Welcome to Round 3 of a scheduled 5 between Team Rees, represented by Tyler Moorehead, and Team Golson , represented by Steve Herring. Learn a little more about Tyler in Sunday’s Press Release. Our names link to Twitter accounts … so go follow us.
- Tommy is eligible for all games in 2012.
- It’s boxing themed so this series will feature two men in the ring (sorry Hendrix & Kiel fans, but it’s a long summer and we haven’t forgotten about you. Grab some popcorn and enjoy the carnage.)
- Two “Burning Question” per round, ten questions total. The “teams” have been asked to keep answers in the 350-450 word range, but it won’t be too strictly enforced.
- This is NOT a roundtable. Tyler & myself won’t be going back and forth, but rather answering the questions independently. As Mike Lee told us about his opponent on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights this week – “It’s not about him. It’s about me.”
- You (readers, fans) are the judges. Post a scorecard, throw in the towel, declare a winner, complain that it’s neither of these guys, tell us we’re idiots. Whatever, but please share below.
QUESTION #5: Rees has struggled with turnovers his entire career. Golson has never taken a college snap. Who would do a better job of protecting the ball in 2012?
Steve Herring (Team Golson): Remember in Round 1 where Tyler used the 2009 statistics of Cincinnati QBs Tony Pike & Zach Collaros to prove a point for Team Rees? Digging back into those stats is where we can mine a defense of how Everett Golson, as a first year sophomore starter, could turn the ball over less than even a much improved Tommy Rees. I’ll stick to observing how these two could compare in 2012 interceptions AND I’ll give Tommy the benefit of the doubt by claiming he’ll improve dramatically. Stick with me on the numbers he folks.
Rees interception numbers in 2011 – 14 INTs in 411 attempts. An interception every 29.4 attempts as a sophomore, every 20.5 as a freshman. Let’s say he makes that 9 pass jump again to an interception every 38.5 attempts. We need to also project how many passes he’ll throw. In 2011 (discounting Stanford’s injury/benching) Tommy averaged 33.17 Passes/Game and in 2009 Pike averaged 38.6 Passes/Game so we’ll meet in the middle for 2012’s projection: 35.88 Passes/Game.
- 13 Games x 35.88 Passes/Game = 466 Pass Attempts in 2012
- 466 Pass Attempts ÷ 38.5 Attempts Per INT = 12.1 INTs
- With a MAJOR improvement, Tommy will have 12 Interceptions in 2012
Pike likely started over the electric Zach Collaros upon return from injury because he was throwing an INT every 62 Pass Attempts, which reflects decision-making as much Brian Kelly’s trust in his knowledge of the playbook.
We’ve given Tommy credit for a major 2012 improvement and we’re handicapping Golson with the INTs/Attempt behind Rees’s rather dismal 2011. The difference is that Everett Golson will not be running an offense even similar to Rees and 2009 Cincinnati tells us so. In Zach Collaros’s 2009 starts (when he was a TRUE SOPHOMORE with no experience) he attempted 26.5 Passes/Game during his 4-0 run. Collaros, under Brian Kelly mind you, tallied per game rushing averages of 11 attempts for 48 Yards/Game. Golson will be running an offense similar, if not identical, in Rush/Pass/Option ratios. If this holds true, his INT total calculates as follows:
- 13 Games x 26.5 Passes/Game = 344 Passing Attempts in 2012
- 344 Passing Attempts ÷ 29.5 Attempts Per INT = 11.6 INTs
- In a poor season by Everett Golson he would have 11.6 INTs in 2012
I couldn’t have been more generous to Tommy Rees while being bullish on Golson with these numbers and he still falls behind. Do we have our first standing 10 count?
Tyler Moorehead (Team Rees): I would say that turnovers would be about a wash between the two quarterbacks.
Tommy will likely improve upon his 14 interceptions thrown last season (I say likely because he threw one INT every 29 passes last season, which he improved from every 20 in 2010, so he is already trending up), but will still throw his fair share due to his tendency to take risks. But that is okay. People forget that Andrew Luck threw 10 interceptions last year and Landry Jones threw a whopping 15! Tommy Rees is never going to be the super passive game manager that some want him to be. He is going to try and make plays, and yes, sometimes he will get burned for taking a chance. But he is a natural leader, and very confident in his abilities. This is what allows him to have the ice-water in his veins that we have seen on many occasions already. The fact that Brian Kelly completely opens up the offense for him shows the confidence he has in his signal-caller.
Everett Golson stepping in is much more speculative. The hunch here is that his turnover margin would be about the same as Tommy Rees’. I think the offense that Golson would run would be significantly limited in order to take pressure off of a first-time starter, so he would not take nearly as many chances as Tommy would. That being said, you can count ANY new quarterback to have some absolutely mind-boggling hiccups (see: Andrew Hendrix’s inexplicable INT against FSU for an example. Young guys just do ridiculously nonsensical things).
All in all, I think that they would both post similar numbers when it comes to turnovers, but Rees would be much more productive moving the ball due to his freedom to run the entire offense, and his experience doing so in the past. Tommy certainly has a bit of a risk side to him, but his reward side this year is just so much higher.
QUESTION #6: Many observers believe Brian Kelly would like to mold his ND offense closer to Oregon’s high-powered “Blur Attack”. The 2012 offseason has others believing what the 2011 New England Patriots did with Slot WRs/RBs and more importantly their TEs are the future of the scheme.
Which of these two QBs are better prepared to manage the most important aspects of these philosophies?
Steve Herring (Team Golson): Of course we’d love to see Notre Dame’s offense implement facets of the most explosive teams in FBS & the NFL. Possibly more crucial, we’d like to see more of what actually makes these schemes successful – constant evolving to reflect personnel. Chip Kelly and Bill Belicheck are as good as any coach at any level of maximizing their own talent and exposing opponent’s weaknesses. Notre Dame’s 2012 personnel strengths would certainly compare favorably to those of the Ducks & Patriots in 2011.
Brian Kelly has told us since Day 1 that he wants his offensive tempo to be fast, with rapid turns of the play clock and little regard for time of possession. Oregon scored 46.1 Points/Game in 2011 despite opponents winning time of possession by 10 full minutes last season . We don’t have the space to dissect how the Ducks operate, but a tenet of their offense revolves around the threat of the option and QB draw. Blog Davie at SubwayDomer.com used some coach’s clinic notes to indicate how simple, instant reads by the QB can be made at the line of scrimmage to strike quickly and efficiently. With Rees at QB, as mentioned previously, he simply can’t check into the best play on occasion because he can’t run the ball. I think 2011 Duck QB Darron Thomas is a fantastic measuring stick for Everett Golson. Thomas (like Golson appears to be) preferred to pass and utilized the threat of run in order to open up throwing lanes and simplify reads on every play. When Thomas ran the option he was able to take a defender out of the play despite only keeping the ball on occasion. Thomas averaged 3.7 Yards/Rush on less than 5 carries/game, but his natural athletic abilities changed everything defenses could do. Need I mention he was a SOPHOMORE FIRST YEAR STARTER AT QB who played in the National Championship Game?
Many would point to the latest installment of the Patriot’s offense as a byproduct of losing All-Time great WR Randy Moss and focusing on a far more talented TE/RB/Slot depth chart … wait a second. Great opportunity to remind that Everett’s much stronger arm applies to RB swing screens, quick slants and TE verticals. Tom Brady gets the ball out rapidly with fantastic zip – key to manipulating mismatches behind and in front of the line of scrimmage. Golson’s power and touch enhances the offense’s ability to get into these plays more efficiently. I’ve hammered it already, but Rees allows defenses to pack the box, where RB/TE/Slots make their living. Less zip on the ball plus tighter passing windows will always make plays more difficult to execute. You’ll see it better when Eifert & Niklas are catching balls with no defender in sight on a weekly basis. Trust me.
Tyler Moorehead (Team Rees): This is such a cop-out, but Kelly’s ideal offense is a combination of both. There is no doubt that Kelly would like to push the pace, tire out the opposing team, and move so fast that defenses are unable to sub. But Coach Kelly also is a huge fan of size and mismatches, and our tight end stable is so stocked that they MUST be a focal point of the offense this season.
Tyler Eifert is far and away the most talented offensive player that the Irish have this season, and Ben Koyack, Alex Welch, and Troy Niklas form quite the squad of back-ups. There is just too much talent in that group to not put multiple TE’s on the field at the same time.
As far as the Slot WRs/RBs, both the New England and Oregon style offenses use them similarly. They utilize smaller, quicker players that can get in space. Their big plays are created by elusiveness and shiftiness, but they aren’t really looking for the big play. They instead prefer repeated, quick strikes that keep moving the chains, which they both demonstrated can be lethal.
However, Notre Dame would have to play more similarly to the Patriots. Our offensive line isn’t even remotely built for a blur offense. A team like Oregon uses much smaller linemen than we have, for they need to be extra mobile with all the pulling and extra movement that the offense requires. The Irish have some seriously big boys on the line that don’t often say no to seconds at the training table. They aren’t meant to run downfield the same way that a blur offense linemen would.
Notre Dame is looking mainly for pocket passing from their quarterback, and this is unquestionably Rees’ strength. He is very effective at making reads and scanning the field, and he has already shown that he has fantastic chemistry with Eifert. Also, a very underrated part of Tommy’s game is his ability to make checks and audibles at the line in the running game. How many times last year did Tommy switch to a third down running play when he saw the defense was going to drop 7 or 8 players back into coverage on him? A hell of a lot. When you consider that Notre Dame is going to use a ton of jumbo packages this year, this is a crucial ability to have. Tommy Rees is so much better prepared to run the offense right now.
(Bell Rings - End of Round 3.)
Please continue judging the rounds for yourself below. It’s looking like it will go the full five.
|Steve Herring is the Editor-in-Chief of HerringBoneSports.com and also hosts TNNDN’s Down the Line. As the TNNDN Network President he acts as Executive Producer of four Notre Dame related shows.
Steve worked in broadcasting at Madison Square Garden Media and the Arena Football League. You can find all his articles and radio show links on this site.
Contact Steve on Twitter @HB_Sports or e-mail HerringBoneSports@gmail.com
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