Player Spotlight: Shane Buechele - NinosCorner Sports | Efficient Sports Analytics...Successful, Relevant Data

Monday, October 2, 2017

Player Spotlight: Shane Buechele

Player Spotlight:  Shane Buechele
by: B.R. Battle
Photo: Charlie Neibergall /Associated Press

Shane Buechele led Texas to a 17-7 win over the Iowa State Cyclones this past Thursday.  There were some positives within his play during this game...and there were also some negative actions that showed up within the analysis of his overall game. 

First off, let's start with the positives.  Buechele played with as much heart as I have ever seen him play during his time on the 40.  When he tucked the ball to run, he ran with passion and grit.  He dove for first downs and took on contact to get the extra yardage needed for his team.  Shane's moxie seemed to suggest that he knows there is a quarterback competition and he is not going to go down without a fight.  Buechele's performance showed that he wants to keep his job, no matter the sacrifices needed to perform well.  As stated earlier, he had a gutsy performance.  My hat goes off to the kid for the intensity he showed.

Another positive for Buechele was his semi-affectivness in the running game.  He had 13 rushes for 42 yards, totaling 3 less caries and compiling only 2 less yards than the team's leading rusher, Chris Warren III.  In addition, Shane had the longest run of the night for the Longhorns; a 13 yard scamper in the second quarter that led to a Texas touchdown 4 plays later.  At this point in the game, I felt like Texas would widen the gap in the score and take off with the game.  Ironically, that was the last touchdown Texas would score in Ames.     

For the record, as the starting quarterback, Shane did lead this team to their 2nd win of the season; however, the 
defense had to continually bail out this offense for this win to occur.  Looking at the analysis, Shane had an effect 
on exactly half of the offensive plays of the game.  He either dropped back to pass the ball, or ran with the ball 
39 of the 78 offensive possessions the Longhorns had.  28 of those 39 possessions were pass plays...the one thing your quarterback should be comfortable with and at least be average at.  This was not the case with Buechele on Thursday night.  He accounted for 9 successful passing plays of the 28 times he dropped back to pass, posting a 32% passing success rating (SR).  His individual overall success rating, including rushing, was 36%, which is 4% lower than the NCAA average.  On Buechele's passing plays, he posted a 44% SR on 1st down, 25% SR on 2nd down, and a 27% SR on 3rd down.  The below average percentages on 2nd and 3rd down are what caused or led to inefficient drives, resulting in 7 punts from the Texas special teams unit and numerous stalled drives.  In order for the Longhorns to win against better competition, the offense, especially the quarterback play, needs to get significantly better. For Buechele to have a better game, he needs to get the ball into the hands of his playmakers, more specifically, Collin Johnson.  The 6'6" receiver only had 2 catches for 27 yards.  During the game, I can't recall hearing his name at all.  This is completely unacceptable for the Texas offense.  The QB has to do a better job of getting Johnson the ball, whether it be on simple routes or 50/50 jump balls.  He is too dynamic of a pass catcher to not have the football in his hands.  
For a quarterback to be efficient, the offensive line has to give him protection.  The O-line had its struggles this past week; however, when Iowa St continually dropped 8 men into coverage and only rushed 3 linemen, Buechele had a ton of time to throw the ball.  He just did not capitalize on the opportunities he had.  During that period of the game, the quarterback has to make the defense remain "honest" in pass and run protection situations.  If the defense drops 8 back to take away the passing lanes, then the QB needs to keep them honest by possibly rushing the ball.  If the defense stacks the box in an attempt to stop the run, then the QB needs to get rid of the football quick to one of his wide receivers or tight ends.  Having to account for a QB who is not afraid to take what the defense gives him is monumental to the success of the team. For as gutsy as Shane was this last game, it felt as though he was a tad timid overall.  The Longhorns cannot have this as the healthier part of their in-conference games come up.  

Going forward, the Texas offense needs to be crisp and efficient.  That mindset all starts from the QB position.  If Shane remains the starter of this team, he needs to be able to assess what the defense is allowing him to do and 
take full advantage of it.  If teams, going forward, mirror what Iowa St did against Texas, then Shane needs to take full advantage of what's in front of him. If he doesn't, a headset and clipboard may be awaiting him.  

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