American Football

Film room: The resurgent Bo Nix


Oregon Spring Football Game
Bo Nix | Photo by Ali Gradischer/Getty Images

Diving into the Oregon QB’s tape

When Bo Nix left Auburn his pro prospects look bleak. However, after a resurgent season at Oregon this past year, he’s firmly in the first-round discussion for the 2024 NFL Draft heading into the fall.

Nix set career highs across the board last year with a 71.9 completion percentage, 3,593 yards and 29 touchdowns. Those figures ranked first, fourth and third, respectively, among Pac-12 quarterbacks, and his 86.8 grade from Pro Football Focus was third-best, less than five points lower than Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams’.

The Duck’s arm strength and ability to make throws on the run were big reasons for his turnaround and both are pretty evident on his tape.

In this first clip, it looks like Oregon’s center snapped the ball early as the other four offensive linemen are still in their stances while the ball is snapped, allowing UCLA’s defensive tackle to essentially get a free rush.

However, Nix doesn’t panic and uses his feet to roll out to his right and buy some time. From there, he sees the boundary corner at the top of the screen is in man coverage with the wideout and the corner has his back to the quarterback. Without having his feet set, Nix fires a beautiful back-shoulder ball that has good velocity and is perfectly placed to turn what could have been a disaster into a first down.

This next play is a designed rollout or naked bootleg and Nix could set his feet to make this throw but opts to use a crow hop like an outfielder to help push the ball down the field. He ends up dropping a dime right on the hash mark for a pass that travels over 50 yards in the air and connets with a wide open receiver for a touchdown.

That’s a hell of a throw on the run with good accuracy and arm strength.

We’ll transition to more traditional pocket passes and here the Oregon product is going to deliver another beautiful deep ball.

The Bruins have their boundary corner at the bottom on the screen in man coverage against the Ducks’ wideout who does a nice job of getting a clean inside release off the line of scrimmage on the post route. In the backfield, they run a play-action fake and the offensive line gives Nix plenty of time to get this pass off.

To top it all off, he shows off that strong arm and hits the receiver right at the goal line for a 49-yard touchdown. You’d be hard-pressed to find a prettier pass on a post route than this one.

Here, we’re going to see Nix’s arm strength from a different perspective.

The Ducks are in the red zone so, obviously, he doesn’t need to push the ball down the field. However, throwing with velocity will help him beat the linebackers who bite fairly hard on the play-action fake.

Nix sees that the backers have come too far downhill and there’s a window between them that the slot receiver is about to enter on the slant route. He throws this ball with the perfect height and speed so that no defenders can get to it and it’s six points for the good guys. This was an absolute rope.

We’ll end with some impressive eye manipulation from our subject.

It’s fourth and four and Oregon is looking to put the game away in the beginning of the fourth quarter. It looks like UCLA is running a man-match coverage where the safety and wide corner at the top of the screen are going to follow the receivers and the slot corner drops into the curl-to-flat zone.

Nix sees that the slot corner is eyeing him and not the back out of the backfield running a wheel route, so Nix keeps his eyes in the middle of the field to hold that underneath defender or keep the defender away from the sideline.

Finally, the quarterback whips his head around, delivers a strike and lets the back do the rest to put the Ducks up by three possessions to start the final frame.

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