Jimmystats: Projecting Patterson and Peters Comment Count

Seth April 25th, 2018 at 12:27 PM


How up is up? [Bryan Fuller/Patrick Barron]

In the last spring football bits, and then in the podcast, I mentioned that I’d pulled the sophomore/redshirt freshman stats of a couple decades of quarterbacks we know in order to put our two 2016 signal-callers’ 2017s in perspective. I figure I should show that work.

I was trying to answer two questions: where did Peters/Patterson rank among other QBs their age, and what’s a standard progression for a guy who started his second year upon entering his third?

1. Shea and Brandon vs Other 2nd year QBs

Bless Foxsports.com for keeping sack stats with quarterbacks. I wish I’d taken rushing stats too but alas I only grabbed the passing stuff.

There’s going to be a lot of noise in here so a few things as you peruse:

  1. Some of the weirder results were low sample sizes. I only counted 100 or more attempts, so like Tate Forcier 2010 didn’t make the cut and Peters just did barely. Still I shaded in red a few to beware.
  2. I have them ranked by “Efficiency Percentile,” a junk stat I made up that’s 49% sack-adjusted yards per attempt, 23% each touchdown and interception rate, and 5% completion rating, normalized as a percentile among all the QB seasons (about 500 of them) I grabbed. The QBs are Big Ten mostly plus ND and Stanford guys Harbaugh coached. Kenpom Christmas colors apply: green is good, red is bad.
  3. I also showed completion %, sack rate, and college quarterback ratings, though they’re not included in the rankings.

The Kizer comp for Patterson is pretty close—I’m hesitant to give him Russell Wilson because Wilson had an extremely low interception rate, a trait which seems to presage NFL success. Shea…does not. The good news is the sack rate is correlated with so many things it’s impossible to say if Shea’s higher than normal rate of going down behind the line was indicative of anything. Sometimes it’s just a bad OL.

It was very possible for two QBs on the same team to have dramatically different sack rates. But the stat doesn’t give the reason. Sometimes that really was about poise:


Sometimes however it’s about which part of the schedule you got:


And sometimes it’s completely counter-intuitive:


Other than Denard most running QBs had high sack rates like Shea’s. I can’t tell you why—maybe those guys try escaping instead of throwing it away when under pressure, or maybe being part of the run game gets them sacked because of play-action. The highest sack rating I tracked was Braxton Miller in 2011. Two of the top four are notoriously stoic T.J. Ostrander seasons, and two more in the  top ten are 2007 Notre Dame (bad OL). It’s too much to unpack.

[Hit THE JUMP for the Peters projection]


As for Peters—and warning: low sample—he was not at the bottom but certainly in the mediocre range of guys his age.

T.C. Ostrander in 2004 (two years before Harbaugh) is the nearest comp except for that afore mentioned sack rate, since both were averse to interceptions. Tanner Lee’s year at Tulane, and Danny Etling at Purdue were a few other similar players at his age. However neither of those guys were as efficient as our guy. Expanding that to any class here are some quarterback seasons similar to last year with Peters:


Some duds in there but also plenty of “don’t give up on that guy!” Brian Hoyer had an NFL career after that. The reaction most got was “eh, fine,” unless it was coming from Penn State fans.

We might as well swing back to Patterson then.


You’d take any of those seasons.


Question 2: What’s a Standard Year 2-3 Progression?

My sample wasn’t really large enough to get good read on this because I would need a much larger sample. There were only 39 quarterbacks I pulled data for who had 100+ attempts in both their 2nd and 3rd season. A median improvement in my efficiency stat was +5%, but that could vary from +22% (Carlyle Holiday) to –17.7% (JT Barrett).


bliggering it makes it clicker

Red means they got worse, green means they got that much better. Shea would be starting between Kizer and Russell Wilson and peaking over the 70% line. Peters would starting next to Juice Williams, and a standard progression should see him get over the 50% line.

To make my projections I used the median percent change in each stat from this tiny sample and applied that to the sophomore/RS freshman seasons of Patterson and Peters. This is fraught with problems, for example INT rates generally went up with a rise in attempts and YPA. Is that a bad sample thing or is it 3rd year quarterbacks trying to do more?

Anyway the very salt-requiring standard progression should put Patterson just outside the top 25 best QB seasons in my study and Peters a bit below the middle.

Projected Shea would be in pretty strong company:


Projected Peters not so much:


I couldn’t include Brian Lewerke because of his freshman sample size, but he was another good comp for Peters. These guys don’t suck; they’re slightly below average starting quarterbacks. Patterson’s projection is more like “pretty good,” and getting into all-conference in a down year.

If you want the whole list it’s here:



April 25th, 2018 at 12:36 PM ^

Unlike most of those comps he started as the 3rd string QB greatly reducing his reps until there was no choice. He also played behind an epically poor pass pro line. There are some reasons for optimism there.


April 25th, 2018 at 12:50 PM ^

Idk why some people hate on Peters so much. He was basically put in a position to fail from the start. First of all, he was a RS freshman 3rd string QB who was forced into the starting job at the end of the season versus some good teams. He had little reps and chemistry with the starters and the OL and WRs he was given were very mediocre. Hard to be a good QB when your OL is terrible at pass pro and your best receivers are Grant Perry and a true freshman DPJ. His passing stats weren't great, but he didn't turn the ball over until the bowl game and BP starting also coincided with the rushing game finally clicking, which may or may not have had to do with the coaches not trusting Peters yet. Nevertheless, it wasn't a terrible season for BP despite what his stats show


April 25th, 2018 at 1:11 PM ^

This fanbase somehow turned on 3 QBs in one year, and I'm betting they'll turn on Patterson as well before the end of the year.

Peters was fine until the bowl game, and the whole offense sorta crapped the bed in that game. He held Michigan even with Wisconsin on the road and would have been way better against OSU than O'Korn, but he was still a guy deep on the depth chart who was thrown into the middle of a season with a lot of question marks around him on the offense as well. I still think he's the starter for at last part of the year, and the more I hear the type around Patterson from guys like Sam the more I'm thinking he struggles this year.


April 25th, 2018 at 1:18 PM ^

As long as we've simplified the offense a bit and made the throws easier on the QB. But if not I'm a bit worried about Patterson throwing fades and go routes all the time, and I think Peters is probably more suited for that type of offense. Hopefully we've simplified the offense a bit and shaped it Shea's strengths though


April 25th, 2018 at 1:26 PM ^

Shae could come in and be a world beater. However, Rudock came in from a system not radically different than what he was expected to come here, and started slowly. Rudock was also very smart. 


So it wouldn't shock me if Shae came in and had a slow start right from the get go, then, if he stays healthy, slowly gets better until it all 'clicks'. 


The problem is we start at a tough Notre Dame and keep going all season. 


April 25th, 2018 at 3:33 PM ^

That's true, but Rudock was older and still struggled for half the year.  And he wasn't bad at Iowa by any means - I'd say he had a more consistent year his last in Iowa than Patterson had at Ole Miss.

But yes, it's not like Patterson will come in and threw a half-dozen picks his first 2 games.  But I'm just not sold that a guy who has never run this particular offense in an actual game is going to be better than the guy who has for about half a season, and yet a decent chunk of this fanbase is loudly proclaiming both him and McCaffrey to be ahead of that guy.


April 25th, 2018 at 1:40 PM ^

Fortunately, I think that ND (like Florida last year) is significantly overrated.  Their D will be good, as they return a lot of starters to a good but not great defense that had poor safety play.  But their offense will struggle to start the season, and our defense is beastly.  They're starting a mediocre QB, lost their only proven WRs, and lost two first-round draft picks from their OL.  Don Brown is going to dial up the pressure and Wimbush is going to be under fire from minute 1.  Queue up the Yakety Sax.


April 25th, 2018 at 2:17 PM ^

I don't think Michigan can run that simplified of an offense and be effective, so they're going to need Patterson to be a little aggressive downfield and really be able to process a wide range of playcalls.  Which I think he can do, but not early on and probably not significantly better than Peters did in his first year in the offense.  Which means he'll make mistakes just like Peters and people will freak.

I think both Peters and Patterson are good QBs you can win with.  But after having watched a couple of those Ole Miss games, it's hard not to shake "Forcier, with a better arm" comparisons, and that type of player is going to drive people crazy sometimes.

Indiana Blue

April 25th, 2018 at 2:34 PM ^

the bowl game was Peters outlier ... and he did leave that game after a big hit.  In fact the offense really did not lose that game.  Once again the M defense faced a nothing QB who looked like the Super Bowl MVP for about an 18 minute stretch.  How the fuck does that seem to happen ... WAY too often.

Go Blue!


April 25th, 2018 at 10:17 PM ^

Harbaugh saw the wrong personel was in there and he did not call TO.  That fumble is his fault and he lost that game.

That is one thing that the Amazon series showed clearly:  JH is not a great in-game situation manager.

IF you look at the history of my comments here...Ive been saying that for years.

Overall a very good coach, but JH has to up his game to compete with the other good coaches in the B1G.


April 26th, 2018 at 12:34 PM ^

I mean, the series showed that he saw they did not have a FB in right before the snap. He might not have been able to get the to before the snap anyways. I am not sure how that shows he is not good at "in game situational coaching". A FB dive or trap was not a bad call in that situation... Unless you are saying that because the wrong package was in during one play proves your point you have been trying to make for years.
Moreover, like mentioned before, that play was not the fumble that turned the tide, that happened well before.


April 25th, 2018 at 2:10 PM ^

so rest assured, people will turn on no matter what QB we march out this year and people are going to be asking "Why isn't Milton starting? He's got a rocket arm bro" several times this year

The most popular QB in Ann Arbor is always the backup with no game reps. It was O'Korn for a while, then when the JOK experiment went south in a hurry it was Peters, now it's gonna be Dylan, soon it'll be Milton


April 25th, 2018 at 3:50 PM ^

Last year I fell for the "next man up" option. This year I am trying hard to decipher "Milton is looking great" for what it is. A relatively raw QB showing promise. That being said, it is easy to hear that view it as "Milton is progressing better than the rest and maybe he is better!!"  It's a setup. That being said, after watching ALL or Nothing, it became clear that Harbaugh was trying to protect JOK even though he knew he wasnt the answer. 


April 26th, 2018 at 12:40 PM ^

The Milton buzz should really be taken from the perspective that people thought he was so raw it would take him a few years to really push for playing time. However, he is looking like he us picking up things much faster than thought. But, he will still redshirt unless there are a few injuries.


April 25th, 2018 at 2:44 PM ^

our fanbase is neurotic. a vocal majority turned on Tom Brady. there were plenty of Navarre haters. Henne had his detractors.

and those are just some of the more recent, successful QBs (who had success against OSU and the conference). it's not surprising then to see our fanbase turn on less successful/younger QBs.


April 25th, 2018 at 2:33 PM ^

There is a difference between hating a player and hating Peter's devoted fans.

The amount of "We dont need Shea Patterson because we have Brandon Peters and DMac. A true QB will come out of that QB battle!" talk was fucking nonsensical fanboy shit. Those people are rare now but if you want to go creep some threads from Winter have at it.


April 25th, 2018 at 2:59 PM ^

who rewatched the bowl game?? It wasn't the OL, it wasn't the WRs--it was the QB! Period. 

There is no sense of urgency to his game. Everything looks painfully slow: decision-making, mechanics, etc.



April 25th, 2018 at 3:03 PM ^

I don't hate Peters.  I think Peters has a good arm, is a smart guy, is cool under pressure, and is capable of moving the offense.  I do not however think he has the ability to carry a team offensively, or to be a leader for a younger offensive team.  Meaning, he needs a strong running game and good recievers and protection to be successful.  If you give him that I think he can make all the throws.  But, I don't have the faith in our o-line and our WRs have yet to show they are up to the task.  I expect improvements in all of those catagories, but just not enough to be much better than average.  But, I would totally expect all of them to move from bad to average and with a good defense that's enough to win a bunch of games, just not enough to win the conference (and/or beat other good teams).


Shea does seem to have more moxie, can use his legs to deal with our poor pass protection, and is more of a playmaker.  So, he seems likely to be the starter if eligible unless he turns the ball over too much.  


April 26th, 2018 at 10:34 AM ^

Agreed, Peters has a lot of tools.  I think he has a lot of room to grow too.  But, I also think he needs time to operate.  He's not great when pressured, at least not yet.  I just don't think he's the kind of QB that will be that effective when there's not great protection, especially with younger WRs. 


Keep in mind that Griese had one of the best o-lines UM has ever had.  He had 2 All American o-lineman (Hutch & Jansen), another All B1G (Adami), and Backus who played in the NFL for almost 10 years, plus an All American TE (Tuman) to block for him.  I think Peters has more tools than Griese, but he will probably never have that level of o-line play to protect him.


April 26th, 2018 at 1:44 AM ^

And who did he lose to? When he went out vs. Wisconsin we had just missed out on the DPJ catch in the endzone that would have given us the lead. Against a top 10 team on the road. Yeah, that was mostly defense, but also with a poor running game and medicore WRs. Plus, if Peters wins the job, it means he beat out Shea, who we already know is pretty good.

Frank Chuck

April 26th, 2018 at 6:36 AM ^

Besides, if our HC (who is supposedly a QB guru) can't get competent play out of a QB who has been in his system for 3 years then what does that say about his reputation? Is it undeserved?

Harbaugh's reputation as a QB guru is built largely around the success of Andrew Luck and then reforming Alex Smith in the NFL. (Yes, I know about Josh Johnson from Harbaugh's USD days.)

Colin Kaepernick balled out in the NFL as a rookie starter in 2012 but then struggled after defenses adjusted to his abilities by 2014.

"2nd half Jake Rudock's greatness" is romanticized. Look up his game-by-game stats. Outside of the Rutgers, Indiana, and Florida game, Rudock's stats weren't impressive. And 2 of those 3 teams aren't quality teams.

Wilton Speight was much improved in 2016 but inconsistent. How much of that was injury in the final few games?

But what was Wilton's problem in 2017? Why was O'Korn so terrible throughout? Why wasn't Peters the back-up ahead of O'Korn despite being clearly better? Was that

For a coach with a reputation for generating great QB play, Harbaugh has been underwhelming at Michigan.

Consider this: Michigan has had a top-10 defense EVERY year under Harbaugh despite changing coordinators and then a mass attrition.

But in those same 3 years, Michigan has yet to have a top-35 offense in S&P+.

Things that make me go "Hmmmm..."


April 26th, 2018 at 9:16 AM ^

IMO your assessment is very much on target. On the offensive side of the ball there were issues all over the place-not just QB. Higdon was clearly the #1 back but there were Isaac and Evans eating away his carries...fumbling, curling up in a ball at the sight of a LB and never seeing a block to be made. And why the hell was Crawford on the field-did he ever make a play...let the kids play if those with experience can't get the job done. And then of course the o-line...OMG!!! I love many things about Harbaugh as a college coach but on the field he is not doing his players and team right at this time-at least last year.  

It was a gutless, chicken shit coaching year. I am a Allen Iverson fan when it comes to practice: Screw practice, play the players who will make the plays in real time when the game is on the line-that's what coaches are for...to teach and figure out who the real players are. 


April 26th, 2018 at 4:31 PM ^

This is exactly my sentiments that I've been saying to my UM friends since early to middle of last year when it became clear that the O-Line was trash and the WRs were clueless and nobody was getting better over the course of the season.


Harbaugh worshipers will probably have a panic attack and run to their safe spaces but ultimately he's the head coach. He's responsible for how this team plays on the field at the end of the day. And in 3 years his offenses have stunk. Last year was of course the worst of the three, but looking at how his offenses have been, the only possible, logical conclusion one can come to is "We're paying that much money for a head coach who produces results THAT mediocre??"


No the money isn't coming out of my pocket, so don't try to derail the point here.


The point is that UM went "all out" to get Harbaugh to restore the program to the elite levels of college football. But these kind of offensive results are easily achievable with far "inferior" coaches that are a dime a dozen. No don't tell me about how we had to go to our 3rd string, don't tell me about inuries, etc. It's the head coaches job to make sure that all the players are coached up, improved, and ready to go on game day, understanding the scheme, playbook, concepts, etc. And yet we have seen guys who've been in "the system" for 2+ years and still look totally lost on gameday. If he's such a "guru", then why are we only seeing mediocre offensive results with little to no improvement? Why is the O-Line STILL a train wreck?


No I'm not calling for him to be fired today. I am however firmly in camp that JH needs to get this offensive circus act together this upcoming season. It shouldn't take such an amazing coach more than 4 years to put together a quality offense. If he still can't get it together after four years, then it's POSSIBLE we may be looking at a Kirk Ferentz type of coach....not terrible, but not amazing...has a pretty decent run every 4-5 years when the team gets chock full of seniors but rarely punches above his weight (so to speak). 


Do I want this to be the outcome? Of course not! Don't be ridiculous. But I also refuse to wear the maize and blue rose colored glasses that espouse "everythings fine! We're the best because because....and.....JH!" I'm a realist and after so many years of crap football, through 3 differnet coaches, talk and reputation is cheap.


I'll fully buy in when I actually see the results on the field. Not "but we ALMOST won" results....actual results where we actually win the big games and beat our rivals. 


Hopefully this 4th time is the charm.


April 25th, 2018 at 12:36 PM ^

With running QBs, some designed runs and/or RPOs that were runs instead of passes got counted as sacks instead of a rushing play, because sometimes you just can’t tell. Accordingly, the sack rate gets inflated for these QBs.