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Brett Hundley: Non-Conference Film Breakdown

An analysis of the passing game and Brett Hundley's overall performance through the first three games of UCLA's 2013 season.

Eric Francis

There has been a lot of discussion around UCLA football about Brett Hundley and his play this season, as well as his draft stock in 2013. I'm not posting this to discuss the "will he go or will he stay" possibilities. I just thought that it would be an interesting study to go through the game film and try to analyze the way that Hundley has performed through UCLA's games against Nevada, Nebraska and New Mexico State (the killer N's maybe?)

It's hard to process how a quarterback is performing while watching a game live, especially without the All-22 camera angle that is a much better angle for watching football for evaluation instead of entertainment.

Fair warning: I am by no means an expert on QB play or decision making or mechanics, so I'll openly admit that there is some room for error in this study. I do what I can and I am confident in the work I did, but if you see something while going through this that you disagree with or observe, post it in the comments.

Versus Nevada:

(Thanks to JmpaspDraftjedi for posting this)

Hundley was involved in 42 action plays during the game against the Nevada Wolf Pack, unless this tape missed a play. His line for the game was 22-33 for 274 yards and 2 touchdowns, while adding 7 carries for 63 yards and 2 rushing touchdowns. Spectacular game against a decent Nevada team. Here I take a closer look at each snap, identify what happened and add in my notes on the play.

Play Route Targeted Player Targeted Yardage Notes
1 Swing Right Jordon James 3
2 15-yard Square Out Right Jordan Payton 18 3rd and 8, From the near-side hash, good zip, read left-to-right
3 Quick Slant Right Devin Lucien 13 Bullet through window
4 Streak Right Payton Incomplete On point throw, catchable ball, not quite a drop but close
5 Read Option Hundley Keeper 37 TD Run OLB is read man, bites on fake & tackles Manfro
6 Throw Away - - 3rd and 6, Steps up into pocket to buy time, gets rid of ball
7 15-yard Curl Right Shaquelle Evans 21 Evans finds hole in zone, bullet pass, well timed
8 Read Option Paul Perkins 4 Actually wrong read, DE gets blocked, edge was there
9 Batted Ball Evans - Unblocked rusher gets there, batted at line
10 Deep Out Right Evans 19 High level difficulty, an NFL throw, near opposite hash to sideline
11 Curl Evans - Forced out of pocket, Simon Goines beat, throw slightly behind
12 Deep Post Middle Lucien - 3rd read, 50-50 ball, good decision to not force the out route underneath
13 Drag Left Devin Fuller 11 3rd and 12, Good playcall against Cover 2, good ball
14 Sneak Hundley Keeper 1 4th and 1, under center for easy push
15 Read Option Hundley Keeper -2 Well defensed, no option for yardage anywhere
16 Drag Right Fuller 11 Easy decision, quick read, good ball
17 Quick Hitch Right Payton - 3rd and 1, First bad ball, sailed out of bounds
18 Screen Left James -2 Well defensed, nowhere to go, XSF whiffs on corner
19 Drag Right Fuller 12 3rd and 5, Cover 2 again, LBs drop early, easy throw/decision
20 Backshoulder Fade Left Evans 5 TD Pass Excellent ball placement, only Evans had a play
21 Scramble Hundley Keeper 3 No one open, tucks and runs, average slide (upper body at 90 degree angle)
22 Quick Hitch Right Evans 3 First read covered, quick adjustment/decision
23 Streak Right Evans 27 3rd and 5, Evans beats press, good ball but safe, possible TD if he leads Evans
24 Scramble Hundley Keeper 10 Hate this decision, overhead shot at 5:20 shows 3(!) open receivers
25 Draw Hundley Keeper 11 TD Run 3rd and 6, XSF pull is terrifying for DBs, love the playcall
26 Option Route Left Darius Bell 11 3rd and 5, Great route by Bell to create separation, nice timing on ball
27 Deep Post Middle Evans - Steps up in pocket (positive), overthrown (negative)
28 Curl Right Grayson Mazzone 9 3rd and 9, Good ball/decision/route
29 Curl Right Mazzone 9 See above
30 Curl RIght Evans 6 See above again, Mazzone actually open again on curl to left
31 Drag Left Fuller *30 TD Pass* Absolute BS Offensive PI (look at 6:44), Mazzone gets held and penalized for it
32 Deep Comeback Right Jalen Ortiz 19 2nd read, on target ball, quick decision and throw
33 Deep Post Middle Fuller - Dropped pass, good ball, would have been a 30-yard gain
34 Square Out Left Lucien 20 3rd and 8, nice touch over corner in zone
35 Streak Left Lucien - Missed opportunity, TD if thrown well
36 Scramble Hundley Keeper 3 Atrocious slide, going to injure himself if he doesn't fix that
37 Square Out Left Payton 12 Easy throw and catch
38 Streak Left Darren Andrews - Thrown out of bounds, well covered
39 Curl Middle Bell - Easy play and decision but dropped by Bell.
40 Post Left Andrews 17 3rd and 10, good decision, nice touch, thrown to only place Andrews could catch it and not get murdered
41 Bubble Right Fuller 5 Easy play
42 Screen Right Malcolm Jones 25 TD Pass Great play all around. Sold well by Hundley, offensive line and Jones

Hundley looked good in this game, every quarterback at every level deals with drops to an extent, so those cannot just be excused statistically.

Overall, Hundley threw 4 passes that I would call bad. But none of them were dangerous mistakes. Two landed out of bounds, one was an overthrow on a deep ball and one was a beat behind while throwing on the run towards the sideline. The real problems, in my opinion, were running the ball. The sliding is still a massive issue that MUST be corrected.

So, the targets in this game look like this (note: these are only while Hundley is in the game, not counting Jerry Neuheisel reps). This also adds in plays taken away by penalties. I'll take a closer look at the overall distribution of targets at the end of the post where I can include all 3 games' results.

Player Targets Catches Yards TDs & Drops
Evans 9 (1 batted ball) 6 81 1 TD
Fuller 6 5 69 (39 in reality) 1 TD (taken away) & 1 Drop
Lucien 4 2 33
Payton 4 2 30
Mazzone 2 2 18
Bell 2 1 11 1 Drop
Andrews 2 1 17
Ortiz 1 1 19
James 2 2 1
Jones 1 1 25 1 TD

Versus Nebraska

(Thanks to Nick Page for posting this)

On paper, Brett Hundley had another solid effort against the Nebraska Cornhuskers. He went 16-24 for 294 yards with 3 touchdown passes and his first interception. On the ground he added 61 yards on 19 carries. This tape charts 44 action plays, but I know that it is missing two plays (conveniently Brett's interception and also a sack). The inteception can be seen here and I'l break it down in the last column.

Play Route Targeted Player Targeted Yardage Notes
1 Draw

Brett Hundley Keeper

4 Fumbled on hit. Good read but caught from behind.
2 Curl Left Darius Bell - Good coverage, broken up as it was being caught, swing was open
3 Curl Right Shaq Evans 33 Quick decision, good ball. Lots of YAC.
4 Comeback Right Shaq Evans - 3rd and 10. Stayed in pocket, catchable ball but tough play. Swing might have been there again.
5 Sneak Brett Hundley 2 3rd and 1. Easy pickup under center.
6 Wheel Right Grayson Mazzone 39 Good ball, good route, good decision.
7 Read Option Brett Hundley Keeper 3 Right read, nice tackle in space by safety.
8 Sack Brett Hundley -4 Torian White gets beat outside, then inside by same guy. No read is open, No way to get ball to the open checkdown with the pass rush.
9 Drag Left Devin Fuller - 3rd and 11. Dropped. Would have gotten 1st down.
10 Curl Left Mazzone - Dropped. Good ball.
11 Scramble Brett Hundley Keeper 1 Goines gets beat at the snap, no time to do anything.
12 Quick Out Left Devin Fuller 5 Lazy route, Hundley hit while thrown and was half a beat late on the decision.
13 Drag Right Devin Fuller 4 3rd and 6. Bobbled, pass came in a little hard. Good coverage and tackle.
14 Read Option Brett Hundley Keeper 7 Good read, nice job avoiding hard contact.
15 Square Out Left Devin Fuller 7 3rd and 2. Quick decision, good ball.
16 Deep Out Right Darius Bell 17 High level NFL throw. Accurate deep out from close to the opposite hash.
17 Skinny Post Middle Devin Fuller - 50-50 ball. Why were there 2 wideouts in the same place? Should not happen. Usually leads to bad things. Duarte likely at fault.
18 Drag Middle Left Jordan Payton - 3rd and 7. Good coverage the entire way. Broken up, a little behind on the throw. Bell gets open on the post late.
19 Stop & Go RIght Shaq Evans - Wide open, probably a TD. Overthrown by a step.
20 Scramble Brett Hundley Keeper 13 3rd and 12. Under pressure instantly, White and Goines beat. Strong run, game changing moment.
21 Stop & Go Right Devin Fuller 32 Beautiful route, ball and play call. Recognizes mismatch on linebacker in man coverage. Stepped up in pocket under pressure to deliver ball.
22 Read Option Brett Hundley Keeper 6 Good read, avoids big hit.
23 Deep Comeback Right Jordan Payton 16 Nice evasion of pass rush, steps up afterwards instead of bailing out. Strong ball to set up FG attempt.
24 Scramble Brett Hundley Keeper 4 Quick screen is not a good option with defender's positioning. Quick decision to tuck and get something.
25 Sneak Brett Hundley Keeper 2 3rd and 1.
26 Swing Left Paul Perkins 20 No read open downfield. Decision to go to the check down early gives Perkins time in space. Beats defender 1-on-1.
27 Sack on Scramble Brett Hundley Keeper -1 Coverage sack. Gets pushed out of bounds. Goines beat again to flush Hundley out of pocket.
28 Deep Cross Middle Left Darius Bell 18 3rd and 15. Steps up in pocket to avoid rush, keeps eye downfield. Bullet and accurate.
29 Curl Left Thomas Duarte 12 Quick decision, easy ball.
30 QB Draw Brett Hundley Keeper 12 Athletic moves in space, good blocking on the edge and by Jacob Brendel downfield.
31 Streak Left Shaq Evans 28 TD Evans beats press, NFL touch/route and a great ball.
32 Comeback Left Jordan Payton 12 Patient in pocket, good ball.
33 Read Option Brett Hundley Keeper 12 Solid read and run.
34 Square Out Left Devin Fuller - 3rd and 5. Dropped. A little behind. Penalty for roughing the passer, but delivers a catchable ball.
35 Flat Right Phillip Ruhl 12 TD Rollout, accurate pass on an easy throw. Love the playcall.
36 Comeback Left Shaq Evans 36 Patient, Evans comes back to find an opening. Good ball, nice move in space by Evans.
37 Tight End Bubble Middle Nate Iese 3 TD Good sell on the read option, draws in safety. Easy lob over DB for a TD.
38 Read Option Brett Hundley Keeper 4 Good read. Gets caught by backside defender.
39 Scramble Brett Hundley Keeper 2 3rd and 4. Not a fan of the decision to run. But no one was open, gets hit hard.
40 Throw Away - - Good decision not to force anything. Draws an unnecessary roughness penalty.
41 Bubble Screen Right Devin Fuller -10 Hate the playcall. Backwards lateral is behind Fuller, recovered by Evans. Too dangerous at the end of a game.
42 Read Option Brett Hundley Keeper -1 Nobody had a chance on either read. Well defensed.
43 QB Draw Brett Hundley Keeper 6 3rd and 5. Patient run.
*44* Back Shoulder RIght Shaq Evans INT Had to be a miscommunication. Evans turns around too late, Hundley throws early. Whatever happened, the pass was right to a Nebraska defender.

Hundley ends up with 16 rushing attempts on this chart. Of those 17, 11 were designed runs and 6 were either scrambles or sacks. He also has one pass that was thrown away. On the passing side of things, Hundley looked much better in the first half after rewatching the game. Drops hurt and the tackles had issues sporadically in pass protection. He missed Evans on a deep ball and the interception was a mistake, but not many passes that were bad decisions or throws. NFL scouts love this cut-up.

Player Targets Catches Yardage TDs & Drops
Shaq Evans 6 3 97 1 TD
Devin Fuller 8 4 48 2 Drops
Darius Bell 3 2 35
Jordan Payton 3 2 28
Grayson Mazzone 2 1 39 1 Drop
Paul Perkins 1 1 20
Phillip Ruhl 1 1 12 1 TD
Thomas Duarte 1 1 12
Nate Iese 1 1 3 1 TD

Through the first two games, Shaq Evans has a clear lead as Hundley's favorite target. We'll look closer at these number once all three games have been tallied up. On to New Mexico State.

Versus New Mexico State

(Thanks to JmpasqDraftjedi for posting this video)

Similar number of action plays in all 3 contests, as Brett had 42 in this game. Again, very possible that a play or two got cut out of this tape. On the day, Brett had his worst statistical game of the season, going 23 for 35 while throwing for 280 yards and 3 touchdowns. Downside, he threw two interceptions to the same player and both were inside the redzone. On the ground, Hundley had his least strenuous workload carrying only 6 times for 33 yards and getting sacked once. Let's get to the tape.

Play Route Targeted Player Targeted Yardage Notes
1 Flat Left Thomas Duarte 0 1-on-1 in space, Duarte cannot make the first man miss.
2 Deep Cross Left Darius Bell 17 3rd and 9. Good ball placement, only Bell could catch this ball. Squeezed in a narrow window. Not a lot of college QBs make this throw.
3 Throw Away Brett Hundley Keeper - Thrown away, steps up in pocket to keep play alive. There was a little room to run. Simon Goines does an awful job on this play.
4 Curl Right Shaq Evans 7 3rd and 5. Quick decision, good ball.
5 Swing Left Devin Fuller 13 Easy throw and decision, good playcall
6 Scramble Brett Hundley Keeper 5 Tucks and runs oddly quickly. Weird decision to make that fast. Had an open quick hitch and Mazzone was about to open up over the middle. No pass rush at all.
7 Deep Cross Middle Fuller - Dropped. Would have been an easy TD. Good playcall.
8 Curl Right Fuller 6 3rd and 5. Easy decision.
9 Swing Right Paul Perkins - Dropped, but not a ton of space to work with.
10 Skinny Post Middle Duarte INT Linebacker undercut the route, underthrown on a needlessly difficult ball. Wide open WR short left with a ton of room.
11 Swing Left Steven Manfro 21 Quick decision, easy one also.
12 Deep Post Middle Fuller - Thrown from the UCLA 36 to the NMSU 16 (50 yards) and didn't get to finish his follow through. Overthrown by a step, easy TD if on point.
13 Swing Right Perkins 12 1-on-1 in space, dump off after going through every read downfield.
14 Comeback Left (not 100% sure) Jordan Payton 16 Steps up to avoid rush, poised in the pocket. Comes back to Payton after at least 3 other reads.
15 Deep Out Right Grayson Mazzone 19 Flushed out of pocket, steps into throw despite incoming defender, strong ball.
16 Screen Left Mazzone 9 Good read, wide open. Devin Lucien is an exceptional blocker downfield.
17 Bubble Screen Right on a Triple Option Mazzone 9 Taken away by penalty. Good read, wide open. Very well executed read and throw. Holding on the edge by Ruhl.
18 Swing Left Manfro 20 TD Easy pass, good ball. Perkins and Manfro do a great job on these.
19 Scramble Brett Hundley Keeper 6 Steps up to avoid rush, keeps eyes downfield until last moment.
20 Scramble Hundley Keeper 6 Alex Redmond beaten inside quickly, creates positive yardage out of a broken play.
21 Swing RIght Perkins 10 Check down, 1-on-1 in space. Nothing open downfield.
22 Swing Left Perkins 9 Quick decision, nice run after catch. Perkins is shift as hell. Bell and Payton blocking well on edge.
23 Deep Out Right Evans - That NFL Deep Out again. From the opposite hash. Sailed out of bounds, Probably a completion if Hundley doesn't throw with all arm instead of using his lower half.
24 Curl Right Devin Lucien 8 From opposite hash, tough ball to throw. Wide open with lots of space to create. First guy tackles Lucien.
25 Post Middle Bell - Bell gets feet tangled with defender. Tough to tell if throw would have been catchable anyway. Low risk-high reward decision.
26 Scramble Hundley Keeper 13 3rd and 22. Low risk, avoids contact. Drag underneath to Jalen Ortiz was open.
27 Deep Out Left Payton - This is the hardest pass in football. Opposite hash across the body, D1 QBs don't throw this often. 1 step wide for Payton, catches it a step out of bounds.
28 Sack Hundley Keeper -1 Terrible play by Hundley. Forcing a scramble needlessly. Payton is open, Lucien is open, James has a 1-on-1. Goines gets beat at the snap.
29 Out Right Lucien 22 3rd and 11. Good route, ball and run after the catch
30 Deep Cross Middle Fuller 21 TD Great route, playcall and throw. Easy TD.
31 Curl Right Evans 8 Easy decision, good ball
32 Screen Left Bell 11 Good block by Payton in space. Quick decision.
33 Scramble Hundley Keeper 4 Probably has James as a check down. Holding on Redmond.
34 Curl Right Evans 10 Quick ball, easy read.
35 Streak Right Evans - Dropped. Targeting penalty gives UCLA first down. Still a catchable ball that was dropped before the hit.
36 Deep Cross Middle or Post Middle Jalen Ortiz or Evans INT I still can't figure out this play. My instincts say that Ortiz drifted too deep on his crossing route because Evans has position on DB if Ortiz run a shallower route. That's what I go with. On the second replay, Hundley's eyes go: 1. Wheel route James 2. Evans 3. Mazzone 4. Back to Evans. Pause it at 7:12 and see where BH's eyes are at release.
37 Scramble Hundley Keeper 4 3rd and 3. Fuller open on an out, Payton had good position on a slant. It works out though.
38 Hitch & Go Right Evans - Dropped TD. Good deep ball and route.
39 Thrown Away - - Redmond gets beat and Perkins picks it up poorly, getting pushed into Hundley. Escapes pocket, gets it out of bounds.
40 Post Left Payton 21 Good route, ball placement and decision.
41 Out Left Fuller 8 3rd and 6. Good route, ball, ball placement and decision.
42 Fade Right Evans 7 TD Great touch and an outstanding catch by Evans.

An interesting note that there were no designed run plays for Hundley in this game. Probably smart against NMSU. While this was Hundley's least impressive game of the year so far, he actually was hurt more by drops and lazy pass blocking against an inferior opponent than he was his decision making. Two below average passes/decisions left points on the board and the turnovers shouldn't happen and neither needed to. That second interception will continue to confuse me every time I see it, the first one was totally on Brett but I can't fully assign blame on the second. Anyway, let's look at the target and then wrap up the post with some totals through three games.

Player Targets Catches Yardage TDs & Drops (Note)
Shaq Evans 8 4 32 1 TD & 2 Drops (1 on targeting penalty)
Devin Fuller 6 4 48 1 TD & 1 Drop
Paul Perkins 5 4 36 1 Drop (1 catch missed on tape)
Darius Bell 3 2 28
Jordan Payton 3 2 37
Grayson Mazzone 3 (2 in reality) 3 (2 in realty) 37 (28 in reality) (1 catch taken away by penalty)
Steven Manfro 2 2 41 1 TD
Devin Lucien 2 2 30
Thomas Duarte 2 1 0

Another heavy day for Evans and Fuller, with Manfro getting his first looks of the season in the passing game. Just to put everything in perspective, I'll do one last table for all of the targets from Brett Hundley this season.

Player Total Targets Total Catches Total Yardage Total TDs & Drops (Note)
Evans 23 (1 batted at line) 13 210 3 TDs & 2 drops (1 before targeting penalty)
Fuller 20 (19 in reality) 13 (12 in reality) 165 (134 in reality) 2 TDs (1 taken away) & 4 drops
Payton 10 6 95
Bell 8 5 74 1 drop
Lucien 6 4 63
Mazzone 7 (6 in reality) 6 (5 in reality) 94 (85 in reality) 1 drop (1 catch taken by holding penalty)
Perkins 6 5 56 1 drop
Duarte 3 2 12
Manfro 2 2 41 1 TD
James 2 2 1
Jones 1 1 25 1 TD
Ortiz 1 1 19
Andrews 1 1 17
Ruhl 1 1 12 1 TD
Iese 1 1 3 1 TD
Totals 92 (90 in reality) 63 (61 in reality) 887 (848 in reality) 9 TDs (8 in reality) & 9 drops

This does not take into account the passes that Brett threw away because those shouldn't count as targets for anybody.

Some more interesting thoughts from looking at each of these games:

  • 2 interceptions have come targeting Shaq Evans. Obviously, if you throw to someone more, a mistake is inevitable. I would like to see Evans and Hundley be a little more in sync moving forward.
  • Devin Lucien has not been a huge part of the offense so far, wasn't targeted against Nebraska and only in the second half against NMSU. He's due for a breakout game. He and Payton fill a similar role as big bodied possession type wideouts.
  • Most of Devin Fuller's routes have been within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage. Have only connected on 2 passes beyond that range (the streak and the TD). His routes haven't been great. The thing that pops out to me is the 4 drops, not a good pace.
  • The lack of targets for guys like Steven Manfro and Jordon James, Manfro especially.
  • UCLA faced a lot of zone against Nevada and NMSU and took advantage of that with Hundley's decision making underneath the linebackers and in the holes of the zone. Nebraska ran a lot of man coverage and it was harder for the receivers to get open. Part of that is talent level and part of that is route running. Need to be crisper in Pac-12 play because the defenses are much better.

I hope you enjoyed reading this. I'd ideally put out one of these every week, but that depends on the availability of the tape online. The process isn't worth it if the readers can't watch the plays along with the notes. Also, the future posts won't be nearly as long as this one.

Thanks for reading and share your thoughts, observations and comments down below.

Go Bruins!