Dayne Crist to Wisconsin?

Dayne Crist to Wisconsin?

Submitted by hart20 on November 30th, 2011 at 2:08 PM

Word on other message boards (Scout, Rivals, NDNation) is that Dayne Crist is going to transfer to Wisconsin. Not as big as a get for Wisconsin as Wilson was but Crist is probably better than any other QB on that roster after Wilson leaves. Crist has 1 year of elgibility and will be able to transfer and play immediately just as Wilson did. He'd be able to play in ND's bowl game and then transfer in time for spring semester and be able to participate in spring practices.

If Rees decides to transfer too, it'd be pretty bad for ND. The ND depth chart at QB would be Hendrix and.... Not exactly the depth you would want when your QB is scrambling and taking hits as often as Hendrix would. 

You have to love Brian Kelly burning bridges.

What does the board think?

Scouting ND

Scouting ND

Submitted by SFBayAreaBlue on September 7th, 2011 at 12:00 AM

*edit: my embed-fu has failed, anyone know how to correctly embed youtube?

You? Again?

This week is going to be full of familiar faces.  ND's two deep is overflowing with juniors and seniors, and I could probably just rehash last year's game wraps (ND vs us, ND vs MSU) and only have to change a few names.  Well, let's do this:


ND on O


It's the passing spread.  Look for lots of short routes, screens, crossing routes, and when they get you in man coverage, look out for the sideline fly or wheel route.  If you play a soft zone, they'll leak out a late check down running back or tight end.  They like to use their big tight end as a possession receiver, but he's got enough speed for skinny posts and such.

The running game is almost exclusively from one-back sets.  If they need a lead blocker it'll be a TE, H-back, or pulling lineman.  Most of the running plays are built into the the passing game, play action dives, shotgun mesh, draws,  and the dreaded sprint draw. On obvious running downs, they tend to zone dive or counter.  And there's the odd stretch play from the shotgun.  


#11 Tommy Rees has been named the nominal starter, but between our blitzing and Brian Kelly's anger issues, I'd bet on seeing #10 Dayne Crist for at least a handful of series. Crist is the 5* golden boy and senior.  But he's been plagued by injuries and only has about 10 starts to his name (and he sat behind Jimmah! Clausen for much of his career).  Rees is the baby faced redshirt sophomore who led the team to a short winning streak last season.  

Crist is a bit taller and heavier.  But he's very athletic.  Neither of them are very fiery, rah rah guys, but Rees is the cooler customer and if it were up to me, he'd be my starter and Crist would be a tight end that we could design a lot of trick plays around.  Why?  Just look into their eyes...



I used to think that Crist looked that way because of a series of concussions.  But now I think it's like how your mom used to say, 'if you keep making that face, it'll stay that way.'  Crist looks befuddled.  He looks like he's got the weight of the world on his shoulders and he can't figure out what to do about it.  Rees is calm and collected and gives the impression that he's focused on executing.  Crist looks like he's focused on not screwing up.  

Some people toughen up when you put them under pressure, some people crack.  You want your QB to be more towards a wild stallion, a risk taking, confident gunslinger with the eyes of a tiger. As a coach, it's a better problem to have to keep reigning in the guy, than having to dig your spurs in deep to light a fire under his ass. 

So which of these two looks like someone who can deal with what's coming for him, and which looks like a horse whose spirit has been broken?



And if you think I'm cherry picking, Crist stood in that pose nearly the whole time he was on the sideline (is there something wrong with his shoulder pads?), with no one really around him, and Rees looked like that on most snaps as he reads the defense. 

If that furrowed brow looks familiar, you might be thinking of this guy:


#20. It's the Cierre Wood show for ND these days.  Apparently Kelly likes to have one main workhorse.  And sad to say, Wood is a more complete back than anyone we have.  His pass blocking isn't all that great, you could probably bull rush him or jump over him if he goes low.  But he's got everything else you want in a back.  He's super fast, shifty, great vision, soft hands, and leg strength.  You're not going to be pulling him down by tugging on his jersey.  

He's not the biggest guy in the world, so ND will bring in #25 Jonas Gray for short yardage situations or as a battering ram to soften up the defense for a few plays.  Folks around here will remember when Gray got passed over for Mike Cox (who has fallen off the face of the earth since the advent of Hoke).  Gray has bulked up *cough*foundsteroids*cough*cough* since then, but he's still got great straight line speed, you know, when he's not being stood up and having the ball ripped from his hands for 99 yard fumble return touchdowns...

We're really going to have to focus on Wood, the front seven will have a huge task in following him around.  Hopefully he'll get tired later in the game, stamina might be an issue for a guy who might still be getting acclimated to having full time starter duties.  He didn't look winded last week, but there were all those weather delays... I'd have a guy tackle/hit him on every play just to try to wear him out, even if he doesn't have the ball.  Make him block people.  Big people, big angry people, big angry people who weigh more than him.  And don't let him get into the endzone, because he's kind of a douche when he gets there.


This should be a penalty if he does it again. 


#80 is the new starter, filling in for Rudolph.  He's not as fast, but he's got very good hands  and is a pass catching threat over the middle.  He had one drop on a pass that was behind him, and a couple of passes were broken up by good coverage, but he's going to be a concern.  

Here's Kelly showing him the finer points of catching a ball thrown to your back hip:


"Heeeeeeey Macrena!"

#83 is the other TE, who looks ok, if not spectacular. 


Dear god, why is this guy still suiting up against us? #3 Michael Floyd should be off in the pro's or enjoying a redshirt year to think about the meaning of life and his DUI's.  He's All-American material when he's not injured  and will end up owning just about every meaningful receiving record in ND history.  USF couldn't stop him, and they tried just about everything.  They tried playing soft, so they threw him underneath stuff.  They tried playing tight, so they threw him a sideline fade.  They tried to beat him up with a LB and cover over the top with a safety, so he juked out the LB and ran a sharp slant.  

The only thing that really stopped him, other than Crist's inaccuracy, was being bracketed by two DB's, but you just can't do that all they time or other people will start to kill you.  The only bad thing I can say about his on the field behavior is that he's been known to take plays off in the past.  If you can get into his head, and keep him frustrated, you might be able to limit his damage.  

Mental problems are also rampant with the other WR's.  #7 Jones was the guy that had the ball bounce off his helmet which almost caused Brian Kelly's head to explode


He's a little lanky with good speed and decent hands (when he's looking for the ball).  


#6 Riddick is the slot receiver, converted rb, and his hands are not so good.  He muffed two punts and had numerous drops.  Both muffs were after he signaled for a fair catch but had a guy standing in front of him. I would be ordering our punters to practice high but short punts and figure the chances of getting a muff are worth 10 to 15 yards of punt distance, especially since we're no longer running the spread punt, and our gunners haven't been very good.  With the ball in his hands, Riddick is a dangerous runner.  So be wary of him on screens, and short routes.  





Not much to say here.  They're more on the large rather than nimble side of the spectrum. Good run blockers, decent pass blockers, but with Rees getting rid of the ball so quickly from the shotgun, they don't need to hold their blocks very long.  Kelly still can't run his complete inside screen game with these guys, and didn't even call many (any?) during the USF game.  

The right tackle #75 looks to be the most vulnerable. He doesn't have very good lateral movement. I suspect you could set him up for a few speed rushes.  Otherwise, they're a pretty good veteran group.  Boo.

ND on D


This will be one of the biggest and strongest D-lines we face all year.  #9 is an especially large wide-body, he reminds me of Jerry Ball.  They looked pretty tough in short yardage.  This isn't the game where we should be grinding out 3 yards and a cloud of dust.  Again, lots of upperclassmen on the two deep here.  On the goal-line, the middle three will submarine allowing Teo and Co. to jump over the scrum.  


What more can I say about #5 Teo?  Get a body on him, and design your plays based on where he's gonna be.  Don't let him use that killer speed.  He will blow things up, although he did have a relatively quiet game against USF.  Still had a bunch of tackles and a sack or two.  

The OLB's are probably the weak link.  They had trouble with contain, except for when the defensive play call sold out on the edges.  ND likes to use the 4-3 and for early downs and even for shorter 3rd downs, so if we use many 3 WR sets, we'll likely see an OLB over one of our slot guys.  We should take advantage of this.  


These are the same guys that have failed to impress me for the last three years, and about the only thing that's changed is that they're a year older.  They're pretty good in run support, the CB's are fairly athletic.  But the safeties are very beatable with the talent we have at WR. 


  • They still run the spread punt formation, which I always think is ripe for a block.  Send 3 men against the smallest upback and runover the punter. You might get a penalty once, but the odds of getting a block or even a TD might be worth it, depending on the situation. 
  • For a team that is full of upperclassmen, they looked really undisciplined.  I wonder if Kelly's outbursts are falling on deaf prima donna ears.  Turnovers, penalties, the whole team played tight.  Sometimes it seems like they're so afraid of making mistakes, that they end up making a lot of mistakes. 
  • Crist played the first half, when it was dry, so you can't blame his problems on the rain.  You might chalk it up to the heat, or first game jitters, but I tend to think he just doesn't have "it"
  • By the same token, the field was pretty slippery in the second half when Floyd was doing most of his damage.  So you might discount his production a tiny bit, if it weren't for the fact that we already knew he was a beast. 
  • 99 yards of ND's offense came on the final drive with less than 2 minutes when USF was playing pretty soft, already up by 10.
  • Floyd didn't hustle on the final onsides kick.  He had a chance to sacrifice his body and jump up for the ball, instead it was the USF guy flying through the air to end the game. 
  • I think Brian Kelly gets excited when he's angry. 



Observations from the USF-Notre Dame Game

Observations from the USF-Notre Dame Game

Submitted by hart20 on September 4th, 2011 at 4:02 PM

While I wasn't watching the Michigan game yesterday, I spent my time watching the ND game. I talked a ND friend who watched the whole ND game, and I thought I'd post some observations from USF-ND.



1.      Notre Dame Offense

a.       Crist was horrible.  He was late on throws and he just wasn’t accurate. His interception was completely on him, the ball was thrown way behind the receiver.  He was pulled at halftime.  He was 7/15 for 95 yards with 1 pick.

b.      Rees was better than Crist, but not that much better. He was 24/34 for 296 yards, with 2 TDs and 2 picks. His 2nd TD came on when the game was pretty much in hand.  I’d expect Rees to start next weekend.

c.       Cierre Wood (RB) was good. 21 carries for 104 yards, his first time going over 100 yards in 14 games.  3 receptions for 44 yards too.

d.      According to my ND friend, Wood’s back up, Jonas Gray, was horrible. Gray’s stats: 4 carries for 17 yards. He also had a fumble on the goal line that went back for 6.

e.       ND’s O-line let everything through. ND was only sacked 2 times, but it felt like USF was getting pressure at will. My ND friend said that the left side was good but the right side sucked. Look for blitzes to the right side next week.

f.       Michael Floyd was amazing. 12 receptions, 154 yards, 2 TDs. Although the second TD came with the game pretty much in hand. Still that stat line is amazing. He was double covered most of the night too. He’s definitely going to give us trouble next week. Although last year we held him to only 51 yards receiving.

g.       TJ Jones (WR) comes in on rotation, TE goes out he comes in. He’s average. Not going to kill us, but you still have to watch out for him.

h.      Theo Riddick (WR, PR) sucked at everything. He dropped passes, he muffed punts. I think we’ll see someone else returning punts for ND next week.

i.        Eifert (TE) was above average. He dropped some passes, but he had some good catches too. 6 receptions, 93 yards. He’s definitely not Rudolph, but he’s still a threat. I’d say he’s definitely the #2 receiving threat on ND.

2.      Notre Dame Defense

a.       They had some trouble with BJ Daniels, a mobile QB. There were some times he scrambled 5, 6 yards to pick up the first. If it was Denard scrambling on those plays, he could have easily gone for 20.

b.      The zone defense was exploited. There were some holes in the zone. ND friend said it was on the DC, not the players.

c.       ND’s run D was nothing special. They only allowed 3.0 yards a carry, and 126 yards rushing but I think if you looked at rushing outside of the red zone, YPC would jump up. It felt like USF was running the ball for 4, 5 yards outside the red zone but once they got in the red zone, they were stopped.

d.      The Pass D couldn’t stop the out routes. USF had their way with ND on out routes.

e.       The Pass D also gave up no long balls, the longest USF reception was 18 yards.

f.       My ND friend said that Te’o was the best defensive player, but that he didn’t play very well.

g.       My ND friend said the D line was not good enough to stop the run until they got to the goal line, and on passing downs they didn’t get much penetration.


3.      Notre Dame Special Teams

a.       Missed a 30 yard field goal. Their kicker was 18 of 19 last year, so I expect that it was the weather. I’m betting he’ll be better next week.

b.      The punting was terrible. The kicker average 34 yards on the night, but he had a couple of punts around 23 yards each.

c.       The punt returning was not good. 2 punt returns, 2 muffed punts. One was lost, the other recovered for negative yards. Like I said, I expect them to have a different PR next week.

d.      KRs nothing special. Return of about 25 yards each time.

e.       KR and PR coverage was decent. No big plays, but no bad plays either.


4.      Notre Dame Problems

a.       ND friend said offense moved well with Cierre Wood in, and when passes weren’t dropped. The turnovers, 5 of them, killed the offense and lost the game.

b.      The defense was not as good as last year. Out routes killed them. Holes in zone exploited.

c.       The biggest problem was the turnovers. They gave the USF offense great field position. ND had almost double the yardage of USF, but that was because USF probably started close to the 50 yard line most of the time.

d.      Penalties.  8 penalties for 73 yards. And they were bad, really stupid penalties too. Pass interference and late hits.


5.      Brian Kelly is a major douche bag.

a.       I know this was already covered earlier, but damn! Before I hated Brian Kelly because he was ND’s coach, now I hate Brian Kelly because he’s Brian Kelly.

b.      My ND friend refuses to see it though, I tried everything to show him the light, but to no avail.

c.       Him being an asshole like that is going to come back and bite him in the ass.

d.      I really like this line from MGoBlog user Yeoman, ”…but I think the fundamental difference is that when Bo yelled at you it was because you'd let down your teammates. When Kelly yells it's because you've let down Brian Kelly.”


6.      My ND friend on Damefan’s blog: “This shit is weird.”


I think that covers most of it. The players on ND's offense to watch for next week are definitely Michael Floyd and Cierre Wood. On ND' s defense, Manti Te'o. If you disagree with something, if I'm wrong about something, or if I missed something let me know so I can fix it or add it.

I think UTL will be a close game, but I think that we'll win. We'll see a lot of blitzes to the right of ND's line, and most of their yards will come from the air. I think we'll be able to run it fairly well and that Denard will be able to get some long scrambles on both broken plays and designed plays. A significant amount of our yards will come from the air, if I had to guess.

 I called USF to beat ND, and I'm calling their final record to be 8-4. I'm predicting us to go 10-2, for what it's worth.


Edit: Sorry for the crappy indentation. When I go to fix it, everything is still properly indented.

Tapdancing Crist: ND names starter

Tapdancing Crist: ND names starter

Submitted by BiSB on August 23rd, 2011 at 2:32 PM

Brian Kelly announced that Dayne Crist will be starting at QB over Tommy Rees.  Not wholly unexpected, but interesting nonetheless...

EDIT: Stats for those who are curious:

Crist : 174 of 294 (59%), 2033 yards (6.91 YPA) 15 TD / 7 INT.

Rees 100 of 164 (61%), 1106 yards (6.74 YPA) 12 TD / 8 INT.

Scouting ND: Random notes vs. Purdue

Scouting ND: Random notes vs. Purdue

Submitted by SFBayAreaBlue on September 7th, 2010 at 1:34 PM

After watching the ND vs. Purdue game, my fear/paranoia level has dropped dramatically.  Here's some scouting notes:

ND Offense: 

The strength of their team is the running back position.  The wide receivers are serviceable, but Crist as a first year starter doesn't look ready to take advantage of their ability yet. 


#5 Armando Allen is their most experienced RB.  He's their best pass blocker and does just about everything pretty decently. 

#20 Wood, dynamic, shifty runner.  Reminds me of vincent smith.  Doesn't have great hands, not as big of a threat in the passing game.  Usually gets pulled for allen on third down. 


#9 Rudolph, looks to have put on some bulk from last year.  But by the same token, seems to have lost some speed.  Soft hands, makes for a good possession receiver from 5-10 yards.  ND likes to use him on drags over the middle and outs and ins from an 'extended' TE position

#3 Floyd.  Still big, still fast, still got great jumping ability.  Unfortunately for him, Crist doesn't seem able to hit him on a fly.  Twice they tried a double move, with crist missing badly.  Somethings not right with their timing.  But he's a huge threat on deep hooks and other sit down routes against a zone.

Kamara something duvall something.  Lanky kid,  seemed serviceable. Could cause mismatches against shorter db's.


Crist, He's a big athletic pro style QB.  Sucks for him that he's running a spread option.  He doesn't really have a feel for reading the DE.  He's got good speed once he knows where he wants to go, but he's not shifty by any means.  He's much closer in ability to Steven Threet than Tate Forcier when it comes to running.

Big strong arm.  But it's surprising that he doesn't have better touch on the long balls for being a pocket passer.  Perhaps it was just first game jitters.


The interior linemen seemed ok.  But again the problem is that they're not designed to do what the offense is trying to do.  These are big strong, slow, kids.  They get a pretty good push up the middle on running plays.  But time and again they missed downfield blocks due to a lack of speed.  Craig Roh should have a field day speed rushing around the tackles on either side coming from a 2 point stance. He might get pushed around a bit if he's down in a 3 point stance, however.


The spread that kelly runs is different than ours, but similar enough that our defense should be able to recognize and blow up plays pretty quickly.  Plus they won't be going up against denard, so they'll be pretty happy about that.  The #1 threat is the running back.  Most times on the read option, crist will hand off, since he doesn't read the end well.  And ND called many designed runs, even when there was a QB/RB mesh handoff.  Their coachers are probably well aware of crist's limitations in the run game.

There were a variety of draws and tricky ways to get the ball to the RB, including our favorite counter draw that saw MSU tear us up a few years back.  The RB will line up at a variety of depths when in the shotgun.  Sometimes, nearly in a pistol formation.  The further back he is, the more likely it will be a run play.  If he lines up 3 yards directly to the side of the QB, it's going to be a lateral motion mesh.  If he's closer, like 1 yard, then watch out for the counters and traps. 

Due to their lack of speed on the OL, they cannot run the wide screens like we can now.  Screens will be toward the middle of the field, so it's important that our linebackers pursue inside out and not get too sideways, since they'll be coming back against the grain. Most of their passes were hitches and crosses, square ins.  Crist is at his best when he's got a stationary target he can rifle it to. 

ND Defense:

This is a very different mindset from last year.  Gone are the bazillion blitzes.  They do look much improved on D, but they were coming from pretty far back, so there's still a lot of weaknesses to attack.  (hmmm... that sounds vaguely familiar)


Hard to tell.  Big and strong, not so swift.  Had a couple sacks where the DLinemen managed to shed a block.  But Purdue spent the entire afternoon running bootlegs, so the DL didn't factor in much. 

They did this one crazyass play on third down where no one was in a three point stance and all the front seven were bouncing around trying to confuse the pass protection.  Purdue promptly ran it for like 20 yards.  I doubt we'll see much of that this week.


#5 Teo, the kid from Hawaii, is still their best athlete.  He has a good instinct for the game and great speed to get where he wants.  But he's usually out of control, relying too much on his athleticism.  He doesn't breakdown and make a solid tackle.  he's more like a loose missle.  He can be juked.

#45 A run stopper. Good straight line speed. Not very fast on the edge.  Reminds me of Obi ezeh. 

#59? OLB. Smith He's a weak link.  Not good at maintaining contain.  can be sucked in on reverses and read options.  Denard should have a field day running circles around him.


Mostly played off the ball.  Were good in run support.  Look like they don't have the speed to run with our receivers.  ND played a soft zone much of the time. Can be beaten deep.


Hard to tell.  Marve didn't throw deep down the middle often since he was always rolling out.  These guys were mostly back in a cover two all day.


We match up really well against them.  Better than last year even.  It looks like their offense is not ready to take advantage of our depleted secondary.  I'd have floyd doubled whenever possible, have obi knock rudolph to the ground on every release, and have the rest of the team keying the running backs, or better yet, blitzing into the running backs on passing plays to blow up any draws. 

Our dilithium fueled offense, (*now with passing attack!) should be able to put up at 35 on these guys. 

It's still ND, at ND, so there's always concerns about shenanigans in their sheleighlies, but on paper we should win this game by a couple of TD's.  So of course I expect a wild shootout with us winning by a mere point. 

gawd I love college football!

Notes on 2010 Big Ten and Other QBs

Notes on 2010 Big Ten and Other QBs

Submitted by MCalibur on July 19th, 2010 at 2:02 AM

Author note: This got long. Real long. My bad.

In this diary I build off of the foundation laid out in the White Rainbow entry over the weekend to size up the QB around the Big Ten as well as other QBs of particular interest to Michigan. This is a list of player expectations going into the season based on the investigations I’ve conducted previously. This list is presented in order of worst to best expected year end pass efficiency for each category.

Before I begin, I wanted to share a technique for ranking QBs that came to me after I published the White Rainbow diary. In that diary I talk about how I think passer rating does a decent enough job at determining large differences between players but a poor job at distinguishing subtle differences between them. Well, after playing with the numbers a bit, it looks like taking the average ranking for all four categories yields a method for differentiating players with similar QB ratings but vastly different subjective quality.

The following table* shows an excerpt of the NCAA QB rankings for the 2009 season.










1 Tim Tebow, Florida QB SR 164.17 67.83 9.22 6.69 1.59
2 Kellen Moore, Boise St. QB SO 161.65 64.27 8.2 9.05 0.7
3 Jimmy Clausen, Notre Dame QB JR 161.42 68 8.76 6.59 0.94
22 Scott Tolzien, Wisconsin QB JR 142.99 64.33 8.25 4.88 3.35
23 Daryll Clark, Penn St. QB SR 142.64 60.89 7.88 6.3 2.62
25 Kirk Cousins, Michigan St. QB SO 142.63 60.37 8.17 5.79 2.74
48 Richard Stanzi, Iowa QB JR 131.62 56.25 7.95 5.59 4.93
51 Joey Elliott, Purdue QB SR 131.13 61.66 6.99 5.08 3
57 Juice Williams, Illinois QB SR 129.38 57.71 7.19 5.29 3.08
58 Mike Kafka, Northwestern QB SR 129.25 64.84 6.97 3.25 2.44
59 Terrelle Pryor, Ohio St. QB SO 128.91 56.61 7.1 6.1 3.73
64 Tate Forcier, Michigan QB FR 128.15 58.72 7.3 4.63 3.56
67 Ben Chappell, Indiana QB JR 126.44 62.62 6.87 3.97 3.5
98 Adam Weber, Minnesota QB JR 114.66 52.04 7.04 3.54 4.09

If you take that same data and rank each player for each of the four categories then average that ranking, you end up with what I’m calling the QB Prism Score yielding the following final ranking.



QB Prism Score

Mcalibur Rank

Jimmy Clausen, Notre Dame 3 6.75 1
Kellen Moore, Boise St. 2 8.5 2
Tim Tebow, Florida 1 8.75 3
Daryll Clark, Penn St. 23 31.25 21
Kirk Cousins, Michigan St. 25 33.5 24
Scott Tolzien, Wisconsin 22 37.75 34
Joey Elliott, Purdue 51 50.25 44
Mike Kafka, Northwestern 58 52.75 48
Juice Williams, Illinois 57 58 57
Richard Stanzi, Iowa 48 60 62
Terrelle Pryor, Ohio St. 59 61.75 64
Ben Chappell, Indiana 67 62.5 67
Tate Forcier, Michigan 64 62.75 68
Adam Weber, Minnesota 98 85 100

Notice how this technique improves differentiation between similar QBs using the exact same data and very simple math (rank and average). At the very top we see that the all three guys had awesome numbers, but Tebow had the worst INT % of all of them. The method distinguished Clausen as a higher overall performer than Moore and Tebow.

A similar thing occurs when looking at Big Ten QBs. The traditional passer rating ranks Daryll Clark, Kirk Cousins, and Scott Tolzien as virtually identical passers; Prism score separates them substantially.

Now look at the log jam between Ricky Stanzy and Ben Chappell; only 5 passer rating points seperate 7 players. The Prism Score breaks these into main groups: Elliot-Kafka and Williams-Stanzi-Pryor-Chappell-Forcier.

Some bunching still exists but the bunches are smaller.

Anyway, I thought that might be a useful and easy technique for people who are so inclined to apply. On with the purpose of this diary.


Returning Players

adamweber-001 Adam Weber, SR, Minnesota

Adam was ranked 98 - of - 100 in NCAA passer rating for 2009. I would actually rank him 100 - of - 100. His completion percentage, yards per attempt, and interception rate were terrible, especially for a redshirt Junior in his third year as starter. His touchdown rate ... I'll be good and listen to Thumper's dad ("if you don't have anything nice to say..."). Eric Decker did get hurt, but that's not the reason Weber wasn't throwing TDs. Of his 13 TDs last year, 5 were to Decker, 5 were against Michigan State, and the other 3 were flukes. OK, so that last part was mean. Recall that MSU's secondary was worse than Michigan's in 2009.

Going into 2009, Minnesota had 10 returning offensive starters available to them; that was a mature squad. My previous QB-centric work has shown that by year 3 as starter, QBs are what they are. Adam Weber is bad at passing. Phil Steele thinks Weber will end his career on a high note, I don't. Alas, I think Thumper's dad is disappointed in me.

Side Note: Minnesota's D only has 2 players returning and Phil Steele points out that they play USC, Penn St., Ohio St., and Iowa at home so they'll have to go on the road in order to try and win. That's just mean. Short Minnesota; with leverage. When do we play them again? Oh ... sweet.

rickystanzi Ricky Stanzi, SR, Iowa

I make no bones about it; I think Stanzi is hugely over rated. He throws a worse ball than Brady Quinn and is inaccurate to boot. I tried to find a picture of him throwing a pick but couldn’t confirm the result of the pass shown. There’s a 5% chance that what you’re looking at is a pick (no joke) so I’m assuming that it is until proven otherwise. Relax, I’m mostly kidding.

Anyway, last year he actually had the highest rating of the next four QB in this list, which were in a tight cluster, but his high YPA and solid TD rate obscured the fact that his completion percentage and INT rate were the worst of the bunch. The two categories he was good in, YPA and TD rate, are highly influenced by things outside of the QB himself (receiving corps, O-Line, run game, opposing defense). The two things he has direct influence over, Cmp % and Int rate, he was really bad in.

Coming into his third year as starter he should improve somewhat and has McNutt and DJK returning but loses Bulaga and Moeaki. Net, net, I think Iowa sees modest improvement in their passing efficiency. The problem is, they need more than that.

Now excuse me, I’m about to get kicked out of the country by the Americanzis.

BenChappell-1Ben Chappell, SR, Indiana

Apparently, I hate senior quarterbacks with oodles of experience. That has nothing to do with the fact that Michigan doesn’t have any, I swear.

In all honestly, I think Chappell is a fine QB and a great find for Indiana. He has progressed nicely so far and should take another step forward this year if Indiana’s O-Line can absorb the losses of two 4-year starters. Maybe, maybe not.

As far as the quality of his passer rating he is the opposite of Stanzi; He did the things he could control (Cmp %, Int %) well, but didn’t do so well in the things he needed help in (YPA, TD %). The latter two categories should take a step forward this year as IU’s top 5 WRs return this year. Again, if the O-line holds up IU should be a pretty saucy passing team.

All in all, I expect there to be a significant gap between Stanzi and Chappell. He’s slotted here because the support he has around him isn’t as good as that of the others ahead of him.

tateforcier Tate Forcier, SO, Michigan

Originally I was going to do a spotlight diary on Forcier similar to one I’m working on for Denard Robinson but, since Forcier is more of a known quantity in terms of style and actual production evaluating his prospects is much more straight forward.

As most Michigan fans know, Forcier was a Godsend for Rich Rodriguez in 2009. From his pedigree to his tutelage by Marv Marinovich to his early enrollment, Forcier’s freshman performance didn’t exactly come without signal. Based on my previous work on QB maturation, Forcier’s freshman year was solidly that of an average true freshman 5 star recruit which is well above that of the typical first year starter. Considering that 5 star QB recruits almost always go to very good, if not elite, football programs and are therefore surrounded by elite and mostly mature talent (see Chad Henne), Forcier proved that all the fanfare that accompanied his arrival in Ann Arbor wasn’t just optimistic hype. And he sustained a meaningful injury to his throwing shoulder early in the season.

What’s more remarkable to me is that as polished as he was, he still showed room for tremendous growth. In terms of performance metrics Forcier was ahead of schedule in completion percentage and YPA, and he met expectations for TD rate and INT rate. The four picks he threw in the Ohio State game took his INT rate from 2.5% to 3.5%. If he had maintained the INT rate had going into the game—resulting in 1 INT and 3 INC instead of 4 INTs—his final passer rating would have been 2 points higher with all else being equal.

Those keeping track will note that, true to his hype, Forcier was ahead of schedule in terms of the self-controlled parameters (Comp. %, INT %) and solid in the team help parameters (YPA, TD %). Michigan has a stable of high potential receivers with extensive starting experience and development time and also has the best offensive line it has had since 2007. With reasonable personal development and the supporting cast he has around him, Forcier has every opportunity to be all Big Ten this year. Michigan might not have a senior QB in the strict sense, but it has one in the practical sense.

As insurance against Michigan slappy-ism, I’m placing him further down the list than I think he’ll end up.


Terrelle Pryor, JR, Ohio State

Say what you want about TP, no one would think twice about him if he weren’t a baller. As a true freshman, he a had a high passer rating that met the long term quality thresholds establish in the White Rainbow diary. Last year was a step back statistically for him as he regressed in completion percentage, YPA, and INT rate; his TD rate remained solid though. The regression makes some sense between the expansion of his responsibilities in OSU’s offense and the breaking in of new contributors at the skill positions.

Another difference between his freshman and sophomore years is that Pryor ran less often in 2009. This is a bad idea; if Pryor is allowed to flash his running ability explicitly, opposing defenses must respect the threat which would leave easy opportunities in the passing game. Josh Nesbitt is the uber-example of this effect. Nesbitt rarely throws and is inaccurate (46.3%) when he does, but when he connects, the result is a big play. Nesbitt’s YPA in 2009 was a staggering 10.5 accompanied by a good TD rate (6.2%) and solid INT rate (3.1%). I’m pretty sure Nebitt’s YPA was the highest (by over a yard!) in the FBS, and certainly the highest in BCS conferences. He’s not a great passer, but that doesn’t stop him from doing extensive damage when he throws.

This season Ohio State has everybody coming back except for the tight end. Pryos has already shown how much damage he can do when he puts it all together; if you don’t know, ask Oregon. This year he will be better and will have high quality support around him. The result is likely to be an emetic wave of OSU/Pryor hype. Chin up though, chances are that this is his last year on campus.

cousins rubs butts with team mate Kirk Cousins, JR, Michigan St.

Cousin’s superiority over Keith Nichol in 2009 was apparent to everyone except Mark Dantonio. Maybe Dantonio had a problem with the fact that it looks like Cousins likes to rub his butt up against his lineman’s during a wind up. Personally, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. Even though it was his first year as starter, Cousins put up the numbers of a seasoned veteran. His YPA of 8.1 was above the threshold of good QB play, and his Comp.%, TD rate, and INT rate were just a hair’s width away from the thresholds; that’s close enough.

Coming into 2010, Cousins will lose his top receiver in Blair White along with a bunch of other knuckleheads who ain’t going out like dat, son. But, because of Dantonio’s preference for only disciplining players that are either expendable or not worth the heat of benevolence, Cousins has some good to very good WRs retuning in B.J. Cunningham and Mark Dell, along with non-knucklehead Keshawn Martin.

The challenge for Cousins will be finding enough time to hook up with his receivers. MSU loses 3 starters from a so-so offensive line in 2009. I don’t expect that to slow Cousins down too much though.

scotttolzien Scott Tolzien, SR, Wisconsin

Tolzien and Cousins were neck-and-neck for best returning passers and based on 2009 numbers alone, Cousins actually wins. Both had the same-ish YPA and Tolzien had a better completion percentage, but Cousins had a better TD rate and lower INT rate along with an adequate completion percentage. However, when you look at the team Tolzien has coming with him, his prospects for 2010 look higher and that give him the nod in my book.

The Badgers have a monster offensive line coming back all of which are either returning starters of have substantial starting experience. Running back John Clay was the Offensive Player of the Year in 2009. Tolzien has his top wide receiver back, too. So yeah, there’s absolutely no reason why Wisconsin’s passing attack shouldn’t be very, very good this year.

I don’t have much else to say except that I think Bucky Badger is dumb, and that makes me feel better. What? That’s totally germane to the topic of this diary.


nathan-scheelhaase Nathan Scheelhaase, RS-FR, Illinois

Scheelhasse was a 4 star recruit who also received offers from Iowa, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and bunch of other solid programs according to Rivals. That’s solid endorsement, but his supporting cast is likely to be a drag. The Illini need to establish all new receivers this season and also need to replace two multi-year starters on the O-line. Beyond that, Illinois is bringing in a new offensive coordinator this year, so there are strong headwinds against Scheelhaase.

kevinnewsomeKevin Newsome, SO, Penn State

Despite grim sounding early returns, 4-star and one time Michigan recruit Kevin Newsome should be the guy for Penn State this year. He has been around for a year and therefore has time invested in a collegiate strength and conditioning program, play book study time, technique development. Penn State has to find a new combination at O-line, but there’s plenty of talent available to make that happen. They have their top 2 WRs retuning as well as really good running back in Evan Royster to take the heat off.



Dan Persa, RS-JR, Northwestern

Persa was a 2-star recruit in 2007 who’s biggest offer besides NW came from West Virginia. So, theoretically, Rich Rodriguez thought this guy had some skillz. Northwestern has a solid supporting cast around him with all 5 starters on the O-line returning this year, as well has two WRs who each caught more than 40 balls last year and the teams leading RB (Kafka was the team’s rushing leader in 2009). I wouldn’t be surprised if he ended up having a better year than all of these guys.


Robert Marve, RS-JR, Purdue

Marve originally committed to Miami (FL) as a 4 star recruit in the class of 2007. He also received offers from Purdue,  Michigan State, and Alabama. He started as a RS-SO at Miami but split time heavily with Jacory Harris. He was suspended for the first game in 2008 for disciplinary reasons related to his arrest for a misdemeanor mischief charge during his redshirt year. He was also suspended for the bowl game for missing class. Oops, I got carried away with the Google-stalking. What can I say, I was fascinated. Besides, I think its worth wondering how this kid handles adversity. This is basically the anti-Tom Brady story.

He transferred because of an apparent falling out with HC Randy Shannon; but Jacory Harris flat out beat him head to head that year. Marve was pretty inaccurate (54.5%) and had an extremely high INT rate (6.1%) and a low YPA (6.0). Marve is coming off a torn ACL suffered just before fall camp last year. His knee is probably fine now, but he had to have missed a lot of pratice time rehabbing his knee rather than working on his accuracy and timing with the receivers.

If he’s grown up since his Miami days Marve has a shot at being the best new QB in the Big Ten saving for a certain someone. Purdue returns the Big Ten’s most prolific WR of 2009, Keith Smith, but is pretty thin at OL.  The running game took a big hit when Robert Bolden tore his ACL this spring so a lot of pressure will be put on Marve to produce.

Other QBs of Interest


Kyle Havens, 5th Yr, UMass

I wasn’t going to write anything about UMass because they’re an FCS team that was sub-500 last year and who lost their top rusher and receiver from that team, but then I saw this video from the spring and figured people might get a kick out of it. Madre. Same team, dude.

Anyway, I thought it’d be rude to link that video and not do a write up so here it goes. Havens was actually a 3-star JUCO recruit in 2009. He played in and started 10 games last year but his prism stats were terrible: 55.3% Completion percentage, 7.2 YPA (OK, I guess), 3.4% TD Rate, 5.7% INT Rate. That’s against FCS competition.

Bowling_Green_2 Random Bowling Green RS-FR

BGSU had a crazy prolific passing attack last year. They’re all gone, only 4 offensive starters are back this year. As far as QB there are four guys vying for the gig: Matt Schilz, RS-FR, 3 star; Aaron Pankratz, RS-FR, 2 star; Kellen Pagel, RS-FR, not ranked; Caleb Watkins, FR, 2 star.

Pankratz is the only guy to have thrown the ball in a college game (13 attempts), but Schilz was purported to have the inside edge in the spring. Watkins had a bunch of offers from MAC teams, but, his Rivals profile also lists Michigan, Ohio State, Tennessee, Illinois, Indiana, and Cincinnati, for whatever that’s worth.

zachfrazer Zach Frazer, RS-SR, Connecticut

Frazer is another senior QB with a lot of experience that I’m turning my nose up at. It’s not me, it’s him. I promise. This will be his 3rd year with meaningful playing time as a starter. His passer rating for the last two years has been dreadful: 103 in 2008, 116 in 2009. Running those numbers through the prism shows that he was indeed a bad passer. Last year was an improvement over 2008 as he improved his completion percentage, YPA and TD rate by normal amounts while improving his INT rate by a large amount. Unfortunately, all of those numbers were bad save for TD rate which was sligtly below average.

This year Frazer has a solid to good RB and an experienced offensive line returning but loses his top 2 WRs from last year. Frazer should be able to improve is Cmp % and INT rate of his own accord, but he has a significant way to go in order to reach high quality veteran numbers and this is his last year to do it. As for YPA and TD rate, my opinion is that you need help from the rest of the offense to get good numbers there, and while the O-line and running game should be solid, having 2 new starting WRs to break in will cut into the progression there.

daynecrist Dayne Crist, RS-SO, Notre Dame

The Notre Dame offense has a lot going on this off season, new head coach, new offensive scheme,  and a new starting QB. Sounds like a tough transition, huh? I actually don’t think so. I don’t see the transition from a Pro Style offense to a Passing Spread to be all that different. Both systems need guys who can pass block, throw, and catch; Notre Dame has all of that, in spades. Crist is a new starter but he was a 5 star recruit who has been on campus working out and improving his technique for two years. Sure, he has to learn a new playbook but Brian Kelly’s system is notoriously simple making it easier for inexperienced players to step right in and be effective. Crist will have a whole off season to learn the system. Sure, he won’t be flawless out of the gate, but I can’t imagine that he’ll be a liability either.

As for the team around him, Crist and Kelly inherit Michael Floyd and Kyle Rudolph who have already established themselves as elite players at their positions. The O-line has three 4-star recruits returning as starters and the other two spots are likely to be filled with 4-star recruits as well. The retained talent fits the new system like a tailor made glove lined with memory foam. Are we really to believe that Brian Kelly wouldn’t have recruited these players himself?

Some people look at Notre Dame in 2010 and see a situation similar to what Rich Rodriguez walked into at Michigan in 2008. They are wrong. Oh, so wrong.


And there it is. I’d love to hear other people’s thoughts on these players, how big a threat they pose to Michigan’s secondary, and anything I may have overlooked/understated in my assessments. Also any feedback on the Prism Score would be helpful as well.

*Can someone please explain to me how to format tables so they show up with Maize and Blue row and column headers? I’ve tried many things, I’ve failed many times.

/desperate plea for assistance.

Enemy Spring Game Highlights

Enemy Spring Game Highlights

Submitted by Thorin on April 24th, 2010 at 10:04 PM

Edit: Added ND's Blue-Gold Game and BTN highlights from other assorted teams that we hate. MGoVideo will probably have torrents of OSU, MSU, PSU. So far, there's a TYT release of the Wisconsin spring game:

I wonder what the redneck rocker would say about the pink numbers.