The perception from last year is that Notre Dame's defense, specifically its pass defense, really had a hard time with mobile quarterbacks. Obviously the losses to Michigan State and Ohio State reinforce that perception. Team BGS hopes to dig a little deeper on the issue though and take a closer look at these so-called mobile quarterbacks and see just how they hurt ND. Was it their running? Passing? Combination of both?
The research isn't done yet; believe it or not, we like to spend the summer outside as much as anyone else. In the meantime, here's a quick, preliminary analysis aimed at seeing if, in fact, ND did have trouble overall with more mobile quarterbacks. Specifically, did quarterbacks with the ability to run have a better day passing against the Irish secondary than the more stationary quarterbacks?
• The first step was to rank the quarterbacks by mobility. I went for the quick and easy method and listed them by their total rushing yards gained from last year. I decided to exclude negative rushing yards so as to not count any sacks. Obviously this isn't the best measure of mobility, but it is quantifiable and like I said, quick and easy.
• The next step was then to list out how each QB did against the Irish both in terms of total passing yards and the more relevant yards per pass attempt. If a QB truly was having a good day against ND, he would have a higher yard per pass attempt average, as total yardage depends more on how many times a QB throws the ball.
• Finally, I added the season long average for yards per pass attempt for each QB and calculated the difference between their season average and the one from the ND game.
As a point of reference, Brady Quinn had a total of 245 positive rushing yards in 2005. I think all Irish fans would agree that Quinn can get a few yards on the ground when he needs to, but he is hardly what anyone would consider a "mobile" quarterback in the stereotypical sense of the word. So let's consider him, and any quarterback that rushed for equal or fewer yards to fall into the "non-mobile" grouping (read: Brandon Kirsch and below). Again, admittedly this is simplistic, but also quick and easy.
The results are predictable, yet still interesting. Of the seven quarterbacks with a season rushing total near or below Brady Quinn's total, only Matt Leinart and Erik Ainge managed to improve upon their season yards per pass attempt average. Every other quarterback had a worse day against the Irish pass defense.
On the flip side, every QB with notably better rushing numbers than Quinn, save Navy's Lamar Owens, had a better day statistically throwing the ball -- in many cases, much better.
|Yds per PA|
|Yds per PA|
|Lamar Owens||Navy ||1,047||58||8.3||10.6||-2.3|
|Troy Smith||OSU ||722||342||12.2||9.6||+2.6|
|Drew Stanton||MSU ||520||327||12.1||8.7||+3.4|
|Isaiah Stanback||UW ||515||353||10.4||8.1||+2.3|
|Trent Edwards||Stanford ||356||150||7.5||7.2||+0.3|
|Brandon Kirsch||Purdue ||246||274||6.2||6.7||-0.5|
|John Beck||BYU ||242||317||7.0||7.2||-0.2|
|Perry Patterson||Syracuse ||215||78||3.5||5.5||-2.0|
|Matt Leinart||USC ||157||301||9.4||8.9||+0.5|
|Chad Henne||Michigan ||144||223||5.1||6.6||-1.5|
|Tyler Palko||Pitt ||129||220||6.3||7.0||-0.7|
|Erik Ainge||Tennessee ||47||187||5.8||5.1||+0.7|
In the near future we'll try to see just what it was that gave Smith, Stanton, Stanback, and Edwards a boost, and how that might affect the 2006 schedule.