CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 06: Munchie Legaux #4 of the Cincinnati Bearcats runs with the ball during the game against the Pittsburgh Panthers at Nippert Stadium on September 6, 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
The debut of Munchie Legaux as the quarterback for the 2012 Cincinnati Bearcats went well. That is, of course, an understatement. He threw up a very casual 200-100 Thursday night. Granted, it was against Pitt a team who is just tipping into a death spiral of a season. Still, the ease with which he ripped off a game like that a positive.
That being said, there is still work to be done in the passing game. Munchie finished the game completing 50 percent of his passes, but with the aforementioned 200 yards passing. The completion percentage, and his mechanics, could be better, but what I find to be more relevant going forward is his decision making, which was generally flawless. That is a big change from Zach Collaros, who was mechanically sound but made interesting/bad decisions, far more often.
Zach made a lot of plays, but in doing so he took a ton of risks that sometimes worked, and sometimes backfired. The sample size is small, still just five games, but Munchie does not seem as inclined to take the same risks that Collaros did. Watching the game yesterday afternoon it was clear that while Munchie made quite a few mistakes throwing the football, but he did not make bad decisions as to where he should throw the Football. To my eye the only mistakes he made came when he took the only sack of the game. Pitt manned up and blitzed 6 against UC's five wides. Munchie tried to side step the rush to buy time but got buried by Shane Gordon instead. The other was a decision to give the ball on a zone read to George Winn that resulted in a five yard loss.
Below is a chart of all of Munchie's passes from Thursday night that shows where the passing yards were generated from.
|10+ Yards||1 of 2, 42 yards||0 of 2||0 of 1|
|0-10 Yards||1 of 4. 6 yards||4 of 5, 65 yards||4 of 5, 42 yards|
|Behind LOS||2 of 3, 13 yards TD||1 of 3, 25 yards||1 of 3, 12 yards TD|
Here is the same chart with Munchie's passer rating for each zone.
If I am Butch Jones or Mike Bajakian, looking at the film and that breakdown of where he is throwing the ball, I would be thrilled. Because it shows that Munchie played within himself, and did not go out forcing plays that just aren't there. 23 of his 28 attempts came in the short to intermediate area of the field, which is perfect. As much as Bajakain would love to take more shots down the field, this team will make its money in the intermediate game. That is where the personnel on offense is best suited to operate. Munchie did take some deep shots Thursday, three of them to Kenbrell Thompkins on vertical routes, two of them to McClung running deep crossing routes, which is vital to keeping a defense honest. But there is a lot of hay to be made by attacking defenses in the short to intermediate zone with Travis Kelce, McClung and especially Ralph Abernathy IV
It is just one game so it is impossible to draw any over arching conclusions from this one night of Football but it is a positive first step. That being said I have, if anything, more confidence in Munchie as a quarterback today than I did at the start of the day Thursday. That is odd for a quarterback who completed just 50 percent of his passes but its true. I have more faith in Munchie to make the correct decision in the passing game now. This is the kind of performance I thought that he could have, and more importantly the kind of performance he can repeat this season. Munchie got off to a great start for this season. UC has another easy game next week against Delware State then a bye before taking on Virginia Tech at FedEx field. That game will tell us far more about how far the Bearcats can go with Munchie.