Kyle Trask: Deeper Dives, Part 1
Last night, I rewatched the Georgia-Florida game from this past season. I find the exercise more enjoyable when the outcome is a DAWG victory. Doubly so when it’s a victory over the hated Turds. Another reason why I wanted to rewatch it, was because I wanted to see how good Kyle Trask was in the game. Recently some sports site put out a list of top returning SEC QBs (it’s not important which, they really have no clue and stuff like that is just clickbait this time of year anyway), and Kyle Trask was listed 4th. Many a Gator fan was apoplectic about it.
“Trask 4th?! THIS IS AN OUTRAGE!!” is a fair aggregate of what was said without adult language.
In the 2019 season I watched Trask play in most of the Auburn game, parts of the Vandy and Mizzou games. I watched the entire Kentucky game and the entire Georgia game. I thought he was fine. Showed some flashes. Was better than STANKS (which doesn’t take much). I wasn’t blown away though. So I started looking at his season stats. Then I decided to just write about him and delve a little deeper.
So in this piece, I’m going to talk about the Georgia-Florida game and how he looked, then try to extrapolate a deeper truth by looking at his 2019 overall season stats in a different piece. So here we go…
Florida had the ball for 7 drives in our game. Yes you read that right…SEVEN. That seemed very low for a team with so many explosive playmakers. I don’t mean that sarcastically either. Pitts, Jefferson, Swain, Grimes, and Healthy Toney are all players who will if nothing else get a cup of coffee in Sunday football. Perhaps it was part of Georgia’s gameplan to slow the game down and keep the ball out of their hands. If that’s the case, it was a good idea. It also seemed in the plan stop the run and make Trask beat Georgia. I think we Georgia fans remember how that turned out.
On the first drive, Trask fires a bullet to Pitts for 15 yards. Second play is a handoff to Perine for little gain. Third play is a quick dump to Pitts who works his way to a first down. This is the point where Florida takes a timeout. Trask looked confused. Was this a Mullen problem? Not preparing his squad for battle? Was this a Trask problem? Not getting his guys in the right position? Both? Fourth play, deep toss to Perine who makes an athletic play to pick up nine yards. Fifth play hand off to Perine who can’t convert. Then they take a SECOND timeout. I remember this being hilarious the first time. It’s better on the second-go-round. Coming out of the timeout, Florida false starts. Sixth play is a swing pass to Perine who initially is given the first down, but after review is called fourth and short. Last play of the drive, Trask is in the shotgun, throws a bit of a wobbler to Trask, but Richard LeCounte III plays perfect coverage on Pitts and swats the ball away. Trask looked decent here. Pitts and Perine do most of the work.
On the second drive, Trask is given plenty of time to find Pitts wide open for a first down. Second play, Trask hands off to Tap Dance Toney who gets stuffed for little to no gain (personally I think he was still hurt). Florida gets called for too many men in the huddle and takes it back to 2nd and 15. Third play, Azeez Ojulari comes around and sacks Trask for a huge loss. On third and infinity, Trask throws toward Perine, but it’s off. Gators punt. Playcalling and lack of team discipline seemed to screw Trask more than anything here.
On the third drive, Trask throws a decent back shoulder to Jefferson who should’ve had it, but dropped it. Second play, hand off to Pierce, who picks up 9. Third and short, Pierce gets stuffed and Gators punt it again. Trask still not making enough happen here.
On the fourth drive, last drive of the first half, Trask throws low, great catch by Pitts, and gets a huge chunk of yards. Second play, play action, Trask hits Swain in the numbers and picks up another huge chunk. Third play, Stokes has good coverage on an incomplete pass. Fourth play, Emory Jones comes into the game. How good can the QB be if he gets pulled middle of the drive? Emory goes nearly nowhere. Fifth play, third down, the 6'5" Trask gets his pass tipped by Travon Walker at the line of scrimmage. Gators make the FG to get their first points of the game. Still haven’t sniffed the red zone. Trask’s halftime stat line: 6/11 106 yards. 78 of those yards to Pitts only.
Second half, fifth drive, fake handoff, great throw, great catch by Grimes for a first down. Second play, first down, Trask under pressure short pass complete to Hammond for a 5 yard pickup. Third play on second down, Herring brings pressure and forces Trask into an incomplete pass. Fourth play Trask complete pass to Grimes short of the first down, but Georgia penalty gives it to them anyway. Ensuing first down, Trask seems to have trouble getting the play off, then proceeds to look rattled in the pocket by the pressure he knows is coming, then takes another huge sack resulting in the loss of nearly all the grass on his side of the 50. Then they get hit with a delay of game. Second down, Pitts bobbles a short pass and drops it. Third down is the surrender handoff followed by a punt. Not Trask’s finest hour.
Sixth drive, first play, quick strike to Swain for the first down. Second play, low throw (again), athletic catch by Swain for another first down. Third play, small pass to Cleveland who fights for tough yards to get about eight. Fourth play, quick slant to Swain for another first down. Fifth play, Trask feels the pressure and scrambled to get back to the line of scrimmage. Sixth play, short pass to Pierce, good tackling makes it a minimal gain. Here the third quarter ends and Florida has still yet not sniffed the red zone. Seventh play, Trask keeper, two yards short of the first down. Eight play, on fourth down, Trask finds Swain with a great pass for a first down. Ninth play, Trask heaves a prayer to Jefferson and gets a flag. Seems like another makeup call for the Cager catch earlier in the game. First TD pass of the game for Trask a few minutes into the fourth quarter.
Seventh and final drive, first play, incomplete pass to Pitts. A little behind him, but at his hands. Second play, incomplete pass to Perine. Herring caused Trask to hurry the throw again. Third play, pass break up by LeCounte III, but he is called for pass interference. If he lets him catch it, they don’t have a first down (oh well). Fourth play, risky pass to the middle of the field J.R. Reed almost intercepted. Fifth play, swing pass to Swain who muscles for a first down. Sixth play, illegal substitution by Florida negating a first down run by Perine. Seventh play, Trask keeps it to get about a yard (WHAT A DUAL THREAT!). Eighth play, handoff to Perine who gets a first down. Ninth play, another handoff to Perine who gets four. Tenth play, Trask airmails one over the head of Krull. Eleventh play, another first down conversion by Swain. Twelfth play, pass to Perine, immediate tackle, short gain. Thirteenth play, Trask sacked with nowhere to go with the ball. First trip for Florida to the red zone. Fourteenth play, handoff to Perine who converts for a first down. Fifteenth play, comes after a slant to Jefferson called back, slant to Swain incomplete. Sixteenth play, handoff to Perine for a good gain. Seventeenth play, pass complete to Jefferson who is pushed out of bounds. Eighteenth play, swing pass to Grimes to pick up fourth down conversion. Last play of the drive is a TD pass to Swain. Good drive. Only the idiots took nearly ten minutes to score one touchdown when they needed two. They never got the ball back and lost by seven. Thanks for being dumb guys.
So, those are the drives. Trask finished the game 21/33 for 257 yards with two TDs and zero INTs. Good, but not good enough. He got the ball seven times in this game. He looked good on less than half of these drives. He looked like the kind of guy who hadn’t started games since high school. Judging by this game, it looks like Trask is the kind of guy who can beat up on the less talented teams, but has trouble with equal or greater talent.
Here’s where I think he will be in trouble for 2020 (at least against the good guys): He loses Van Jefferson, Freddie Swain, Lamichal Perine, and Josh Hammond. That’s a lot of production. Jefferson and Swain had the TD passes. Granted, Grimes, Pitts, and Pierce will be back…but can they fill those shoes? I’m dubious still. They are also losing their center. Judging from my own experience as a Georgia fan, I know it was an adjustment for us in 2019 losing Mecole, Riley, Hollomon, Nauta, and Lamont at center. Let’s see how Trask handles it.
NEXT UP: Looking at Trask’s stats in his other games