Thanks Clarence. Stuff for church kept me away... I'm tired of missing these games; I've gotta make it to the next home game vs. Sumter. Thanks again for the report.
Co_nelius Jones Review - Week Two (what a difference a week makes)
What a difference one week makes. It was hard to believe this was actually the same player, and the same Spartan High team for that matter. Class 4A Spartan High absolutely dominated traditionally strong Class 3A Union High in Union's home opener. The Vikings scored touchdowns on five of their nine possessions en route to a 35-0 trashing of the Yellow Jackets. The Vikings improved to 1-1 on the season and the Yellow Jackets fell to 0-2.
One problem with evaluating players on a week-by-week basis is that (1) they improve each week and (2) it's hard to gauge the quality of the competition, especially early on. Some took my review last week as "grim", but while his performance was really nothing short of awful, it was just one game. One game that it turns out was against a very high quality opponent. Just a point that I wanted to make mention of and that everyone needs to keep in mind in reading this. Until I have more of a body of evidence to work with these should be taken as an evolving body of evaluative work. Now onto the fun...
The start of this game induced several minutes of WTF is going on here? Jones did not start at QB. Instead, sophomore Adrian(?) Kinnock got the starting nod. Obvious first thoughts were that there was an injury or some type of trouble, but Jones was back in for the second possession and for the rest of the half. This repeated in the second half (i.e. Kinnock started, followed by Jones) so this should NOT be taken as an indication of any type of a problem for Jones. In hindsight I am certain that it had everything to do with the quality of the opponent and a desire by the coaching staff to get Kinnock some meaningful playing time with the first team. From an evaluative perspective it was actually quite helpful though as it gave a nice perspective of the two quarterbacks running the same offense against Union's first defense. It was a night and day difference between Jones and Kinnock in every single facet, all significantly in Jones' favor.
It really was a night and day difference between this week and last. Jones was almost completely flawless tonight in every facet of the game. He passed for a beautiful 50 yard TD pass on a lights out play fake on a 4th and 4 and ran for 3 short touchdowns (3 yards, 1 yard, and 3 yards). The fact that the touchdowns were short doesn't mean that they weren't impressive. One of the 3 yard touchdown runs was a beautiful play fake that left everyone in the stadium, including the Union defenders, having no idea who had the ball. The most stunning part of his game was his absolute mastery on play fakes on both play action passes and play fakes to set up boot legs or quarterback draws. He had at least two runs of 20+ yards. Overall he was utilized much more effectively this week and he, as well as the rest of his teammates, executed much better this week. My suspicion is that the Dorman High team they played last week will turn out to be far better than most people expected at the beginning of the season (and they were expected to be pretty good) and that contributed to the somewhat dower performance last week. If there was one thing that really stood out in my mind tonight it was without a doubt Jones' ability to absolutely baffle the defense and a good portion of the crowd on the play fakes. It really was a sight to behold. He's definitely not the fastest guy in the world, as I mentioned last week, but he certainly is fast and his speed showed through much more this week. While not exceptionally fast by any stretch, he is slippery to tackle and shows the ability to escape trouble with his athleticism and strength. On one play in particular he broke a sure sack by backpeddling out of it and proceeded to throw an absolute strike for a first down. His long passes were much more accurate this week and continued to exhibit good velocity. My suspicion is that this entire team played very tight last week and it showed all around. The real test on that front will be when Spartan High and Dorman High face off again in the final game of the regular season (it's weird, they play twice each year). Until then it will continue to be a week-by-week evaluation with little ability to evaluate the strength of the oppenent until more games are played. All in all this was a drastic improvement over last week for Jones (in case that wasn't already obvious), and I can certainly see now why he caught Michigan's interest. He continues to be a much better passer than I expected.
(1) Jones out / started at Union 40 / TD
(2) Jones in / started at own 42 / TD / pass: 1-1 (5 yds) / rush: 2 (4 yds), TD (3 yds)
(3) Jones in / started at own 30 / TD / pass: 3-3 (58 yds), TD (50 yds) / rush: 1 (19 yds) / sack: 1 (-8 yds)
(4) Jones in / started at 50 / TD / pass: 2-2 (19 yds) / rush: 2 (8 yds), TD (1 yd)
(5) Jones out / started at own 45 / punt / pass: 2-3 (25 yds) / sack: 1 (-10 yds)
(6) Jones in / started at Union 3 / TD / rush: 1 (3 yds), TD (3 yds)
(7) Jones in / started at Union 49 / downs / pass: 0-1
(8) Jones in / started at own 43 / missed FG / rush: 2 (37 yds) / Jones left drive after 20 yd run with bruised hand and drive faltered
(9) Jones out / started at own 20 / punt
Passing: 5-7, 107 yards, TD
Rushing: 8 carries, 71 yards, 3 TD
Sack: 1, -8 yards
The following are the comments that I wrote down throughout the game:
- Tight spiral with good velocity
- Good action on play-action-pass
- Good touch and accuracy on pass across body to flat
- Game program listed his name as "Cornelius" (final determination to be made at home opener)
- Good ball fake tucked into 19 yard run with quick cutback
- Awesome play-action on 50 yard touchdown pass on 4th down
- Hides ball extremely well on play-action
- Tight accurate spiral on long balls; excellent trajectory
- Appeared comfortable out of shotgun and from under center
- Quick feet on drop backs from under center and out of shot gun
- Broke a sack with his back peddle and threw an absolute strike for an 8 yard gain to the 1 yard line
- Obvious polish difference between Jones and Kinnock (substantially in Jones' favor, as would be expected between a senior and a sophomore)
- Just awesome deception on play-action bootleg TD run left defenders completely baffled on who had the ball
- High ball on 4th down incompletion, but coverage was underneath not over the top
- Commands respect on play-action that opens huge holes for his backs
Spartan High travels to Northwestern High near Rock Hill, SC (just south of Charlotte, NC) on 9/4. I will not be in attendance as I will be up north for Labor Day and the start of the college season. My next report will come after Spartan High's home opener against Sumter High on 9/11.
If anyone has any questions I will obviously be glad to try to answer them to the best of my ability. Also, if anyone has anything they would like for me to evaluate in the coming weeks please let me know and I will add them to my list.
No worries, there are a couple of games (Northwestern and Mauldin) that I will miss for sure, so I'll be glad to carry the mail on this evaluation with those few exceptions. I'm going to go regardless of whether a Michigan recruit is playing, so this is just an added bonus.
What were your impressions on his running ability? Can he be effective carrying the ball 15+ times a game?
I'm still forming an opinion on this. My wife and I were actually talking about this before the start of the second half when we were standing behind when he was on the bench. He seems to have a decent sized frame, so that might tend to indicate that he could bulk up and be able to handle that type of load, but it's hard to say without really being able to evaluate his toughness. He left the game tonight with a pretty good hit on his hand. Nothing serious and I would think he would have stayed in had it been a close game, but it's not something I would know until I see more games. My guess is that he'd be able to take the hits. He actually seemed to become a much more effective runner as the game wore on tonight.
Finally... some decent numbers for Conelius. Thanks for the report.
I was watching the Saints v. Raiders pre-season game today (mostly to see how Brees looks since I have him on fantasy team). I noticed he used the play action and ball fakes in numerous different plays and it made passing lanes ridiculous when performed well. I always kind of wondered how in a league full of 6'3"+ QBs a 6'0" QB ends up with the most passing yards. This really opened my eyes as to how a shorter QB can thrive as a passer. I guess its all about having different threats on different parts of the field to keep the D stagnant and confused. Guess it doesn't hurt to be super accurate either.
not starting the game or the second half might have to do with disciplinary issues (no evidence, just a possibility). coaches sometimes punish players by not letting them start.
I actually thought about not including this point at all so as to not create unwarranted worry or speculation, but I opted for a full and complete report.
My first thought was similar to what you are saying, but that was pretty easily put out of my mind just by two things (1) watching his body language and his interaction with the other players and coaches and (2) that Kinnock also started the first drive of the second half. This particular stadium was set up with the seats so close to the field that you could actually hear the coaches talking to the players on the bench. There was no sulking, no poor body language, no odd interactions, nothing. I am virtually certain that decision was SOLELY to get Kinnock some playing time with the first offense and against a first team defense in game situations because they were playing a lesser opponent.
a solution for the name thing. his nickname is trill, perhaps we can use that in quotation marks until the home opener? just throwing that out there
Yeah, we can do that but it doesn't really matter. I just copied the title from last week essentially as an attempt at a little humor. I'm curious though, how do you know that's his nickname? I'll agree to it though... "Trill" Jones it is!
Here's the write up from the local paper here today: http://www.goupstate.com/article/20090829/NEWS/908309985/1088/sports?Tit...
Slight variations in our stats, as would be expected since I was taking more or less back of the napkin stats (while trying to be as accurate as possible). One correction of note is that Jones was 6 of 7 passing (not 5 of 7 as I'd posted); I had this correct in my notes but typed it wrong last night. Sorry about that.
I do take issue with the author's assessment that the first half was "closely played". Spartan High scored touchdowns on every one of their first half possessions and Union High had MAYBE three first downs in the first half. Just my two cents.
Thanks for the report.
This is great stuff, thanks for taking the time to document it and report it here!