I did not make this headline up
So there I was, shooting around earlier this afternoon in the IM building with my roommate. I scanned the courts to see if there were any worthy challengers for some two and two. Besides IM building employees cleaning up instant scheduling for racquetball, and a couple kids per hoop, there were a couple guys at the far end of the courts throwing a football. I took a closer look at the taller guy of the two. He was decked out in michigan gear and he had that familiar grizzly beard. At this point I was not mistaken it was Steven Threet. He could tell that I recognized him as I kept looking over. Sadly, his throws looked no better than those dying ducks he was throwing against Toledo. At first I felt a twinge of sadness for this guy. He goes from the starting quarterback of Michigan to tossing a ball around with his friend hoping to not lose that feeling of throwing the ball. He gradually extended his distance to the court I was playing on, but his throws did not improve. I really do hope Threet finds a school that fits his skill set. He has had a terrible run of luck with coaching changes. Even though Threet gave us a mix of highs and lows he really does seem to have a passion for the game and I think he should go to a school that has a stable coaching situation.
Enough wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth regarding Steven Threet’s departure.
While I believe he could have developed into a competent quarterback (does anyone else see John Navarre parallels with this guy?) it’s still obvious that he was a square peg in a round hole in Michigan’s spread offense. His growth and development would have come at the expense of the whole offense.
So we face the likelihood of a true freshman starting at QB. Certainly not the preferred option, but an investigation of numbers shows that it can be survivable. I’ve got an analysis that says that if Tate Forcier gives Michigan the average output that BCS level true freshman QBs have given since 2003, it’ll be a vast improvement over last year. In fact, if U-M had that output last year, it likely would’ve meant 3-4 more wins. Put your faith in numbers, ladies and gentlemen.
I looked at the NCAA stats website and found that since 2003, there have been ten true freshman starting QBs at BCS level schools. This includes Sam Bradford from Oklahoma a couple years ago, as well as Chad Henne at U-M. However, it also includes two QBs from Duke, which barely qualifies as a BCS level program. This is how they fared, with averages at the bottom (my inexperience with formatting issues prevents me from making this more clear, so bear with me):
Year Cmp. Att. Pct. Yds. TD INT Wins Losses
Sam Bradford, Okla. 2007 237 341 69.5% 3121 36 8 11 3
Matthew Stafford, UGA 2006 135 256 52.7% 1749 7 13 9 4
Chad Henne, MICH 2004 240 399 60.2% 2743 25 12 9 3
Chris Leak, Fla. 2003 190 320 59.4% 2435 16 11 8 5
Josh Freeman, K St. 2006 140 270 51.9% 1780 6 15 7 6
Reggie Ball, Ga. Tech 2003 181 350 51.7% 1996 10 11 7 6
Brady Quinn, UND 2003 157 332 47.3% 1831 9 15 5 7
Jimmy Clausen, UND 2007 138 245 56.3% 1254 7 6 3 9
Zack Asack, Duke 2005 90 180 50.0% 966 5 8 1 10
Thaddeus Lewis, Duke 2006 180 340 52.9% 2134 11 16 0 12
Season Averages 168.8 303.3 55.7% 2000.9 13.2 11.5 6.0 6.5
The data is sorted by the number of wins posted that season by the representative teams. It could be said that Bradford, Henne, Leak and (to a lesser extent) Stafford each played with considerable talent that gave them better numbers than they would’ve had otherwise. It could also be said that this table includes two Duke QBs and two frosh Domers who pulled the numbers down. That’s why the averages are important.
Let’s look at what our guys Threet and Sheridan did last year:
Year Cmp. Att. Pct. Yds. TD INT Wins Losses
Steven Threet 2008 102 200 51.0% 1105 9 7 2 6
Nick Sheridan 2008 63 137 46.0% 613 2 5 1 3
Season Totals 165 337 49.0% 1718 11 12 3 9
So, uh, not that well.
Now, let’s make some assumptions regarding the upcoming season:
1) Tate Forcier comes in and performs at the average level of the QBs listed above, with the requisite TD and INT percentages.
2) However, because he is a freshman, he eases into the season before taking over completely at midseason – playing the equivalent of about 8 games.
3) Nick Sheridan actually improves to where Sheridan ≠ DEATH, but maybe Sheridan = Threet 2008 (which might be near death). He starts or plays significantly early in the season, but total PT is about 4 games. Again, with the requisite TD and INT percentages.
4) The last assumption would be to assume about 25 pass attempts a game.
How would such a scenario look?
Year Cmp. Att. Pct. Yds. TD INT
Tate Forcier (projected) 2009 112 200 56.0% 1319 8.7 7.6
Nick Sheridan (projected) 2009 77 150 51.3% 829 6.8 5.3
Season Totals 189 350 54.0% 2148 15.5 12.8
That is a huge improvement over last season. And I think it’s a reasonable base expectation for QB production in 2009.
I think what’s most important to look at in these numbers is the increase in completions, passing yards and TDs. Similar numbers last year would have meant, at a minimum, more sustained offensive drives, a few more third-down conversions and maybe 2-4 more first downs a game. Those things alone might have been enough to make a difference against Toledo, Purdue and Northwestern last year. The increase in the number of TD passes from last year’s 11 to 15-16 might have made the difference in the MSU and Utah games.
I know there are a lot of assumptions here, but it’s clear that poor QB play was probably the difference between a 3-9 season and a potential 6-6 or 7-5 season. Honestly, I think a best-case scenario for QB production this year might be like 2003 Chris Leak at Florida, and a worst-case would be like 2003 Reggie Ball at Georgia Tech.
I did like Threet, and I believe he had the potential, because of his experience, to post numbers similar to what I have here. However, it would’ve come at the expense of the offense that RichRod is trying to employ.
Let go of the angst, Wolverine fans. If Michigan gets mediocre production from the QB, things will likely improve greatly.
I started liking the allusion of Steven Threet as John McClane - a competent, skilled professional thrust into a role he never could have expected with a completely different set of rules and a constant, grumpy boss of sorts on the sidelines criticizing up and down his actions. And sometimes UM fans would see him hit or throwing or hit or intercepted and it's easy to think back to watching McClane walking over broken glass... you knew it sucked but it had to happen to beat the bad guys. And I'm sure even Threet must have thought "Yippee-Ki-Yay Motherfuckers" when he lead UM over Wisconsin, especially when he awkwardly galloped 40 yards or so before hilariously covering the ball with chin, arms, elbows, knees, EVERYTHING TO AVOID FUMBLING to the amusement (and relief) of us all. But McClane wins at the end. He throws a guy off a building, gets the girl and then finds himself in some horrible, semi-similar airport situation blablabla. Imagine if John McClane had just found an open fire door, helped some heavily armed SWAT cop just out of the academy in and then walked off for a Slurpee. This metaphor sucks (Who's Carl Winslow in that season?) but you get the idea:
It was painful, he didn't expect to be there, he was there, he shot some bad guys, he got banged up pretty bad, but he didn't save the day.
And we have to be okay with that.
One thing of note to add as an addendum to Brian's post is that by his own admission Threet was isolating himself completely from anything sports media related while taking counsel from one of the most derided, albeit successful, QBs in recent UM history - John Navarre. Sometimes quarterbacks seek to play big football and are horrified to see that with it comes a duty of sorts to the public to not only succeed but to put up with criticisms. Something like the sins of the father, high profile football, particularly at a school like UM that rides their QBs harder than (insert inappropriate joke) can frustrate and dampen a young quarterback's positivity. With the fact that every major newspaper reporting on Forcier included a tidbit about how grateful he was to have the "help" and "teaching" of Sheridan and Threet, almost in a way that could be read as condescending, I would not be shocked if an heir apparent emerged in Ann Arbor the day winter semester began and, with the writing on the wall and a high profile position barely in grasp, though assuredly nowhere near in hand come 2010, Threet left.
For now I have one simple request: Tate Forcier watches all 3 Die Hards, sees how they end and, maybe, takes out a grim faced revolutionary with a stellar performance. If he wants to QB sneak in the OSU game by strapping the football to his back with wrapping tape - I'm all for it. Just finish the damn movie.* Because right now we're all watching a team limp over broken glass and it really...really sucks.
*And that he brings along Samuel L Jackson. And leaves behind the Apple computer kid.
here is the link
This rumor's genesis is a random post on MLive which their Mods have since deleted. It has been bounced around the internet message board vacuum chamber for 2 days. We make no claim as to it's "voracity", but we know that the absurdly negligent Mods of MLive felt it didn't deserve to see the light of day.
The post stands, as we tire of deleting them, and someone else will post it.
As the season comes to a close this Saturday I thought about the last three months and started thinking of some questions.
I thought about how it may have turned out differently if one, two or an untold number of things would have fallen into place or turned out in a different way.
Of course, this serves no practical application other than the pure sport of conjecture and debate, but still, if you're bored at work or just desperate for something else to comment on, have at it.
1. What happens if Terrelle Pryor signs with Michigan? He obviously starts, but how much better does Michigan do?
2. If Lloyd Carr had not retired, what would our record be this year? Would Michigan be better or, given the departures last year, about the same?
3. If Michigan played Utah again at this point in the season, would we win or has Utah progressed that much more throughout the season?
4. If Threet starts from the opener and stays healthy throughout the season, does it get us another win or two?
5. What happens next year?
So, yea, just some things to think about.
This post is, by no means, a declaration of anger about what has transpired this season. I just like to think about how things may have worked out under different circumstances.
Martin said today that he went down to practice this morning and to talk to RichRod about Saturday. He then went on to say,"We're not going to have a quarterback Saturday," then mumbled, shook his head, and cursed the football gods. I assume Threet isn't getting over his concussion, and it is indeed Sheridan [Feagin?] who will play QB.
Saturday will be an absolute joy.