During another mess of a season produced by Teen Wulff and company in Pullman, Jeff Tuel ended up producing these numbers.
- 231.7 yards per game (4th in the Pac-10)
- 7.6 pass yards per attempt (3rd in the Pac-10)
- 133.32 passer rating (6th in the Pac-10)
- 59.8 completion percentage (6th in the Pac-10)
It's unclear how many Heisman Trophys Tuel deserved for a season of this caliber. At the least he deserved an invitation to New York City, or at least ring the bell up on Wall Street.
I really enjoy watching Jeff Tuel. I guess you could say the same about most players in the Pac-12 who are good. But it's something real special with Tuel. Those numbers came on a 2-10 football team. Most quarterbacks would take out their rage on their pen while signing transfer papers. Jeff Tuel took what didn't look anything like rage and put up better stats across the board than Jake Locker.
And in a year when everyone is looking at Barkley, Foles and Thomas to take that second position right behind Luck, Tuel could probably be the one to surpass them all.
After the jump, I base my observations off of ten minutes of video. Nothing can possibly go wrong from this.
0:20: It's not just that Tuel steps up into the pocket and finds his receiver on the deep route, he guns that one out 45+ yards and it lands squarely into the grasp of his receivers. And look at Tuel when he releases--it's like he powered all his momentum into the football and got blown back from the snap release. Mechanics can be worked on, but arm strength was gifted to this kid.
0:47: This is a good use of Tuel's high arcing throws, as he draws defenders in on what looks like a speed option play out of shotgun to the outside. When Tuel begins to feint as if to run, he stops, draws back and lifts it over the safeties drawn in by the run play to find Marquess Wilson in stride again for six points. Good playcall that takes advantage of Tuel's strengths.
1:18: Tuel displays good instinct of when to take off and run (lots of defenders back in coverage and decent change of direction to fool defenders on the scramble. Wish he wouldn't go down head first though.
1:44: Nice arm.
2:08: Tough body.
2:24: This isn't exactly a pretty fade (it rotates slow in the air and could be easily defended or picked if thrown short), but it's far and outside so that the USC corner can't make a play on the ball and only the receiver can get to it. Nice placement by Tuel on this throw.
2:47: When the pocket breaks down, Tuel gets moving and gets going. He has pretty good awareness too, getting out of bounds and picking up the first with no timeouts left in a two minute situation (yes they're down by 17, but still).
3:03: He can run the zone read too! Nice tough pickup of six yards to set up a third and short.
3:13: USC goes four wide receiver set trips left, with the far left outside receiver cutting in on a post, the slot left running a vertical stop and slight in. The slot freezes the corner and keeps him from reacting to the route of the receiver behind him, and Tuel delivers it right ahead of him for an easy touchdown.
3:33: Pocket breaks down when the right tackle can't cut block his defender. Tuel has to take off for the first and does a good job getting low and avoiding contact with onrushing defenders.
3:58: Tuel sees that the man that would be guarding the slot receiver is playing zone coverage, so he waits for the receiver to slip by him and then fires it right in between to get the touchdown. Very confident strong throw and a quick decisive decision by Tuel.
4:17: Tuel gets a low snap from the center, faces an ongoing rush from a blown block by the right tackle, steps up in a collapsing pocket, and fires a missile (a slow missile, but definitely long) to Wilson. It's like Tuel is playing in All-Madden mode on half these plays.
4:47: There's that fade again. Tough for a defense to guard against when it's that high and that far away.
4:57: On 3rd and 13, Tuel launches toward Wilson running a post, and even with two UCLA defenders on the play (safety with over the top help coming over), Tuel lofts it high enough so that the WR can adjust and make the grab on the fly.
5:07: Tuel deals with another low snap from the center, yet still adjusts and makes the perfect pass for the touchdown. It's amazing how effective Tuel can be with such a slow release, but he gets a good enough arc on the throw and is able to loft it over the linebacker to find Wilson.
5:45: Race for your life! Good ball carriage by Tuel to keep that ball secure toward the body instead of letting it hang out.
6:23: I wonder how much runs from shotgun we'll see if the WSU offensive line is improved. If it's not, we'll probably see a little more, because Tuel is pretty good at running the ball for decent yardage (no Darron Thomas, but still). Tuel does a good job selling the fake before veering to the outside.
6:46: There's Tuel taking the hit and finding C.J. Mizell on the corner route! Tuel is looking left at his trips receivers all the way, but it's unclear who he's looking at and who he'll throw to. Nice bit of playcalling, but Tuel deserves a lot of it for getting that ball out under duress.
7:06: OH LOOK AT THAT. That's a throw NFL quarterbacks struggle to make--the seam route is an art form, and Tuel drops that one right into his receiver's hands. It has to be perfectly placed too since the receiver will turn for the ball, meaning the defender will be ready to get on it.
I love that throw. So freaking much.
There's more, but you get the point. Jeff Tuel is one tough customer, but he's been able to not only adapt but thrive for a Washington State team that has lots of trouble spots. Tuel isn't perfect (that slow release is going to get picked, and he has a bit of a hitch on his release that could cause him problems), but there's a lot to like with his decision-making, arm strength and ball placement.
I guess you can call me a tool for Tuel.