Commentary

A new game plan for Jacory Harris

Dink-and-dunk short passes would seem logical, but tape analysis shows differently

Originally Published: September 8, 2010
By KC Joyner | ESPN Insider
Jacory Harris Getty ImagesWe're used to seeing Jacory Harris run, but Saturday we should see him throw a few bombs, too.

"Taking what the defense gives you" is an age-old football philosophy based on the simple fact that no defensive scheme can stop everything. For example, the extremely popular Cover 2 defense is great at preventing long completions but isn't very good against the run and can be vulnerable to certain types of sideline passes.

The upside of this mindset is that when it is implemented effectively, a team can move the ball against any defense. The downside is that it allows the other team to dictate what the offense does with the ball.

There are a multitude of reasons that suggest that Miami Hurricanes coach Randy Shannon should follow that philosophy in attacking Ohio State Buckeyes defensive coordinator Jim Heacock's unit.

Chief among these is that Shannon has a mistake-prone quarterback (17 interceptions in 2009, second most in FBS) in Jacory Harris facing a Buckeyes defense that returns seven starters from last year's shutdown unit that helped take Ohio State to the Rose Bowl.

Harris has proved he can chuck it downfield against top defenses with consistent success.

To get an idea of just how hard it was to move the ball against Ohio State in 2009, consider that the Buckeyes finished second in FBS in interceptions (24) and fifth in passer rating allowed (95.75), touchdowns allowed (10) and yards per pass attempt (5.4). Only four of their opponents topped the 100 mark in passer rating -- and only one had more touchdown passes than interceptions.

Add it all up and it seems the safest approach would be a "dink and dunk" passing game plan for Shannon and Harris -- but the metrics tell a different story.


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