Not sure where I got the idea to do this, but boredom in a hotel in Lafayette Louisiana makes for some strange notions, I suppose. Anyhoo: a lot has been made about JP's "efficiency" and "game management" (or lack thereof, depending on which side of the fence you're on), and since he had so few pass attempts in the Arkansas game, I thought I'd break down each attempt from the replay of the game. You'll notice that I included every pass attempt, even the ones nullified by penalty or sacks...that's why this doesn't exactly jive with the official stats.
As far as conclusions to be drawn, I'm still scratching my head. Some of the good things I'll point to are the two throw-aways (three, if you count the one on a penalty play), the two 25+ yard completions, and the lack of interceptions. The bad can include the two poorly thrown balls in the first quarter (although I think only one could be called a "bad" decision), and no one knows for sure whether the throw-aways are a result of hesitancy on the part of JP, or poor route-running by the recievers.
At times like these I'm inclined to quote our fearless leader: "it is what it is". We probably don't have a playmaker at quarterback with regards to the passing game. Essentially, if he gets protection, has time to set his feet, and the reciever runs a good route, we'll be okay. If one or more of those things don't happen, we'll be at the mercy of fate. My only true criticism would be that I'd like to see him make a few more plays with his legs: I think he's a good enough athlete to pick up positive yards if a pass play breaks down.
So, look at the breakdown and draw your own conclusions. The closest thing I've made to a conclusion is this: if JP wants to do a Jay Barker impression the rest of the year, I'll take that anytime...especially if the alternative is the JP we had last year.
Attempt #1- 1st and 10 from the ALA 46. 5 yard completion to Nick Walker in the left flat.
Attempt #2- 3rd and 4 from the ARK 47. Incomplete pass to Maze around 7 yards beyond the line of scrimmage. Looked like Maze was trying to find the hole in the zone: he broke one way and JP threw the other, resulting in a tip by the linebacker. Probably ill-advised due to the traffic in the area, but it definitely looked like Maze was his check-down receiver.
Attempt #3- 1st and 10 from the ARK 44 (after the running into the punter penalty). JP is hit as he throws, attempting a pass to Maze at around the ARK 4 yard line. Pass is overthrown and incomplete.
Attempt #4- 1st and 10 from the ARK 32, 26 yard completion to Earl Alexander to the ARK 6. Very well thrown ball, in front of the receiver (who had a defender right behind him) where he didn't have to break stride.
Attempt #5- The score is 14-0 Bama and it's 1st and 10 at midfield. Play action pass, JP loads up and throws to Julio down around the ARK 17. It was man coverage and Julio had a step on the defender, but the ball was slightly underthrown and the CB was able to get a hand on it....nearly intercepted by the safety on the tip. Overall not a bad read by JP since it's hard to pass up man coverage on Julio, just not executed due to the underthrow.
Attempt #6- 3rd and 6, two plays after attempt #5. JP is in the shotgun, has a bit of time before being flushed toward the Alabama sideline....throws the ball out of bounds to avoid the sack.
1st Quarter stats: 2 for 6, 31 yards. One throw-away, one PBU
Attempt #7- 2nd and 10 from the ARK 25. Shotgun formation: soon after the snap JP is pressured from his right, causing him to scramble left and throw the ball out of bounds to avoid the sack.
Attempt #8- 3rd and 10 from the ARK 25 (play immediately following the previous one). JP is in the shotgun and gets good protection. Sets his feet and throws a strike to Julio at the ARK 10...Julio never has to break stride and his momentum carries him into the end zone.
1st Half stats: 3 for 8, 56 yards and a TD. Two throw-aways, one PBU
Attempt #9- 2nd and 9 from the ALA 20. JP is in the shotgun, and throws a strike to Earl Alexander on an out-route at the ALA 31. Nice zip on the ball, and it hits EA in stride with his momentum carrying him out of bounds.
Attempt #10- 1st and 10 from the ALA 31, immediately following the previous play. JP in the shotgun, gets pressure from the center and left sides of the line, primarily as a result of Terry Grant being a little overmatched in pass protection. Result is a 10 yard sack.
Attempt #11- 3rd and 18 from the ALA 24, JP in the shotgun. Screen play to Grant which was read beautifully by an Arkansas defender, who stops Grant for a 5 yard loss. Mike Johnson "missed" the block, but it would have been an incredible effort on his part with the amount of steam the defender was coming with.
Attempt #12- 1st and 10 from the ALA 15, JP is under center and performs play action. He's able to get the ball away, just before getting creamed by an Arkansas DT. Pass falls incomplete downfield.
Attempt #13- 3rd and 5 from the ALA 20, JP is in the shotgun. Gets plenty of time and completes a pass to Nick Walker who had worked his way part the marker for 7 yards and a first down. BUT, Antoine Caldwell is flagged for a phantom holding penalty, nullifying the play.
Attempt #14- 3rd and 15 from the ALA 10, JP works from the shotgun. He's flushed toward the end zone and throws the ball away before drawing a late-hit penalty out of bounds. As a bonus, he then takes time out of his busy schedule to help the overly-talkative Arkansas defender to appreciate the lovely new scoreboard at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
Attempt #15- 3rd and 15 from the ALA 10 (again), JP works from the shotgun. Screen pass to Terry Grant goes for 7 yards.
Attempt #16- 2nd down and 8 from the ALA 36. JP works from the shotgun, and throws a pass to Nikita Stover around the ARK 40. It was an out route toward the right sideline, and Nikita slipped down on his cut. Probably not the greatest of throws, because the receiver was working back to the ball when he slipped, but certainly not an awful one. Incomplete pass.
Attempt #17- 3rd down and 8, JP works from the shotgun. This was probably JP's most "playmaker" throw: Arkansas brings the blitz, and JP is forced to slide up and around in the pocket. He throws across his body to Nikita Stover, who is running parallel to the line of scrimmage. The ball hits Nikita perfectly, but he drops it. Incomplete pass.
Final (official) stats: 6 of 14 for 74 yards and a touchdown. Two throw-aways, one drop, one sack.