The Prospect Playbook: Jacquizz Rodgers (RB-Oregon St.)

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(Temporary note: If anyone is a YouTube pro and knows how to get rid of the spacing issues on plays 1, 8 & 9, I would appreciate a lesson.)

  So far in the Prospect Playbook, I've put together pieces on Julio Jones in the Capital One BowlMarcell Dareus' performance from the same game, and the battle between Gabe Carimi and Adrian Clayborn from their late October matchup.

  Today, I'll go back to the Oregon St.-USC game from November, a lopsided game which drew a poor outing (trying to be nice to the USC fans here) from QB Matt Barkley before being sidelined by an ankle injury.  For the Beavers, Jacquizz Rodgers put together an impressive game: 128 yards rushing with a TD and 43 yards receiving, all coming on the night he passed St. Louis Rams RB Steven Jackson on OSU's all-time rushing leaders list to move up to 3rd.

  It was a pretty impressive showing for Jacquizz, and I've clipped nine plays to look at in today's installment.

Reference materials

  At the MTD Film Library, Josh has a video of the Oregon St. offense from the OSU-Washington game from mid-October.  Jacquizz is MTD's #11 RB and #114 on the MTD Big Board.  Both of those haven't been updated since the combine, though, so take them with a grain of salt.  Or a pinch.  Or a salt mine.

12:44, 1st Q - 2nd & 8 from the OSU 45 (Oregon St. 0 - USC 0)

  This is midway through the Beavers' first drive.  After a pretty unconvincing playaction fake with OSU QB Ryan Katz, Jacquizz is going to take the dump off and weave through the maze of blockers and would-be tacklers for 17 yards:

  One of the thing you'll notice from Jacquizz if you watch enough tape on him is an inconsistency in the patience he exhibits with his blockers.  Often, he hits full speed before his blockers are in position.  Here, he does a good job of setting up good blocking angles for his big men with his body.  We'll get better examples of that in some of the upcoming clips, but this was a pretty solid illustration of that as well.

  Another bullet point on his resume that this video reinforces is his balance.  As much as Quizz cuts and dances around the field when he has the ball, he does a good job of staying upright.  He forces several tacklers to try and wrap him up at his ankles, but if they don't get a good grip on his shoes or lower leg, he does a good job at escaping and staying upright.

11:35, 1st Q - 2nd & 8 from the USC 36 (Oregon St. 0 - USC 0)

  A holding call makes this incomplete pass from Katz irrelevant, but I thought it merited inclusion in this series since it's one of the few plays on which Jacquizz blocks.  In fact, it was the only play I remember him blocking on in the entire game:

  USC LB Malcolm Smith races into the OSU backfield on a blitz, but Jacquizz does a good job of connecting his helmet to Smith's thigh.  It's an effective pass block for a back who's just 5'6".

2:26, 1st Q - 1st & 10 from the USC 34 (Oregon St. 0 - USC 0)

  As a Rams fan, one of the gripes I have is the offensive line's inability to create running lanes for our own ex-OSU RB: Steven Jackson.  Seeing holes open up like this make me sad:

  After the first clip, I mentioned Rodgers' ability to get out of sloppy ankle tackling.  USC S T.J. McDonald, Exhibit A.  Another trait to take note of is Jacquizz's strength.  People obviously note how short he is, but he doesn't get enough credit for his strength.  He'll drive into much bigger linebackers and keep his legs going.  He'll throw stiff arms all over the field, as he did in this clip.  He's small, but not lean.

  I've heard some people bring up Warrick Dunn as a comp, but Dunn was taller (by about three inches) and lighter (by about 15 pounds).  Rodgers isn't incredibly powerful, but for his height, he packs a punch.

9:30, 2nd Q - 2nd & 4 from the USC 47.5 (Oregon St. 10 - USC 0)

  Here's a good example of the power Rodgers provides as he bursts through a pretty small lane for a new set of downs:

  Again, it's USC S T.J. McDonald who has the first shot at bringing Quizz down.  He enters the backfield, aiming to hit Rodgers from the side, but Quizz commits to the lane and McDonald is forced to slap tackle him from behind.  McDonald does a good job of holding onto Rodgers to bring him down, but it keeps what will be a touchdown drive alive.

3:48, 2nd Q - 1st & 10 from the OSU 36 (Oregon St. 17 - USC 0)

  The Trojans have just turned the ball over on downs, and the momentum is entirely in Oregon St.'s favor now.  On this first play of the drive, Jacquizz is going to work off of his left tackle and power through two defensive linemen and a linebacker for a strong run on first down:

  Part of what allows Quizz to drive forward against defenders is his height.  Just like linemen battling each other, leverage is key.  Because he's so short, Jacquizz is able to power his legs underneath bigger defenders to eke out a couple of yards before going down.

2:32, 2nd Q - 1st & 10 from the OSU 49 (Oregon St. 17 - USC 0)

  Welcome to Jump Cuts, 101:

  Quizz sets up his jukes well against both USC S Marshall Jones and CB Shareece Wright, but it's his vision on that second cut that impressed me the most.  You can see in the replay, Quizz notices Wright just before contact and immediately initiates his cut.  Me likey.

10:05, 3rd Q - 1st & 10 from the USC 41 (Oregon St. 20 - USC 0)

  Patience + vision + burst = 1st down:

  Another ankle tackle broken, for those keeping score.  Quizz does a great job of faking outside with his initial move, allowing OT Mike Remmers to turn DE Armond Armstead outside.  With that small hole, Quizz explodes through and skips out of LB Malcolm Smith's shoestring tackle attempt for the first down.

  And this video provides the proper space to note the discipline Jacquizz shows holding onto the ball.  He doesn't fumble the ball.  Ever.  Well, I guess that's technically not true.  He did fumble once.  But one fumble in 788 career carries?  That's elite ball security.

8:48, 4th Q - 1st & 10 from the USC 31 (Oregon St. 23 - USC 7)

  Rodgers does a great job setting up his own running lane again in this run, nearly sealing the W:

  His acceleration isn't elite, but it's certainly well above average.  When confident in the lane, Quizz hits it well and maintains his athleticism through the first line of defense.  McDonald was able to keep this run from putting six points on the board, but just barely.

3:16, 4th Q - 1st & 10 from the USC 28 (Oregon St. 29 - USC 7)

  Time for Quizz to put this one to bed:

  It's easy to just give him credit for his agility, navigating through lanes and weaving in and out of the paths of defenders.  The key is that he creates those lanes.  He sets up the initial running lane by side-stepping McDonald (Have we said that name enough yet?).  He develops a second lane by bluffing toward the sideline, allowing WR Markus Wheaton to get a push on CB Shareece Wright.  And he finished the run, blowing past S Marshall Jones and dragging DT DaJohn Harris for seven extra yards.

  Jacquizz is more than just a bottle of agility and burst.  He has power to his game.  He developed another layer of patience this season.  You could certainly credit much of that to the quality of his line, with OT Mike Remmers and C/G Alex Linnenkohl both likely to find their way to the NFL.

  The bottom line, however, lies with Quizz.  He doesn't have the size to hold up as an every-down running back, but for teams looking for a quick, agile athlete that they can couple with a bigger, conventional starting RB, there aren't many better options than Jacquizz Rodgers in this year's draft.

  I'm torn on who to look at for the next installment.  I'm thinking of grabbing some more film from 2009 on a player who missed out on this season for whatever reason.  Weslye SaundersMarvin Austin/Greg Little/Robert Quinn?  Or is there another TE you think merits his own TPP piece?

  Holler.

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