And while we’re on the subject…

I don’t know if this is one of those “Alex, I’ll take football myths for $200, please” topics, but in a recent comment, KelticGator (of O & B Hue fame) made the following point:

I’m not saying that Stafford won’t improve, he likely won’t make the same jump as he did freshman to sophomore (historically the largest improvement)…

So I’m curious – how true is that?  I mean you hear it all the time, but I’ve got no idea if that’s really the case.

I took a look at seven quarterbacks who had recent four year SEC careers to see how their passer ratings played out over each season they played.  Here’s what I found at ESPN.com [NOTE:  see comments about '01 passer ratings for Campbell and Greene.]:

  • J. Campbell (Auburn) – 69.7; 149.2; 132.6; 172.9
  • E. Ainge (Tennessee) – 135.9; 89.9; 151.9; 135.5
  • A. Woodson (Kentucky) – 113.6; 115.4; 154.5; 144.5
  • J. Cutler (Vanderbilt) – 112.4; 127.7; 134.8; 126.1
  • D. Greene (Georgia) – 84.1; 137.3; 128.5; 148.4
  • C. Leak (Florida) – 132.9; 144.9; 136.5; 144.9
  • B. Croyle (Alabama) – 125.5; 118.0; 164.6; 132.8

Granted, take the sample size with a grain of salt, but I’m not seeing any sort of recognizable pattern in that data.   Some of these kids got better in their second year and some didn’t.  Some got better in their third year; some regressed.  You can see all kinds of underlying reasons in these patterns – coaching changes, offensive line turnover, injuries, etc. – that impacted the stats, but that’s the point.  Sometimes a player gets better but his surrounding cast takes a step back.

I just wouldn’t take it for granted that Stafford’s improvement this season will be minimal at best because he’s a junior.

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UPDATE: And in the “from your lips to God’s ears” department, Stafford’s set some ambitious goals for himself this season.

“I want 35 (touchdowns) and anywhere from 3,700 to 4,000 yards, about 64 percent completion percentage,” he said.

I think it’s safe to say that if he hits those targets, the Dawgnation will be partying in South Beach come early January.

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10 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

10 responses to “And while we’re on the subject…

  1. kckd

    Senator, are you sure David’s was that low his freshman season. His TD/INT ratio was 17 to 9 and I know his completion pct. was at least 56% if not higher. That’s pretty close to what Stafford did last year. He also had a few more yards.

  2. peacedog

    Anecdotally, Mike over at B&B and I used to do college fantasy, using so called “BCS” conferences. We never noticed any kind of pattern than suggested a kid never saw a bigger jump than from freshman to sophomore. We saw lots of people who didn’t fit that pattern, but weren’t necessarily part of any pattern. We did have an affinity for senior QBs, who often equalled or bettered historical production. Not always, of course.

    Also, Colt McCoy makes for an interesting study. Statistically, his attempts and completions are up (as such, so is yardage) though he was completing passes at a slightly lower percentage his sophomore year. Given the increase in attempts, you might expect INTs to go up but they more than doubled (7 to 22), and Passing TDs fell. He definately didn’t get better, though I’m not sure I’d precisely call his year worse (though it shelped ink our fantasy season, alas). The increased INT rate is a cause for concern, but I think his future is bright, assuming they’re going to keep the talent levels at “Texas” standards (and I’m sure they will).

    As for Stafford, I think he’s got room to improve. I think Georgia fans sometimes overstate the nature of our offense, and the supposed affect it has on Stafford’s completion % (that isn’t to say that there’s no relationship). 12 days, man. 12 days.

  3. kckd, that’s what ESPN.com shows. Of course, when I went back to check after your comment, I noticed that its data is incomplete in that it doesn’t list completion percentage for the 2001 season. So you’re probably right.

  4. peacedog

    This is what I see for his Freshman Year stats at UGA sports.com:

    362/214 59.1% 3,077yds 18 td 11 int 140.8 rating

  5. I presume that means the WWL has Jason Campbell’s ’01 passer rating wrong, too.

  6. peacedog

    Well, I wouldn’t take Rivals as Gospel. When I try to go by the Auburn page and get a link to Jason Campbell’s Bio, I get taken to some white kid’s bio.

  7. Hobnail_Boot

    Having trouble finding it, but SMQ recently did a breakdown of 4-year SEC QB starters this decade.

  8. Good memory, HB. Here’s the link.

    SMQ shows Campbell with a 2001 passer rating of 132.4 and Greene’s being 143.3.

  9. KG

    I wasn’t actually trying to predict whether Stafford would progress or digress but rather he showed considerable improvement in his second year as starter from his first and it would be wrong to expect that SAME kind of relative improvement in his 3rd year from his 2nd. He has room to improve but it is equivalent to the constant sharpening a dull knife. Each increment of sharpening continues to refine the blade but to a lesser and lesser result from its immediate previous state.

    Make sense?

  10. Well, except for that whole “historically the largest improvement” thing that isn’t… sure. ;)