Quantifying Quarterbacks: Brad Kaaya Wasn’t Enough Versus Florida State

Quantifying Quarterbacks: Brad Kaaya Wasn’t Enough Versus Florida State

zz Optimum Scouting

Quantifying Quarterbacks: Brad Kaaya Wasn’t Enough Versus Florida State


The Miami Hurricanes have not beaten the rival Florida State Seminoles since 2009. On Saturday night, Miami had as good a chance as ever to defeat the garnet and gold. The Hurricanes had the home field advantage, the momentum of an undefeated season and the tenth spot in college football’s official rankings. The stars appeared to be aligning for the Hurricanes and a win against Florida State would have signaled to many that “The U” was back.

By: Derrik Klassen

Miami fell short to Florida State by a single point in dramatic fashion. With less than two minutes remaining in the game, Brad Kaaya threw a touchdown pass to Stacy Coley to make the game 19-20. The Seminoles blocked the ensuing extra point, regained possession on the kick off and ran out the clock. Miami was not quite ready to be “The U” again. While a bevy of issues lead to their demise, quarterback Brad Kaaya was underwhelming in arguably the biggest game of his career.


  • ADJ = Adjustment from receiver
  • DE = Drop w/ effort or defended pass
  • DB = Dropped blatantly
  • TD = Touchdown
  • INT = Interception
25+ 0/2 (1 DE)
21-25 0/1 1/2 (1 ADJ, 1 TD, 1 INT)
11-15 1/1 (1 TD) 0/1 1/2 (1 DE)
6-10 1/1 3/5 (1 DB) 1/2 (1 ADJ)
1-5 0/2 (1 DB, 1 DE) 1/1 (1 ADJ) 2/2 (1 ADJ)
0 2/2 4/6 (2 DB) 2/2
Throwaways: 0 Left Outside Left Middle Right Middle Right Outside

Total:  19/32 (59.38%)

On the surface, Kaaya’s 60% of completion looks ugly. If the four blatant drops that Kaaya suffered had been counted as completions, Kaaya would be sitting at just over 70% of completion. That does not do this performance justice, though. Kaaya was subpar. He had a few clutch throws, including a fifteen yard throw on a third down late in the game, but he left plenty of yard son the field throughout the game.

Kaaya completed eight passes in the 1-10 yard range that could be considered the “short” area of the field. Of those eight passes, though, three of them required clear adjustments by the receiver, ultimately inhibiting the receiver’s ability to create yards after the catch. Even on passes that were caught smoothly, Kaaya left them too far inside, outside or low. They were not off-target enough to require strenuous adjustments, but they were enough to limit the potential of a play. To his credit, Kaaya made quick, decisive reads in this area of the field, he just failed to maximize the decisions once he made them.

Down the field, Kaaya did not have success. Kaaya only completed one pass beyond fifteen yards and that lone completion required a clear adjustment by the wide receiver. Granted, it was a touchdown, but for Kaaya to attempt just five of his 32 passes beyond fifteen yards and complete only one of them, is concerning. He left many of his deep passes to hang for too long and veer away from the intended target. Kaaya failed to throw with velocity and arc to his intended targets down the field. Against a depleted and struggling Florida State secondary, Kaaya should have been more aggressive and had more success in doing so.

Pass Rush Breakdown:

  • 3 Man Rush: 2 Times, 1 Pressure – 0/2
  • 4 Man Rush: 21 Times, 2 Pressures – 13/21 (2 ADJ, 4 DB, 3 DE, 1 INT)
  • 5 Man Rush: 6 Times, 3 Pressures – 4/6 (2 ADJ, 1 TD)
  • 6 Man Rush: 3 Times, 1 Pressure – 2/3 (1 TD)

Passing When Pressured: 3/7 (3 ADJ, 1 DE, 1 TD)

Kaaya looked more comfortable when Florida State brought more pass rushers. Generally, Kaaya does a good job of reading coverages pre-snap, but struggles to adjust post-snap. When defenses bring more rushers and Kaaya identifies that early, he gets the ball out quick. Conversely, when Florida State sat back and forced Kaaya to beat them, Kaaya looked worse. He was not quite as accurate versus three and four man rush counts. On top of that, Kaaya’s interception came against a four-man rush, while both of his touchdowns were thrown when Florida State brought more than four rushers.

Against pressure, no matter the rush count, Kaaya was mediocre. His completion percentage was low and all three of his completions required strenuous adjustments. Kaaya did have one touchdown versus pressure, but that was more a result of Stacy Coley’s excellent adjustment than Kaaya’s accuracy. Kaaya was not a train wreck versus pressure, though. He avoided critical mistakes and did not turn the ball over. Still, improvement versus pressure is necessary moving forward.

Situational Passing:

  • Play Action: 4/5 (1 DB)
  • Rollout: 0/1
  • 3rd/4th Down: 5/10 (2 ADJ, 1 DE, 2 TD)
  • Red Zone: 2/5 (1 DB, 1 TD, 1 INT)

Kaaya was flawless on play action. If the blatant drop were to count as a completion, he would have been a perfect 100% on play action passes. Play action passes are easier for quarterbacks than other throws, but 100% of completion is certainly impressive.

In key situations, Kaaya fell short. On critical downs (3rd/4th downs), Kaaya was not accurate and missed many of those throws early on in the game. Granted, Kaaya did complete a fourth-down throw in the red zone to tie the game, but he was struggling up until the last drive. It would be foolish to not concede that it was nice to see him forget his past struggles and hit a few clutch throws at the end of the game.

The red zone was a mixed bag for Kaaya. He did have the late game touchdown that should have tied the game, but he also threw a miserable interception in the red zone earlier in the game. Kaaya had some nice play in the red zone, but mistakes are inexcusable. Red zone chances have to be converted into points, even if just a field goal. Red zone struggles have been a problem for Kaaya all year and it’s no wonder that they showed up this weekend.

Route Break Key:

  • S = Screen, Shoot, Swing
  • O = Out-breaking
  • I = In-breaking
  • V = Vertical
  • C = Crossing
S 8/10 (2 DB)
O 1/5 (1 ADJ, 1 DB, 1 DE, 1 INT)
I 8/12 (2 ADJ, 1 DB, 1 DE)
V 2/5 (1 ADJ, 1 DE, 2 TD)

Kaaya’s strength and weaknesses are highlighted here. Kaaya is a fairly smart, calculated passer who does best when he can operate over the middle of the field and minimize the distance of his throws. When Kaaya needs to show arm strength, however, he is disappointing. Routes breaking to the outside and vertical routes require more arm strength and control because they are farther away from the quarterback. On out-breaking and vertical routes, Kaaya was three of ten versus Florida State. One incompletion can be credited to the receiver, but that still only puts Kaaya at 40% of completion on those routes.

Target Distribution

Mark Walton (No.1) 3/5 (1 ADJ, 1 DB)
Stacy Coley (No.3) 7/11 (2 ADJ, 1 DE, 2 TD)
Standish Dobard (No.5) 0/1 (1 DB)
Braxton Berrios (No.8) 1/2 (1 ADJ, 1 DB)
Malcolm Lewis (No.9) 0/1 (1 DE)
Christopher Herndon (No.23) 1/2 (1 DE)
Ahmmon Richards (No.82) 4/6 (1 DB, 1 INT)
David Njoku (No.86) 3/4

One third of Kaaya’s attempts went to wide receiver Stacy Coley. Coley is a speedster who does his best work over the middle of the field and down the sideline as a vertical threat. It’s clear that Kaaya has a connection with Coley that he does not have with anyone else. The Kaaya-Coley duo is the heart of Miami’s passing offense. Beyond Coley, Kaaya was liberal with his distribution. He spread the ball around to tight ends, running backs and other wide receivers evenly. Kaaya did not have major issues throwing to any of his targets, either, which is an encouraging bit of data.

Brad Kaaya was not bad against Florida State, but he did not do enough to put the ‘Canes in a strong position to win. He left too many opportunities on the field and was not able to overcome his running backs not being able to run through Florida State’s defense. To this point, Miami’s offense was living through the success of their running game and Kaaya could not step up when the running game faltered. This game was an opportunity for Kaaya to prove that he could be a game changer and he did not fulfill that title. There are still a handful of big games on Miami’s schedule for Kaaya to prove his worth in, but this game could have been the most important of his career.

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