What Virginia Tech Is Getting With Jason Brown

Jason&nbsp;Brown, <a href='/player/Jason-Brown-5985/' srcset=
Jason Brown
” width=”2100″ height=”1400″> What is Virginia Tech getting with South Carolina transfer Jason Brown? (Jon Fleming)

Before arriving in Blacksburg, Jason Brown was a transfer backup at South Carolina by way of a record-setting stay at St. Francis, an FCS school. Brown is a big-bodied guy who likes staying in the pocket. He keeps his eyes downfield, and he’s not afraid to squeeze the ball into tight windows. He doesn’t mind throwing on the run, either, and the routes he likes throwing are a big part of the Hokies’ West Coast elements.

I can’t overemphasize how tough a situation Brown was in at USC. He went from three years in a spread-and-shred FCS team, to starting for a pro-style SEC team after an offseason of third-string reps and a smattering of in-season snaps. St. Francis let him play with a loose, side-arm/back-foot throwing style, while USC tried to rebuild his throwing motion. His receivers with the Red Flash dominated opposing DBs, while the Gamecocks’ receivers were routinely mugged by SEC corners.

Brown was stuck as third-string quarterback until he performed well at the end of a blowout loss to Texas A&M. Needing a spark, the Gamecocks used the subsequent bye week to prep him for a start against Florida. Brown did well managing the game—175 yards, two TDs, no picks, one sack—while the defense and rushing attack did the real damage on the way to a 40-17 win. In the remaining three regular season games, USC didn’t have the same dominance rushing, and without the help, Brown’s limitations were exposed.

His game has two very clear strengths. First, he’s very comfortable with passing concepts that rely on in- and out-breaking routes. Intermediate concepts that hit over the middle and beneath the safeties—mesh concepts, drags, digs, etc.—are probably his strongest area:

He hit a bunch of throws like this where he not only put the ball on the money, but he found the right guy in the concept for easy YAC. He didn’t have the same success on out routes, but he had his share of nice ones, and maybe the best ball I saw him throw was a deep out against Cover-2 that he dropped right into the hole.

Brown also showed some good moves in the pocket. You saw him on the move plenty in the Spring Game, thanks to the Hokies’ screen-door-on-a-submarine pass protection, but things might’ve been worse with USC. He was pressured on 43% percent of his drops—against Missouri, he had 35 dropbacks and was pressured on 21 of them. Interestingly, though, of the six interceptions he threw with USC, only one came while he was under pressure. Let’s look at him managing the rush:

This is a Mesh variation, with two receivers coming from opposite ends of the formation to put the MLB in a bind. It’s a clear read because Missouri is sending six rushers. The Gamecocks struggle with the pressure, though. The back lets his rusher get right to where Brown’s finishing his drop, forcing the QB up into the pocket. Brown creates a clear throwing lane by moving with his receiver a little and fits a ball past the nearest rusher. The