any turnovers despite his inaccuracies. A Georgia interception could have put the game away with no overtime.

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