Zac Dysert is struggling to get things going on a consistent level in Mobile. On the biggest stage, with his competition breathing down his neck, Dysert hasn’t taken full advantage of this enormous opportunity.
This comes to my utter surprise as Dysert has made a career of showing up on the biggest stage. Dysert was fantastic in a loss to Ohio State this season. I counted seven dropped balls in the contest, some of which were drops in crunch time or in big spots. That pretty much sums up Dysert’s career at Miami of Ohio. He was 20-27 against Boise State. As a true freshman, he threw at a 70 percent clip against a Cincinnati team that finished eighth in the country.
Dysert had three coordinators in his four seasons. He was a relative no-name from Ada, Ohio that has emerged from Ben Roethlisberger’s huge shadow to break all of Big Ben’s passing records. If you’re looking for an experienced starter, look no further than Dysert. Outside of Matt Barkley, you won’t find a more seasoned quarterback in the draft. He’s played in a slew of offensive schemes, sometimes with a hodgepodge of offensive principles. In 2012, Dysert had little to no help from the running game, a porous offensive line, and very few legitimate weapons.
There’s no doubt that Dysert has the skill set to compete for a starting gig at the next level. There’s also a lot to be frustrated with in Dysert. A four-year starter should have a grasp on simple defensive concepts. Dysert, often, will make mistakes against very simple concepts. It’s maddening to watch him play outstanding and miss a hang corner to throw a pick six. Just about every collegiate quarterback could be criticized for locking onto their first read, but Dysert does it with regularity. It leads to batted balls and costly picks.
I will look at all the aspects of Dysert’s game, both negative and positive with a conclusion at the end that may surprise.
ARM STRENGTH/BALL PLACEMENT
Zac Dysert doesn’t possess the arm strength of Mike Glennon or Ryan Nassib. That said, he can make every throw on the field. The Miami offense was based on the quick passing game this season, so its a rarity to see Dysert making the deep out from the opposite hash. Don Treadwell spent much of the season hiding an atrocious offensive line, particularly the interior. They used a lot of west coast principles to get the ball out quick. It doesn’t allow for much evaluation of Dysert’s arm strength, but it can be seen when Dysert is on the roll, which Treadwell did often this season. When you have a porous offensive line, you throw quick or move the pocket. Miami did plenty of both this season and we look at a play where Dysert is backed up in his endzone and they roll him out. A dangerous play but it’s a real opportunity to see the arm talent that Dysert possesses. Ohio State is in a quarters look with the free safety getting nosey in the backfield.
Dysert can’t set his feet with Jonathan Hankins bearing down on him. Dysert could check this one down into the flats (87) but he decides to take his shot as they won’t come often against Ohio State with his receivers. Dysert has to make a great throw with Brad Roby’s closing speed and the free safety working back over the top. This is a great example of Dysert throwing his receiver open and showing plus arm strength.
For those counting, that’s 45 yards off his back foot, in his own endzone with Johnathan Hankins ready to make him a permanent fixture of the Ohio Stadium grass. This ball is as perfect as you can throw. Oh by the way, it’s just one of seven drops in this contest.
Dysert gets gets a two high safety look with the boundary corner backpedaling to 17 yards depth pre-snap. An easy read but difficult ball to fit into a tight window. The boundary corner is going to attempt to get a ‘bang’ on the vertical receiver as he has responsibility to number two working into his flats.
The corner doesn’t get enough of a ‘bang’ on the vertical receiver as he’s unable to re-route him enough off the spot. Dysert throws a laser shot into a tight window, beating the safety to the spot. This one goes for big yardage as the safety overpursues the ball instead of making the tackle. This is an NFL throw with zip and accuracy.
Dysert is emptied out with three verticals working. If he’s going to hit the seam shot, he’s going to have to make a perfect throw with zip and accuracy.
Dysert holds the safety with his eyes and allows his receiver to work between the safeties. When Dysert is active with his eyes he can work the middle of the field with the best of them in this quarterback group.
His eyes make this play and then the accuracy and great mechanics take it home. If this ball is anywhere but where it is, this could be trouble. Dysert releases this ball as his receiver is on the opposite hash. This is picture perfect.
Inevitably, every Miami (OH) quarterback will be compared to the incomparable Ben Roethlisberger. Big Ben’s knack for extending plays and power are special. Dysert doesn’t have Ben’s size but his ability to keep plays alive with his athleticism and strength are eerily reminiscent to Ben. It seems that every game Dysert makes a play or two with guys hanging all over him. This is a great example with two of the Big Ten’s finest hanging all over him.
This is a variation of the west coast snag concept. You see a lot of this in Miami’s 2012 offense. It’s a core concept in the west coast passing game that gives a triangle stretch, where you have a hi/low read (drive to flat) with a horizontal read from inside to outside (snag to flat).
The left tackle is abused by John Simon off the snap. Dysert is a sitting duck as he has Johnathan Hankins closing in. With Simon pulling the top half and Hankins wrapped around his waste, Dysert completes this pass for a first down. Every game that I watched of Dysert’s he was making this play at least once. He will surprise you with his athleticism and strength.
THE HEAD SCRATCHERS
At least a couple times a game, Dysert leaves you wanting more. He leaves you wondering how could he miss the read. It can be summed up in this one play.
Here’s a true west coast snag play. #1 will run the snag with #2 working behind on the corner route and the back coming out running the flat. I couldn’t tell but it looks like it’s cover three to the field. Basic read and should be a gimme into the flats. Dysert doesn’t read the corner bailing and forces the corner route into the meat of the coverage.
Easy pick for Travis Howard as Dysert throws into the coverage. The flats are wide open with the field corner bailing in cover three and the safety lined up over #2 dropping right into the snag zone. This should be a first down, instead it’s a turnover inside their own 20. It could be an issue with Dysert pressing as these situations seem to come up when his team is down big. Whatever it is, Dysert has to grasp coverages at the next level and be able to take what the defense is giving him regardless of the score or situation.
Like all of the 2013 quarterbacks there are downsides with Dysert. 1). Locking onto first read, 2). Struggles with basic reads, 3). Misses high when he misses. All correctable concerns that should come with his integration into an NFL system.
The good news if you’re a team drafting Dysert is that you get experience that was productive despite inadequate weapons and system changes. Dysert doesn’t have that cannon arm but we showed that he had the arm talent to make all the throws. His accuracy is better than advertised and may throw one of the best deep balls of any quarterback in this draft, including Geno Smith.
I promised a surprise and it may be a surprise to only a few that haven’t watched him or just judging by Senior Bowl week. Dysert is going to compete with the Ryan Nassib’s of the world for a selection at the top of round two.