Two Kinds of Speight

Submitted by MCalibur on August 9th, 2017 at 3:03 PM

[Ed-S: Bumped from diaries]

Well there's only two kinds of men: the one you love; the one you wish for. Try not to be deluded by that sweet and dreamy beginning. He will fool you. He will screw you.

-2 Kinds of Men, Marta Ren & The Groovelvets

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wilton-speight-re2pectPreach Marta, preach. It doesn’t take much bourbon—relatively speaking, of course—to understand this lyric.  See, Marta understands that ain’t no way that we can actually be happy. We must either lower our standards or move on to the next spin of a janky assed roulette wheel.

Yeah he’s got a good heart and he’s trying real hard to bring home those dubyas and rings we both so desperately want. But, even if it happens, who knows if he’ll even be there next week? Dude is just going to move on up and fail at baseball or marry some skinny chic strutting on a runway somewhere.  If you don’t love the one you have, then you’re wishing for the one you want. If you actually do love the one you have, then don’t get your hopes up that it will last. There’s only two kinds of men and both let you down. Thus sayeth the gospel of Marta Ren & The Groovelvets.

Don't take me and Marta’s word for it:

Speight was lethal, and terrible, and seemed to have little in between. He was very good for ten throws against Iowa and then fell off a cliff, and that was a microcosm of his play and the season. –mgoblog

In fairness to Wilton and QBs everywhere though, this lyric isn't fair. Football fans are impossible to appease. The best evaluation systems not only use absolute scales, but they also use relative scales and provide sufficient space to consider context. Most football fans inherently understand that putting up big numbers against a weak team must be taken with a grain of salt. The problem often is that a commensurate grain of salt isn't usually given to small numbers against strong teams. The comment often is: but what did you do against so and so?  This assessment is almost always absolute. And context? Please, if Herbstreit doesn’t talk about it on Gameday then it doesn’t matter.

Ok, Dear. Whatever you say.

[Hit THE JUMP right now or I swear I'll bump a Draftageddon over it]

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Absolute Gravity

wile-e-coyoteIn the comments section of last year’s QB round up I said the following in regards to the final 2017 passer rating for Michigan’s QB: “I'm going 140 based on the outside weapons, respectable running game, and play calling.” Also Harbaugh. In fact, Speight finished with an overall rating of 139.8. Yet, in retrospect, that feels like a let down. The reason is that Speight was bonkers (even when he was disappointing) before the wheels came off at Iowa (i.e: when he started playing good teams.). It felt like a let down because it was in fact a let down. We want consistency with neither ebbs nor flows. We want a fantasy.

Season Split Cmp Att Yds TD Int PRat
OOC 51 80 686 8 1 166.3
B1G Pre Iowa 98 151 1367 7 2 153.6
All Pre Iowa 149 231 2053 15 3 158.0
Iowa, OSU, FSU 55 100 485 3 4 97.6
ALL 204 331 2538 18 7 139.8

This whole section can be summed up thusly: we can’t be happy with Speight until beat beats OSU [/ducks]. Though I hate the concept, its hard to argue against it. There are no points for second best; every player worth their salt will trade stats for wins. Still, I say hogwash—context matters. Not enough to change the result but it matters.

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Grading on a Split Curve

Performing poorly when everyone else performs terribly bodes well for future performances. Of course, if everyone else isn't that good to begin with then maybe you do suck after all. The idea here is that you have to look at all the babies and their messy bibs before you start deciding what to keep and what to throw away. Let’s face it folks, some babies are in fact ugly.

The next table examines Speight’s individual performances against the teams he faced relative to how other passing attacks fared. Here’s the key for the column headings:

ponderPass Def S&P+: Opponent’s year end Defensive Passing S&P+ according to Football Outsiders.  The average S&P+ rating is 100. Here its only informative because in order to exclude bad pass defenses, we would have to exclude games played against Michigan State who was ranked near the bottom of all FBS teams. I don’t think any reasonable person would argue that games against MSU don’t count.

Typical PR: This is the average passer rating put up against the opponents by teams with Offensive Passing S&P+ scores of at least 90. The split here is a bit arbitrary but the idea is to discard very weak passing teams from altering our concept of normal. Poor performers lower the bar. We don’t care how good Speight is relative to all QBs, we care how he compares to solid or better QBs.

Speight PR: Straight forward; Wilton Speight's actual passer rating against the opponent.

Opp. Adj. PR:  The difference between Speight’s performance and the typical performance against the opponent. This give us the curve.

DSR and PFF: Values lifted directly from the Henne Chart in the Offensive UFRs.

Opponent Pass Def S&P+ Typical PR Speight PR Opp. Adj PR DSR PFF
Hawaii 93.0 168.2 231.4 63.2 73% -1.0
Central Florida 116.6 112.4 174.1 61.7 82% 1.0
Colorado 124.4 113.3 128.5 15.2 50% -3.5
Penn State 103.8 131.5 118.2 -13.3 68% 1.0
Wisconsin 120.1 105.5 124.1 18.5 57% -0.5
Rutgers 92.4 151.0 136.2 -14.9 67% 0.5
Illinois 94.0 133.7 190.7 57.0 79% 4.5
Michigan State 84.4 148.9 138.0 -11.0 70% 2.5
Maryland 95.5 118.1 233.4 115.3 88% 6.5
Iowa 117.3 121.8 67.9 -53.9 60% -1.5
Ohio State 125.4 125.7 122.2 -3.5 -- --
Florida State 118.8 129.7 94.7 -34.9 -- --

For me this passes the sniff test. There is broad agreement between OAPR and DSR with respect to what Speight's really good and not so good games were: Maryland on one hand, Iowa on the other. Of course there are games where the OAPR method gives Speight more credit than DSR does (Colorado, Wisconsin) and others where it’s less impressed (Michigan State). This is good, diversity is useful. Without two perspectives we can’t see in 3D; imagine what spiders can see.

walkermarquiseAnyway, DSR is the better method for myriad reasons. First, it considers play specific context that passer rating does not. Where passer rating only asks “was the pass completed?” (absolute scale) DSR asks “how much effort did the receiver need to exert to catch the pass?” (relative scale). The latter is a much better question but requires much more effort to answer. No, that’s not just another catch Marquis Walker made there, but passer rating has no idea.

Also, interceptions have huge leverage on single game passer rating. Altering an interception to an incompletion can swing single game passer rating 5-10 points. DSR distinguishes terrible decisions from bad bounces and therefore better mitigates this volatility.

I could keep going but I trust the point is made. Regardless, the OAPR method outlined above gets us closer to the truth even if it doesn’t get us all the way home. Besides, what if we don’t have an updated Henne Chart (cough)? What are we poor souls to do then, create our own? Don’t be ridiculous.

 

QB Performance Rosetta Stone

rosettaI probably missed the discussion somewhere along the way but I’ve never gotten a sense for what a good DSR number is. The good news is that there is the staggeringly strong correlation between DSR and PFF. The only real disagreements are Hawaii and Central Florida. When all available games are included the R-squared value is rather high at about 0.70. When Hawaii and UCF are excluded R-squared jumps to 0.96. Perfect correlation is R-squared equal to 1. The methodologies are very similar and now we know just how similar they are: damn near identical. And, since we know PFF is anchored to zero we can use the correlation to calibrate DSR!  A zero PFF grade corresponds to about 65 in DSR. More is better, less is worse.

DSR vs PFF

 

Applying the same tricks to DSR vs. OAPR gleans similar insights. Here again there is a useful raw correlation which substantially improves when obvious outliers are removed from consideration.

DSR vs OAPR

 

Spinning it all together, we finally arrive at the following scorecard:

Opponent Pass Def S&P+ Rating Verdict Consensus
OAPR DSR PFF OAPR DSR PFF
Hawaii 93.0 63.2 73% -1.0 great great bad great
Central Florida 116.6 61.7 82% 1.0 great great good great
Colorado 124.4 15.2 50% -3.5 ok terrible terrible terrible
Penn State 103.8 -13.3 68% 1.0 bad ok good ok
Wisconsin 120.1 18.5 57% -0.5 ok terrible ok ok
Rutgers 92.4 -14.9 67% 0.5 ok ok ok ok
Illinois 94.0 57.0 79% 4.5 great great great great
Michigan State 84.4 -11.0 70% 2.5 ok good great good
Maryland 95.5 115.3 88% 6.5 great great great great
Iowa 117.3 -53.9 60% -1.5 terrible bad bad bad
Ohio State 125.4 -3.5 -- -- ok -- -- *ok
Florida State 118.8 -34.9 -- -- terrible -- -- *terrible

 

petersspeightjpg-95eea12b07f34c09As best as I can tell, Speight had more good/great games than he had bad/terrible games by a tally of 5 to 3. Against good defenses he did have a harder time but you can say that about literally every QB that has ever existed. And then you recall that he was hurt/healing in for two of the less than OK performances to close out the season. And then you recall that he was a lettering for the first time. Context matters, man. Big time.

I will be very very surprised and equally impressed if Brandon Peters ever unseats Wilton Speight barring injury. That’s not meant as an indictment on Brandon, merely an acknowledgment petersspeightjpg-95eea12b07f34c09of Wilton’s formidability. Speight met my a priori expectations to a tee but only after wildly exceeding them for most of the season until he suffered an injury to his throwing shoulder. Good God man, that’s a great starting point. And now he’s being chased by someone who sure as hell didn’t come here to hold a clipboard. Yeah man, I like this spot.

We all know Harbaugh will make the right call and ultimately we will have both kinds of QB all in one: the one we love and the one we have wished for.

 

Comments

Esterhaus

August 9th, 2017 at 2:10 AM ^

Well done. Not that it matters really. Jimmy Harbaugh knows QBs and he will have the final say. We'll have an idea during the Florida game and, unless disaster strikes, immediately after Purdue witness our starting QB for remainder of this season.

Michigan4Life

August 9th, 2017 at 4:01 PM ^

knows that the last thing he want as a coach is to have a QB controversy that could potentially divide the locker room. Right now, his team trust Speight because he produced and they won 10 games with him at QB. I don't think fans factor into locker room as part of the QB evaluation.

There is a reason why some lesser talented QBs kept the starting job over a much more talented backup QB. See Tyler Palko over Joe Flacco. Palko led Pittsburgh to a Fiesta Bowl appearance. You're not going to bench Palko for Flacoo because the team are behind Palko 100%. Or Brock Jensen over Carson Wentz. Jensen led NDSU to three NC and you're not going to bench an established starting QB over a talented QB even though the talent is clearly evident.

 

Kevin13

August 9th, 2017 at 5:30 PM ^

And team will be behind the best qb no matter who played last year. During camp it becomes obvious who that is and the team knows who it is and is behind that player. These guys are looking forward to this season not what happened last year and want who the best is now

Michigan4Life

August 10th, 2017 at 1:33 AM ^

I've worked with former football players and understand the locker room dynamic. Benching a QB who won you 10 games and was productive in favor of an unproven player could really upset the balance of the locker room dynamic. If Peters throws 3 INTs in his first start, you will see a lot of unhappy players who may have felt that they should've stuck with Speight. Harbaugh knows it and that's part of the reason why Speight has been getting the most reps at QB. If Michigan was coming off from a 6-7 win season, then I can see the argument for Peters. However, Michigan won 10 games and the players want to stick with a QB who led them there.

Obviously, winning cures all but the moment the new starting QB lose, the coach can lose his locker room

Kevin13

August 14th, 2017 at 11:52 AM ^

for many years and trust me the players want to win right now and it becomes clear during camp who the best QB is and gives you the best chance to win, just as it becomes clear who is the best at every position. A coach will lose a locker room if they play favorites and don't play the best player, who has earned it at every position.

All players are competing in camp and the cream rises to the top and that is who will start the first game. Players want to stick with who is playing the best.

war-dawg69

August 9th, 2017 at 4:12 PM ^

Speight threw a perfect pass across the field  on Michigan's last drive some thirty plus yards down field. Darboh catches it and Michigan wins the game and boy is Speight on all the highlight reels, but no he flat out cement hands the ball. I saw a bunch of drops that game by by all receivers and blame speight and the o-line, but I think the receiving corps owns that loss. Also a phantom face mask on the punt did not help. Do the fuckin officials ever get it right. There is nothing that pisses me off more than when the refs decide the game and it sure seems to happen a lot during osu games in their favor. Holding call on last drive for wisconsin was not a hold and they were almost in field goal range. They should not have been in the playoffs the year they won the nc as they blew two calls at end of psu game for another loss that was not because of officiating. Wow got off track, butI I really despise osu and their officials. Anyways Speight is going to do quite well this year if his receiving corps helps him out. If it hits your hands catch it or go sit on the bench.

ETfromNU

August 9th, 2017 at 3:02 AM ^

I really appreciate what you did here but I'm not sure I (or the data) agree with part of your conclusion.

"Against good defenses he did have a harder time but you can say that about literally every QB that has ever existed."

The work that you did to normalize Speight's performance to the typical QB performance against each defense appears to expose that Speight performed significantly worse against the good defenses he faced than his counterparts who faced the same teams last year.  If the deltas for the Iowa (-54) & FSU (-35) weren't so broad (side note: would be interesting to see standard deviation to provide additional context) it would be possible to shrug this data off to other environmental and team factors but I think Speight has to eat a good share of the blame here.  To be fair, the injury is definitely a valid point to make to explain Iowa and some of Ohio State but to my eye the issues that plagued him in those games were apparent all season.  They just hadn't cost the team in a meaningful way against lesser opponents and/or more favorable environments to that point.

Full disclosure tangent, I'm rooting for Peter's to win the QB job this year for reasons that I think you lay out clearly here.  IMO, Speight has not demonstrated the accuracy or consistency needed to make plays that beat playoff teams.  This doesn't mean Michigan can't beat playoff teams with Speight just that Speight won't be the guy that beats them if you see where I'm going here.  Peters appears to have that type of ability so if Peters is able to show the leadership and consistency to win the job the ceiling of this year's team raises accordingly.

Awesome work...thanks again for doing this!

MCalibur

August 9th, 2017 at 7:49 AM ^

Excellent points but we need to be very careful with small sample passer rating as it is very volatile. The leverage the specific result of a pass attempt has on the final rating for a game can be shockingly big. Example, flipping a TD pass over to an incompletion hits the rating formula on three front: completion pct, yards per attempt, and TD rate; this could easily affect that games assessment by 15 points or more.

Also, passer rating doesn't just evaluate the perfomrance of QB. The OL and Receivers also hit play into the number in huge ways. This is really where DSR and PFF blow passer rating out of the water IMO. Recall how FSU destoryed our OL in the bowl game. Its not all on Speight.

It's important to zoom out a little when using passer rating. If we isolate on opponents with Passing Defense S&P+ values well over average--UCF, Colorado, Wisconsin, Iowa, OSU, FSU--OAPR ends up with 1 great, 3 OK, and 2 terrible games. You've already hit on the potential effect of injury in the two 'terribles'. Thats not that bad to me; I'd expect to see the same type of pattern with any non-elite QB.

If Peters does win the job, then his talent must be enough to overcome not just his own inexperience, but that of the players around him, too. He must also overcome Speights own year over year improvement. It can happen, sure; I'm just not taking that bet. Harbaugh will make the right call.

Thanks for comment.

redjugador24

August 9th, 2017 at 11:12 AM ^

"If Peters does win the job, then his talent must be enough to overcome not just his own inexperience, but that of the players around him, too."  

 

This. I think Speight wins the job not so much because of his own experience or talent, but because of the lack of experience around him this year.  His strengths have really been the mental/leadership aspects of the position, and with all the youngters on offense this year that's going to carry a ton of weight.

LKLIII

August 9th, 2017 at 4:43 PM ^

Totally agree on this point.  If two things were true:

 

  1. We were playing tomato cans only for the pre-conference schedule (i.e., not Florida); and
  2. We had an exeprienced OL and WR corps around him, 

 

I think Peters would be in a much more competitive spot, simply because his relative weakness RE: Speight could be largely mitigated for the first half of the schedule.  Then the gamble/assumption would be that by the time PSU rolls around, his inexperience has been mitigated to the point that his overall performance is now definitely higher than Speight's.

But that isn't the case, which is why I still think it makes sense to have Speight as the starter.

We are also assuming Speight isn't going to improve at all over last season.  He's a RS Junior at this point, but OTOH, last year was his first starter campaign.  Don't know which factor will win out, but it's possible we get at least marginal improvement from him.

Bottom line is I don't think we should expect a static or regressing Speight.

SeattleWolverine

August 9th, 2017 at 7:44 PM ^

"If we isolate on opponents with Passing Defense S&P+ values well over average--UCF, Colorado, Wisconsin, Iowa, OSU, FSU--OAPR ends up with 1 great, 3 OK, and 2 terrible games."

 

That's a generous interpretation. I mean, with all due respect to S&P+ but between CO, WI, IA, OSU, FSU and Central Florida, one of these things is not like the others. Probably not coincidence that his great game was against Central Florida. 

 

redjugador24

August 9th, 2017 at 9:31 AM ^

100% agree with ETfromNU.  I think the DSR data is the best model and shows that Speight was terrible against Colorado & Wisconsin, but since their offenses couldn't do anything (after Colorado's QB was injured) it didn't matter at the end of the day.  He made some painfully awful throws against Wisconsin and missed numerous wide open receivers - thankfully the defense rose to the occasion.  I'm not knocking him, but on the topic of context I think he was way more average than his fluffed up QBR shows.  He avoided turnovers, which is great, but he also had a terriffic pass blocking RB picking up blitzes, and a very experienced and solid corps of WRs and TEs.  Oh yeah, and lots of short fields and leads to work with.  But when he needed to play his best against tough opponents and make plays in a close games, he failed far more than succeeded.  Hopefully experience cures that, but I think his excellent QBR was largely a result of being a "safe" QB on a really good team.  

[email protected]

August 9th, 2017 at 11:52 PM ^

Stats dont tell the whole story. You can always introduce whatever specific controls you need to come up with the results you want.

I felt this peice was very one sided, or should be named something else. Im not going to neg, or point out the bad tendencies of any of our players, but Wilt has his. So far, although still early, it seems that he has a tendency to revert back to those flaws in uncomfortable situations. I hope he improves, and keeps getting better.

I like the point about the overall play of the rest of the offense, and also that you pointed out that it should be improved. It will be benificial to whomever is under center.

Im glad we have Coach to make these decisions, and believe we are in the best hands possible.

May the best man win.

Mongo

August 9th, 2017 at 8:20 AM ^

The quality of your QB play is 100% correlated to your OL capability. Getting blown up on every drop back has its impact on QB "accuracy". Our OL graded 102 - average. So against great defenses they could not produce the same pocket environment as the other games. Speight did what he could, but look at the hits he was taking way too often and then he suffers a seperate shoulder trying to move the chains from a collapsed pocket. Have any of you played a D1 football game at QB behind an average OL versus an outstanding DL (Iowa,OSU,FSU) with the pain of a separated shoulder?

Speight is a stud for taking the beating. I hope we can raise our OL play because that is what wrecked our season, not our QB play. Frey was hired to address the issue and I am optimistic for OL improvement so that Speight (or Peters) has all great games.

PolskaPride

August 9th, 2017 at 8:27 AM ^

Watched the Iowa game on BTN yesterday and it was hard to watch Speight miss on every deep ball. He threw long, he threw short, and he threw behind. He wasn't hurt till late in the 4th so he was healthy for pretty much the whole game. I hope he has made strides with his deep ball accuracy in camp because guys like Black and DPJ can really take the top off of a defense. Speight made some incredicle throws with his intermediate passes, so I'm confident in Harbaugh's ability to round out the rest of his game.

teldar

August 9th, 2017 at 9:34 AM ^

Re: significant improvement. I believe there are some things a qb either has or doesn't. I don't think speight has the deep ball in his arsenal. I think spotty accuracy is his thing. I'd love to be wrong here. Reading defenses and short to intermediate passing improves more than deep accuracy. I think that's more a physical/physiologic thing. He was already pretty good at the defenses and shorts.

maineandblue

August 9th, 2017 at 2:43 PM ^

This is my main concern. Hard to imagine beating the best teams with a QB who consistently struggles with the deep ball, as they could just focus on taking away the short stuff. I'd love to think it was just the injury, but my concern is that he's just not a good deep passer. Early word from camp is that he's still struggling with it. 

BassDude138

August 9th, 2017 at 3:21 PM ^

While I agree that he may not have the accuracy on his deep ball, I still think it can be "fixable" to an extent. Many of the missed shots downfield last year saw the receivers running wide open. With all of the athleticism they will put on the outside this year, and the reports claiming that the young players excel at tracking the deep ball, putting a little more air on those open throws and giving the receivers a chance to go get it will go a long way.

teldar

August 9th, 2017 at 4:34 PM ^

But you're pointing at the receivers as changing and making the difference. I can say that it's possible his receivers were the issue last year and he was awesome at the deep ball. But I don't think so. I would love him to be on the money with deep balls and everything be roses this year. But I'm not sure that's the way it goes (improving dramatically with distance accuracy).

jdemille9

August 9th, 2017 at 10:35 PM ^

I don't think we'll see monumental improvement from Speight, but even a small improvement should be expected in year 2. Harbaugh was a QB for a long time and Speight is a smart kid (by all accounts) I'm sure they both know what he needed to be working on this offseason, once healthy. 

If all he does is learn to put a little more air under the ball or lead his receivers a bit it could end up paying huge dividends with the WR's we have. So no, I am not expecting him to all of a sudden have incredible deep ball accuracy, but even a few tweaks here and there (as I mentioned above) could take him from OK to Good. 

 

LKLIII

August 9th, 2017 at 4:49 PM ^

I think the other issue w/ Speight is that he wouldn't lead/anticipate his receivers.  He'd throw to where they were and have a hard time hitting them in stride.

That, combined w/ the questionable deep ball skills, could set up a potentially frustrating experience w/ our young but talented WR corps.  If their main attributes are athleticism & in certain cases (DPJ) the long ball, it'll be tough to have those weapons but not utilize 100% of them because the QB can't put it where it needs to go.

Plus, the concern that the right side of the line could be totally collapsing on him pretty quickly in some games.

Really hope that doesn't happen, b/c it's clear right now we have a solid RB corps but a so-so O line.  If Speight can even land 3-4 long balls per game to keep defenses honest, it'll go a long way in helping out the running game.

Last year we beat up on the team that they couldn't "pick up 1st downs" and run out the clock--based on the dicussion above, it's clear that part of the problem might have been that defenses knew that Speight wasn't a deep ball threat & just started cheating up to the line/stacking the box.

LKLIII

August 9th, 2017 at 4:50 PM ^

I think the other issue w/ Speight is that he wouldn't lead/anticipate his receivers.  He'd throw to where they were and have a hard time hitting them in stride.

That, combined w/ the questionable deep ball skills, could set up a potentially frustrating experience w/ our young but talented WR corps.  If their main attributes are athleticism & in certain cases (DPJ) the long ball, it'll be tough to have those weapons but not utilize 100% of them because the QB can't put it where it needs to go.

Plus, the concern that the right side of the line could be totally collapsing on him pretty quickly in some games.

Really hope that doesn't happen, b/c it's clear right now we have a solid RB corps but a so-so O line.  If Speight can even land 3-4 long balls per game to keep defenses honest, it'll go a long way in helping out the running game.

Last year we beat up on the team that they couldn't "pick up 1st downs" and run out the clock--based on the dicussion above, it's clear that part of the problem might have been that defenses knew that Speight wasn't a deep ball threat & just started cheating up to the line/stacking the box.

Blue1995nyc

August 9th, 2017 at 6:02 PM ^

Yeah, that means he is not accurate.

 

Even his crossing routes and slants the ball was usually late.

 

Not just the deep routes.

 

Guys, kid is simply not accurate.  That can't be taught.  That is all hand eye coordination and muscle memory.

 

Got it, or don.t

huntmich

August 9th, 2017 at 3:29 PM ^

Ugh, this argument is typical Michigan-Masochist garbage. Speight threw plenty of terrific deep throws throughout the year.

 

https://youtu.be/UgftsTNJ-nA?t=1m1s

https://youtu.be/adwP8MBhuYk?t=6m8s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RtQWBUu_TpU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHPl-Dt4_38&

 

But because he played poorly in his last 3 games, he can't throw the deep ball and he will never be able to, despite the fact that he is continuing to be groomed by one of the best QB makers in the sport.

 

I just can't understand why this opinion is so common with Michigan fans. Sometimes I think our fanbase just likes being unhappy.

PolskaPride

August 9th, 2017 at 4:13 PM ^

If you want to pretend that he doesn't struggle with deep throws then go ahead. You linked 4 examples of nice throws against weak secondaries (yes I'm calling Wisconsin's secondary weak, their front 7 was terrific but the secondary struggled), 3 of which were at home. Speight appears to be comfortable at home and made good plays on all of those. You will also notice that we won all those games but I could link four throws against Iowa but I don't think anyone is interested in seeing those.

I disagree with the others that its something that you have or you don't, and I think Speight will improve. But denying that he struggles with the deep ball seems foolish.

huntmich

August 9th, 2017 at 4:23 PM ^

Those throws were on the money hitting receivers in stride. They were terrific throws regardless of coverage.

 

I'm not saying it isn't somewhere that he could improve. I am arguing that it's stupid to pretend that he will never be able to do something that he already was able to do last year (if not with the frequency we would have liked), especially considering the success Jim Harbaugh has had in the past with QBs.

Fezzik

August 9th, 2017 at 6:15 PM ^

Hitting wide open receivers is not something that should be celebrated, but expected. The first clip was a truly impressive pass. The other 3 every single starting Michigan quarterback is expected to hit. I don't know the numbers but I believe I watched Speight miss way more open deep balls than he accurately threw.

huntmich

August 9th, 2017 at 11:38 PM ^

A throw shouldn't be judged by the coverage. It should be judged by the physics of the receiver and the ball. If a receiver needs to adjust, then you can bring coverage into assessment. If the receiver just keeps running and the QB puts the ball in his catchable area in stride, it's a good throw, regardless of who is around him. The videos I showed are examples of Speight putting the ball in the catchable area of a receiver >25 yards down field without the receiver having to make adjustments.

B-Nut-GoBlue

August 9th, 2017 at 6:03 PM ^

He missed some blatantly wide open throws/receivers multiple times (in the same game even)....that's the problem.  We're not even talking about "streaking" down the sideline with a step on the defender, we're talking handwavingly open.  You don't see many power-5 QBs missing wide open downfield reveivers.  They're must-make throws at this level.  That's what some of wonder if it's a fixable thing.  It's not wanting to be unhappy, it's realizing what we have to root for and what we hope the players we root for get better at.

huntmich

August 9th, 2017 at 11:44 PM ^

For year 1 as Jim Harbaugh's #1 QB he played decently (as emphasized by this post) and he won 10 games as a good game manager with good mid-range accuracy and downfield throws that became bad the more he got hit.

 

I am excited to see what happens in year 2 as the O-Line sheds Hoke's players in favor of young talent that is being trained by a vastly superior coaching staff.

 

Again, I'm really looking forward to the offseason being over and us all having legitimate data to look at. I'm just getting tired of Michigan-Masochism. 

 

Have faith in the elite coach at our helm. He has given us all every reason to do so.

 

Edit: and the things you are all pointing to are mental issues. His mechanics are clearly serviceable. During certain situations, perhaps, like when he has a wide-open receiver, he is experiencing something akin to 'yips.' These are mental issues, that are very correctable for a 20-22 year old male.

 

And, lest I need to reinforce this point: Harbaugh.

YoOoBoMoLloRoHo

August 10th, 2017 at 8:04 PM ^

should have 20+ from 12 games. The constraint for the scheme is the deep ball. Did the O produce at Rutgers and vs UCF? Sure, largely because Speight started to connect. O was weak in Q1 vs Rutgers when Speight missed several intermediate throws, but the link and another deep ball to Darboh put the O into overdrive. Same as Rudock in 2015. O hummed once he found the deep ball with Chesson.

He can throw deep, just not with the regularity necessary - and by regularity, I mean the big games and key moments to make the constraint highly effective,

Mongo

August 9th, 2017 at 12:39 PM ^

Is even more acutely dependent on OL protection. At Iowa, he was throwing off a ton of side-steps or with a Hawkeye in his grill. Speight has a strong enough arm to throw the deep ball, he just rarely got the time to properly set his feet for accuracy. In the short and intermediate stuff, he was just under way less pressure. If our OL can keep him clean vs good opponents, Speight can make the long ball plays.