Yogi Roth: Luke Falk’s genius is most apparent before the throw

LUKE FALK led the nation in passing average (380.5 ypg) this past season and is expected to continue rewriting the record books in 2016 – but what Pac-12 analyst Yogi Roth likes most about Falk isn’t found in a box score.

“The thing that I love most about (Falk) and I saw it last year going to training camp,” said Roth. “I’ve known Peyton Bender for a long time. His arm talent is unique. I asked a couple of players what the difference was between the two players. Bender can spin it. He can make all the throws. What makes Luke unique is he has the ability to get people to follow him. I call it DQ, Dude Quality... Falk has the DQ to do great things for the Cougs.

“I think you can sense any starting quarterback when they walk into the room. But does he make everybody better? To me, that’s what I see with Luke Falk."

On the field, Falk’s reads before the snap, and his ability to go through his progressions, is what sets Falk apart for Roth.

"You don’t see him follow his favorite target,” said Roth. “It’s not like he’s throwing it to Gabe Marks every snap. He doing what the defense allows him to do, making the proper reads. He’s not just a progression quarterback going from 1 to 2 to 3. He’s got the ability to make pre-snap reads. He’s got the ability to go through his progressions and when there’s an option, to go to it.”

When comparing college quarterbacks, there are a myriad of evaluation tools. In Roth’s case, it’s often his DQ that separates one guy from the other.

“I think it’s the dream for every quarterback to walk up to the line of scrimmage and have full command,” said Roth. “The greatest skill set to me for any quarterback is confidence. But real confidence grounded in knowing what (the defense) is going to do, knowing what he can do and knowing he gets the call last. It’s not, ‘Look at me I’m sweet’.”

Is Falk one of the best in the country or simply another good QB plugged into Leach’s offense?

“No, I don’t think he’s a system quarterback,” said Roth. “Let me rephrase. I think every quarterback is a system quarterback. To me, that’s one of the phrases that makes me a little sick to my stomach when I hear it. A quarterback’s job is to walk into whatever situation he’s allowed to walk into whether it’s high school, college or the National Football League and asked to do what? To master their system.”

“It’s easy to criticize quarterbacks and call them system quarterbacks when they throw for a ridiculous amount of yards. You still have to put (the ball) on a spot and be anticipatory. You still have to understand defensive rotations. Whether you have 12 plays in your playbook or 20 plays or 30 plays or 300, you’re still asked to master it… Falk’s got great mastery over his system,” Roth said.

Not bad for a guy only halfway through his college eligibility. Falk will be a fourth-year junior this season.

“I’m a great fan,” said Roth.. “I don’t think he’s a chuck and duck guy. I understand what is being said when calling guys system quarterbacks who are basically just playing catch: Find the open spot and throw it to the receiver. That exists at some schools around the country.”

But not, Roth said, at Washington State.

“I think a misnomer is the lack of complexity at Washington State,” said Roth. “Yeah, they make it simple on their guys to understand, but they put a lot on the quarterback. When you really dive into how they teach the position it’s not just where there’s space throw the ball.  (Falk) has to understand what’s happening, what the defense is doing.

“Is (Falk) at the same level as teams running a "pro-style offense"? Probably not because they’re going at a little faster tempo and not asked to do as much pre-snap or post-snap but he’s not just going out and playing backyard football. You go out to the right, you go out to the left and I’ll decide who to throw to whoever is open. I don’t think he gets enough respect regarding his football intelligence. I think his football acumen is much higher than anyone not covering the Pac-12 would probably see.”

Roth breaks down the Pac-12 North, click here.

Roth breaks down the Pac-12 South, click here.

ABOUT YOGI ROTH: He directed “Life In A Walk” which is a film about Roth realizing he has not dealt with the emotions surrounding his father's battle with prostate cancer and he invites his father to take a walk, which changes their lives forever. He also produces a podcast, “Life Without Limits” which can be heard at: or downloaded from iTunes.


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