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.



July 19th, 2010 at 2:31 AM ^

Thank you for mentioning the difference between the RR and Kelly transitions.  I have been close to pulling my hair out lately listening to grumblings about transitioning to "THE spread offense" and having "a new quarterback" being reasons that 2010 ND and 2008 UM are the same beast.


July 19th, 2010 at 2:44 AM ^

Nice rundown. Tolzien should have a season like Stocco did in 2006, which, if true, could lead to a very good season for the Badgers. At the risk of using the word "solid" eleventy billion times, I'll just stop there.

The point you made about Persa being recruited by RR is interesting. Northwestern has churned out these types of quarterbacks recently (Bacher, Basanez, Kafka) and Persa should be another player of a similar caliber as those guys.

There doesn't seem to be a lot of pure star power at the QB position this year in the conference (other than Pryor), but most of these guys are pretty decent players. Having good QB play across the board can only help the conference get stronger. For example, looking at the SEC, I'd say from top to bottom ours are more than a little bit better. Hopefully that translates to some head-to-head victories come bowl season.


July 19th, 2010 at 3:33 AM ^

My only comment is on Dayne Crist. He was dreadful when he came in for Jimmy's toe last season. Deer in headlights dreadful. He appears to have all the physical attributes, but he was not even close to Jimmy when it came to processing reads and being comfortable with the speed of the game. If the snaps he took last season are any indication, it will take most of this season or longer for him to get close to Jimmy's level of proficiency. On the plus side, Crist is much more mobile than Jimmy and should be able to avoid the sackfest Jimmy suffered his first year.

Also, Floyd and Randolph very well might be the best WR and TE in the country, but ND had both of them last year. Of course, last year, ND also had Golden Tate. Even taking out the games Floyd missed due to injury, Jimmy had three elite receivers to throw to for about half the season, including the games they lost to UofM, Navy, Pitt, UConn and Stanford. Tate is now gone, which means Crist will have one fewer elite receiver to work with.

So, despite all the hype around BK and ND, I just do not see ND's offense being as productive this year as it was last year. Although all the experts seem to automatically dismiss the possibility, ND's offense easily could take a big step backward this year due to the loss of offensive talent and the need for returning players to fully adjust to BK and his system.


July 19th, 2010 at 11:49 AM ^

Isn't he coming off of an ACL tear last year as well? With Notre Dame starting new offensive linemen, in a new scheme, and hi coming off of an injury, he might take a bit longer to be comfortable and effective. Hopefully it doesnt start till after they play us.


July 20th, 2010 at 12:39 AM ^

ND's offense probably will take a step back this year, but they were ridiculous last year (Top 10).  Only three BCS conference programs had better offenses than ND in 2009: Texas Tech (471 ypg), Texas A&M (466 ypg), and Florida (458 ypg). So, ND could take a pretty huge step back and still be very good, say the Penn State or Michigan State level from last year. I figure 400 ypg; I'd be pleasantly surprised if they went lower than that. For reference Michigan was only good for 291 ypg of offense in 2008 (ranked 109 of 119).

I'm not saying Crist will necessarily hit the 139 level for passer rating, but guys like him in his situation hit 130 pretty consistently. Crist should be about as good as true freshman Tate Forcier;  maybe slightly better.

Remember Tate's development put him a year or so ahead of other people, Crist has had two years of training with Weis. Weis may have been inadequate as a Head Coach, but he can develop quarterbacks. Crist will be fine.


July 20th, 2010 at 9:52 AM ^

That sounds great on paper, except we all saw him play last year and he did not look anywhere near Tate Forcier 1.0 (pre-shoulder injury). Whatever development CW was laying on Crist, he didn't look all that impressive to me. And the teams he played against -- Nevada, MSU, Purdue, Washington State -- were not exactly the toughest ones on ND's schedule.


July 19th, 2010 at 9:09 AM ^

Nice rollup but I was dissapointed not to see anything on Denard. I realize his passing was hideous last year but when your highlighting Umass and BG what's one more blurb.


July 19th, 2010 at 10:45 AM ^

I have a stand alone diary on Denard coming. I mentioned it in passing in Forcier's section. Denard's situation is just too different from these QBs for this type of analysis to make sense for him. Should have it by the weekend.


July 19th, 2010 at 10:57 AM ^

I absloutely should have more patience but I'm in Iraq and MGOBLOG is how I pass my time until redeployment. Thanks to the drawdown Obama has given me the gift of UCONN this year and I will be in the Bighouse for kickoff. I couldn't agree with you more that Denard's situation is diferrent, he likely had more rushing attempts then passing last season.  I'm excited about what he displayed in the spring game even if it was against the twos and can't wait to see how camp shakes out. Looking forward to the diary.


July 19th, 2010 at 2:24 PM ^

bcoaker I appreciate your service to our country.  I am glad you will be at the Big House for the season opener- Be safe~

Great read McCaliber...I am hoping you are wrong about Crist however any comparisons between BK and RR first year are nonsense and very different in too many respects to be compared.


July 19th, 2010 at 3:20 PM ^

bcoaker, that sounds like me from last year.  I got back to my unit in Battle Creek at 3am before the Notre Dame game last year, hugged my parents, and drove to Ann Arbor for the game.  Hopefully you don't have my misfortune, however, in buying counterfeit tickets.

Transatlantic Flight

July 19th, 2010 at 10:24 AM ^

Not enough Thundercats in this post. However, really interesting analysis. I think the point about Tate having a lot of room for improvement is particularly interesting, considering the general sentiment of folks post-spring game that that wasn't the case on account of his polished high school training. 

As far as the prism score goes, I think it is useful in narrowing down differences between quarterbacks. I think one criticism is that if you are taking a straight average of those 4 categories it could still skew the picture. I am no statistics genius, but the cases of Pryor and Nesbitt seem like prime examples where the unweighted average does not tell the whole picture. I think that it is an essential problem of understanding what a good quarterback is, whether it is the stud athlete that makes big, game-changing plays and scores lots of touchdowns, or whether it is the smart player who is able to consistently make the passing attack of a team go. The prism seems to lean more toward the latter, but I think a more explicit focus on this would be useful.


July 19th, 2010 at 11:34 AM ^

I think a lot of the things said about Tate "not having a lot of room for improvement" were actually phrased more along the lines of "Tate doesnt have as high of a ceiling as Denard" which you may or may not agree with. Denard didnt have nearly as much training before college so it seems like he would have a lot more room for improvement, but compared to the "College starting quarterbacks at large" both Tate and Denard can progress quite a lot between their time as freshmen and their time as seniors. I'd expect the 2012 versions of DRob and Tate to be significantly better than their 2009 versions.


July 19th, 2010 at 11:58 AM ^

I love the breakdowns that are posted by some of the more gifted MGoBloggers. I know that some times they get a bit complex in their statistical analysis, but the use of graphs and simplified explanations means that the conclusions they are coming to can be understood by the gifted masses (MGoBloggers) and even the not so gifted (everyone else).  I know this has been brought up before, but why does it take blogs like this one to create these types of breakdowns.  Why are paid professionals paid to put their "opinion" down with very little explanation. Some are clever, but usually the wit in these posts easily matches/surpasses any in an espn post. It is no suprise that I come here first to get my news, and only go to ESPN and SI occasionally. My hope is that these types of blogs will push the sports writers to create better more informative content. Just wanted you to know that you are greatly appriciated and I wish that I could give you more than a +1 for your and others work.


July 20th, 2010 at 12:58 AM ^

Check out those links Oregon Alum pointed you to. The earlier one (QB Metamorphosis) just looks at straight passer rating and shows a steady, not necessarily linear, rate of improvement. I think the better one is the second diary (White Rainbow) because it tracks progression of each of the individual components that comprise passer rating. That information suggests that Frazer should be better this year.

BUT, something I should to point out is that QB are specific individuals so, averages can help guide us, but they aren't gospel. The team around the QB matters as much as the QB himself. The Chad Henne discussion in QB Metamorphosis is a good example.

Frazer is behind schedule in all four performance areas, he'll probably improve but that improvement will probably result in a mediocre passer. I'd be surprised if Cody Endres doesn't finish the year as starter for UConn.


July 19th, 2010 at 12:24 PM ^

Good stuff.  I have nothing to go by other than
Penn State's spring reports, but I have a suspicion that Paul Jones will be the starter by mid-season, if he doesn't get the nod earlier.  Having both him and Bolden RS doesn't make sense to me, and I think he's likely the better of the two freshmen (plus he's been on campus since January).  Unless they think Newsome is the long term answer (still seems raw to me), I think they just go ahead and stick Jones in and have him learn on the job. Newsome may have better grasp of playbook with a season under his belt, conditioning, etc, but Jones was a much more polished QB coming out of HS, IMO, and Newsome seems like an athlete that could play at WR.  At the very least, I think they'll split snaps against Youngstown and
Kent State. One of them will be a sacrificial lamb in
.  Then again, Newsome may prove me wrong, which is okay with me because 2 very talented QBs will be riding pine ...

Tolzien may not end up with the numbers Cousins ends up with as I don't think
will have to throw it as much to move the ball. They can grind the run game behind their line more than MSU can. 

's D is so stout, Stanzi doesn't need to be a world beater.  The INTs must be frustrating for the coaching staff.

I take it by Tate's position and potential All B10 call, you think he'll be the starter throughout the season?   My priorities for him: better ball security and better pocket composure. Both should come with the year of experience.


July 20th, 2010 at 1:05 AM ^

I'll have more to say about it in the Denard thing I'm putting together but, man, that's a tough call. I should have said that Tate has every opportunity to be All Big Ten if he indeed is given the opportunity. If he have one guy consistently taking the majority of the snaps, he'll have won a tough battle. Amen.


July 19th, 2010 at 12:57 PM ^

Good stuff, McCaliber.

The thing with Rick Stanzi, is he just wins, babby. The ultimate stat for a starting QB.

I think Cousins will have a bigtime year.


July 19th, 2010 at 2:03 PM ^

Tate played well above the generic freshman 4-star expectation last year, and without great pass protection. My question is where do you see "room for tremendous growth"?  I can see his stats getting significantly better, but I think most of that improvement would stem from factors outside his passing ability, like improved line play and being able to run the zone read better.


July 19th, 2010 at 5:54 PM ^

Don't dismiss the value of being able to run the zone read better.  The more effective the ground game is, the more the defense has to worry about it and the more opportunities there will be in the passing game as a result.  Not to mention the basic importance of our (potential) starting QB being highly proficient in running the bread-and-butter play of our offense.

Besides, coaches like shiny things as much as the next guy.  If Forcier's "prism numbers" don't improve, but the team wins 9 or 10 games with him as a starter, he's still got a great shot at All-Big-Ten honors.


July 20th, 2010 at 1:17 AM ^

On the subjective front, as others have pointed out, I think Tate will make major strides in pocket presence and decision making (the stuff Brian talks about Picture Pages).

With respect to the objective stuff, you're probably right. The development of the team around him will bolster Tate's numbers. But he can (and should) improve his completion %, TD Rate, and INT rate at the very least. Really, the step from the high 120's  to 140 is passer rating is a pretty big step, but it's not an upper limit, just a mature average.

The fact that Tate had a solid freshman year even though he was injured and he was a bit careless with the ball is very encouraging to me.


July 19th, 2010 at 2:06 PM ^


"The two things he has direct influence over, Cmp % and Int rate, he was really bad in."

Not defending Stanzi but rather that the wr has some influence over both completion % and INT rate.  If the QB puts the ball right where it should be and the wr drops it, the QB did everything right but his completion % is negatively affected. 

Int rate is an interesting one too.  If the wr doesn't run a good route and the QB puts the ball where the wr is supposed to be and it gets picked off, that int is actually the wr's fault.  More often then not, the fans watching the game won't even know the wr ran a bad route.  Only the players on the offensive side of the ball will know that the int was the wr's fault and not the QB's. 


July 20th, 2010 at 1:24 AM ^

I accept all of that, but if that stuff happens on a regular basis, those guys aren't going to play very much. So, I'm assuming that the coaching staff is behaving rationally and putting players that run the routes they are supposed to and make the catches they are supposed to more often than not.

I think McNutt and DJK are good receivers and don't provide Stanzi with that cover. I'll also point you to the gift he presented to Donovan Warren and the 5 picks he threw to Indiana. What you say is reasonable, I just don't think it applies to Stanzi.

Sextus Empiricus

July 19th, 2010 at 2:20 PM ^

not that we will see him...but I'm definitely paying more attention to the Huskers. I'm interested in their transition next year.  Lee was a JuCo...I wonder if JuCo development varies that much?  There probably isn't that much data.

Excellent...excellent...excellent.  Thanks for this.


July 20th, 2010 at 1:48 AM ^

Lee put up solid numbers last year, right where a first year starter should be in terms of the passer rating components. Frankly I'm impressed with his numbers because he was banged up a lot last year: he had surgery on his throwing arm after the season and also banged up his knee late in the year and broke the thumb of his non-throwing arm early in the year. So, he's a tough guy.

His top 3 WRs from last year is back and Nebraska's O-line only loses one stater (3-Yr starter at Center). Phil Steele expects this to be Pelini's best O-line so far. Zac Lee should be good, probably up there within shouting distance of Tolzien and Cousins.