A look forward to Denard Next Year

Submitted by tasnyder01 on November 22nd, 2010 at 5:06 PM

[please tell me if you think that these stats need to be manipulated better.  I’m still working on the ideas behind these concepts, and any ideas are welcome.  This is meant to be a look to his likely stats next year through stats and deduction.  I will continue to try and do this with other players and units as the off-season starts.  Any ideas for further analysis helps.]

Denard Robinson:


He’s already set the record for most rushing yards in a season, on a 6.8 yards/attempt average.  Let’s admit that he’s most likely not going to do that again, although I’d bet his average will stay around the same.  Because he’s a more athletic version of Pat White, I’ll use those stats to try and show what I think Denard will do on the ground.

Pat White had 197 attempts for 1335 yards at 6.8 YPC his junior year.  I would imagine that Denard would have about the same stats.  So, we’ll get a drop in yardage by about 100 yards, but this will be made up by his throwing stats I’d assume.

Other things to note:

  1. Denard still does not scramble very often.  Vince Young, Pat White, and others did this much more and were able to get a lot of yards of scrambles.  As Denard gets another year under his belt, I’d expect much more scrambling and bigger gains.  This will, of course, help open the passing lanes.
  2. Denard runs the iso and zone read a lot.  I don’t know how many times White ran it, or V. Young, but I think Denard has many more designed runs than any other QB has had.  This will most likely get cut down because of his injuries this year, Dee Hart coming in, and his passing game getting better.  With that being said, on to the…


 (I wanted to take passing stats from players who are like Denard.  I believe these are the closest guys to him.)


As most of us know, Denard doesn't throw the long ball as well as we'd like him to.  He does not use much touch yet, and this is something that we can expect growth on in the off-season.  He throws the short passes decently, but without the deep ball threat he's still not 100% effective.  There have been great throws, but they are too few.  The long ball will be one development, but along with throwing the ball deep, we get a much higher chance of INTs.  Based on this, I wanted to try and predict Denard's INT totals for next year from other prolific running QBs.  Below are the stats and their significance.

Int thrown/100 passes by year in the league:

Player Freshman Soph Junior Senior
Vince Young N/A 4 3 N/A
Troy Smith 2.5 1.6 1.9 N/A
J. Russell N/A 2.7 2.9 2.3
D. Dixon N/A 2.8 4.3 1.5
C. Newton N/A N/A 3 N/A
P. White 4.3 3.8 1.8 2.5

Denard is at 4.3 INT/100 attempts

If you look at the stats you’ll see that Denard’s average is about where V. Young was in his sophomore year.  Young then made an impressive downswing of one less interception thrown every 100 passes.  However, when you look at the total averages there isn’t much of a jump from sophomore to junior year.  
Dixon’s stats are the ones which screw this up, so if you throw out that outlier you do get a decent jump in INT/100 passes.

Assuming Dixon’s stats are a outlier, we can expect Denard to throw about 1 less interception per 100 attempts.  He’s going to have about 250 attempts this season so that’s 2.5 less interceptions next year.  Assuming he throws 300 passes, that’s 9 interceptions next year.  (Vince Young had 10 the season he won his Heisman.)


Denard should have around 1400 rushing yards at about 7 YPC.  I believe he will have less designed runs, but more sneaks.  He will also throw about 9 INTs next year, when I believe he'll have just shy of 300 attempts.




November 22nd, 2010 at 5:21 PM ^

with two years left of development for denard, one thing i do want to see going forward is improvement in his ability to read and adjust according to defenses

i can't recall seeing denard calling many (if any) audibles at the line of scrimmage

on some of the plays against wisconsin, they were read options; however, wisconsin was in a flat cover zero.  what i hope to happen with a junior or senior denard is him recognizing the coverage and audible into a PA seam route


November 22nd, 2010 at 5:53 PM ^

the play i was referring to specially was on the first play of a drive, both wisconsin safeties shifted down into the box

i do notice that the coaches are changing up the plays from the sideline, but on a standard first and ten play like that, denard needs to look up and realize both safeties are in the box against a called read option and send the slot on a seam route

M. Stansfield

November 23rd, 2010 at 2:31 AM ^

First off RR changes the plays after he sees the defensive alignment. Second, as a point of reference, Henne wasn't calling audibles at the line until his junior year. I definitely agree that he should pick up on what the d is giving him by next year, but I'm not sure RR will give him the option to change plays on his own. Maybe someone else knows whether or not he ever gave Pat White the option to audible into better plays.


November 22nd, 2010 at 5:35 PM ^

I think it's in our best interest for Denards rushing yards to go down. It probably indicates less attempts which probably leads to less injuries and indicates improved performance from our running backs. Gaudy stats win heismans, competence from all units win titles.

True Blue in CO

November 22nd, 2010 at 5:40 PM ^

Denard will still get plays calls that have more options.  He did show some nice touch on some longer passes on Saturday and assuming he gets more confidence in himself, he will see the field better and know he has more choices that include his arm and his feet.


November 22nd, 2010 at 9:00 PM ^

I've done some foundation work on these questions already. Check out these diaries in particular.

A couple of points of criticism (that word is more harsh than I would like but, thesauri are just too damn bothersome for my mood right now):

  1. There's no reason to compare Denard only to the QBs you've chosen when judging his progression as a passer. Why aren't Mike Kafka, or Jake Locker, or Drew Tate, or, or, or included? They should be, otherwise you're cherry picking for better and for worse. I'd go further and argue that style of play has nothing to do with the development of a player's passing skills.
  2. On one hand you say that that we shouldn't assume that Denard can average 6.8 yard-per-carry again but on the other you say that Pat White's numbers are what we should expect. Pat White averaged 6.8 ypc or better each of his 3 seasons in Rich Rod's offense...why can't Denard?
  3. I think you're right that Denard's total rushing yardage is likely to go down but mostly because it's such a high number to begin with. Seriously, what he's done this year is ridiculous. If M establishes another threat out of the backfield (Dee Hart or Fitz Toussaint or Mike Shaw or dude X) then Denard's carries will probably go down but his average can go up since guys that spy on him will have to keep track of someone else...there's no reason to expect otherwise at this point. 

Then again, who need's a reason, amirite?


November 23rd, 2010 at 9:25 AM ^

I appreciate the effort, but no offense, I think "What this means" is not much really. We've been really stat-happy on this board lately, and I think we need to be a lot more careful about our conclusions and implications. We're talking about a tiny sample size and so much error and extraneous variables that it makes my head spin to even contemplate any serious statistical analysis with these data.

What I hope/expect to see next year is for Denard to continue to make progress with his reads, accuracy (especially touch on longer throws), and comfort/nerves. If we have a more balanced offense with the passing and running game becoming more consistent and more of a threat, I envision fewer carries but more YPC, as defenses will have to respect the run/pass and he'll have more open lanes to break big ones. Once he does that it'll open up the passing game even more, creating a PERPETUAL SCORING MACHINE.


November 23rd, 2010 at 3:41 PM ^

I think its safe to say we've had some improvement and tons of bad luck.

We would screw ourselves doing another complete change as most the coaches are RR's friends/crew, not to say they'd all quit but it would be a total mess.

Am I happy at where the team is or the defense meh... not necessarily but I can understand some of the reasons.  At least RR has admitted some of his initial mistakes that had bothered me.

Personally I think if we were to change coaches Dave Brandon will set it up to be done when his contract expires.  I don't see us getting worse next year and while we all want to go 10-1 7-5 or 8-5 or 7-6 beats where we were.

Had we done anything in the first half and not had our injury bug continue(smith/martin down in wiscy game) we'd be a bit better, anywho...