Those passes aren’t going to complete themselves.

Tyler Dawgden makes good sense in comparing the freshman seasons of Matt Stafford and Jacob Eason, but there’s another data point that I think is worth considering in making that comparison:  completion percentage.

In 2006, Stafford completed 52.7% of his pass attempts.  That was 90th out of the 101 quarterbacks who averaged at least 14 attempts per game.  Eason’s completion percentage last year was 55.1%.  That ranked 94th out of 100.  More relevantly, a 55.1% completion percentage in 2006 would have ranked 78th.

I think to some extent that tells us there’s been a change in emphasis on completion percentage at Georgia.  For years, Richt’s focus for his quarterbacks was more on things like avoiding interceptions and having a credible mid-level to deep passing game.  Look at the completion percentage of Richt’s first four starting quarterbacks:  David Greene only had one season out of four when he completed at least 60% of his attempts; DJ Shockley’s percentage in 2005 was 55.8%; Stafford never cracked 60% until his third season; Joe Cox hit 55.9% as a starter in 2009.

It changed after that.  Aaron Murray topped the 60% completion mark in three of his four years (and just missed going four-for-four).  Hutson Mason set a record with his 67.9% completion ratio.  Even the much-maligned Greyson Lambert managed to complete more than 63% of his throws.

The trend, then, has been towards a higher completion rate.  That’s a trend that was interrupted last year and I don’t think it’s because Kirby Smart wanted to turn the clock back to 2004.  Eason does deserve credit as a true freshman for not throwing a lot of picks, relatively speaking, but his 6.6 yards per attempt tells you that he had a hard time stretching the field to go along with that completion rate.  Simply stated, that can’t be the story in 2017 if Georgia is going to take a step up in the conference.

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13 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

13 responses to “Those passes aren’t going to complete themselves.

  1. Macallanlover

    How many yards, and completions, did Eason have on the forward lateral, jet sweep play to Imac last year? There are many QBs who benefit from this play in today’s game. Won’t happen but passes, behind the LOS and between the tackles should be listed as rushing yardage, imo.

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  2. ApalachDawg

    Attention Dawg fans, Eason went to the Manning passing camp this summer. Everything is fixed.
    Beat App State

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  3. HirsuteDawg

    Admittedly based on only one year, but I haven’t been impressed with Georgia’s quarterback coaching. If you don’t complete some passes down field you are not going to be able to open up the running game.

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    • dawgman3000

      If a true freshman qb doesn’t see a receiver running wide open or a receiver drops a pass that was put on the money, how is that the coaches fault? Some of the Cheney criticism is way overblown. I do agree that Eason has to be more acurate with the deep ball to open the run game.

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  4. Biggus Rickus

    The two biggest weaknesses in his game last season were reads (he didn’t see a pretty good number of open people) and deep accuracy. Assuming the protection holds up better this season and he improves a little bit in both of those areas, I don’t see why he couldn’t put up some fairly impressive passing numbers. He looked better on deep throws in the spring game, but who knows if that means anything.

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    • Brandon

      I wouldn’t put much emphasis on the spring game as its a lot easier playing QB when you know the other team can’t hit you. I wonder what his percentage/numbers would have been had our receivers just caught half the balls that were right on the money but dropped last year.

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      • Biggus Rickus

        I don’t know that Georgia’s drop rates were any worse than average, though. I wish someone tracked the stat, because I don’t trust people’s impressions of what happened to be accurate.

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        • Brandon

          That is probably true. 3rd and 10 for an opponent I always assume will get converted, 3rd and 10 for us seems damn near impossible. Perception is a bitch when it comes to the team you love.

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          • Biggus Rickus

            The drops also stick out in your mind more when your offense isn’t very good. You forget the three or four drops in a game you win 41-10. Each one seems crucial when you lose 17-16.

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  5. Mayor

    Paraphrasing Bill Clinton: “It’s the O-line, stupid.” Steve Spurrier won the Heisman. What was his completion percentage in the 1966 WLOCP? Hard to complete passes when you are on your back or running for your life.

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    • Cojones

      Does my memory serve me correctly that Greene had a record string of completed passes without an interception? That should also be factored into the passing equation: keeping the ball safe and waiting for the receiver to be open or even detecting that one is open.

      I’m surprised that the number of passes and yardages achieved aren’t used. Drops should always be tied into the stats of a passer for anyone to get an idea of a QB’s talent. Until then, Jacob Eason is a question mark when “ranking” is done.

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  6. 69Dawg

    I was shocked by a stat that I heard on SEC’s coverage of Media Days. Eason’s completion percentage for passes over 20 years was 14%. He was 14th out of 14 QBs in the SEC in that stat. It seems that once the opposing teams knew he could not hit the long ball they just didn’t worry about it any more. Since he really did not improve during the season they were right. They knew if you got after him he was not going to hurt them deep. The Oline was not his only problem, some of it was self inflicted.

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  7. Junkyardawg41

    Overlay when CMB became the OC versus the completion timelines and you might have your answer. CMB was a very accurate QB just didn’t have world class arm strength.

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