4malamute.com

Articles
    Archives
    Season 2000
    Season 2001
    Season 2002
    Season 2003
    Season 2004
    Season 2005
    Season 2006
    Season 2007
    Season 2008
    Season 2009
    History Articles
    Spoofs
    Football 101
Dawg Food
    Schedule
    Links Page
    Statistics
Site Development
    About This Site
   
Cast
     Contact Us


                      

Improving on passing efficiency
A binary quarterback
Malamute, 16 March 2009

Of the the 17 statistical categories posted on the NCAA website, Washington finished 100th or higher in 16 of them last season, this out of the 119 FBS teams. The Huskies ranked 117th in passing efficiency with a rating of 89.63. (The photo of Dubs, left, was purchased from Replay photos).

With a healthy, mobile Jake Locker returning at quarterback, Washington has a good chance to make a marked improvement in that number. Add to his return a leaner more mobile offensive line, better QB mentoring, a pro-style offense, and an improved receiver corps. Of all of Washington's shoddy numbers from last season, passing efficiency has the best chance to improve.

But any sanguinity about an improved rating -- which translates into a higher-completion percentage, more yards per passing attempt and a positive touchdown-to-interception ratio -- is faced with a binary quarterback.

As far as passing-efficiency per game goes, Jake's rating is either on or off, either good or horrid. Over his 16-game career, the Junior to be has had a rating of 100-plus-per-game in 9 of them, for an average rating of 129.14. In the other 7 games, he has a mediocre average rating of 77.14. The question is, in a per game sense, which Locker will step up to the plate -- the 0 or the 1, as far as throwing goes? See our article "Two-armed Jake."

Also, see Table 1 below for a summary of Locker's career passing statistics. (Notice the numbers highlighted in bold).

Locker missed the Cal game in 2007 and sat out the remainder of the 2008 season after being injured in its fourth game against Stanford while throwing a block.

Last season, Ronnie Fouch filled in at quarterback for Locker, playing in 12 games, while completing 113 of 250 passes for 1339 yards, along with 13 picks and 4 touchdowns. His passing efficiency rating was 85.1.

At times, Fouch was hampered by poor pass blocking, little or no run support, and some questionable play calling. He has the ability to throw the long ball. Playing behind Locker for much of the first four games, Fouch completed 25 of 47 passes for 325 yards, with 2 touchdowns and no picks. This translates into a rating of 125.32, and demonstrates his potential.

His season's rating of 85.1, though, is not a good number.

For example, Mike Hartline of Kentucky finished 100th in FBS football in passing efficiency last season with a rating of 104.71.

Locker's career rating over 16 games is nearly that, at 104.68. His rating last season over 4 games was 103.6 and, the year before, in 12 games played, was 105. He's completed 48.7% of his passes over his career at Washington.

To improve on his passing proficiency in 2009, Jake's passing skills will need to survive tough defensive teams like LSU, USC and Notre Dame; otherwise, if the last two seasons' numbers are any indication, his PE will be sputtering near 105 again. His pass receivers will need to get open in those games and be more sure-handed. To help him complete some throws, the offensive line will need to buy him time.

Coach Steve Sarkisian's mentoring should make Locker a better passer, along with his pro-style offense. As a consequence of that offense, he should run the ball less often than he has in the past and sustain fewer hits that could whittle away at his throwing accuracy as a game progresses.  Locker's mobility is a huge threat: (1) to nullify the pass rush, and (2) to take the ball down field.

Led by D'Andre Goodwin (60 catches, 692 yards in 2008), Washington's young receiving corps is looking for improvement. I look for Locker to throw more to his tight ends, which will be led by an improved Kavario Middleton (So., 6-5, 255).

Goodwin ranked fourth in Receptions/Game in the Pac-10 last season, and will be the leading player back in that category, as the three receivers ahead of him have graduated. The bad news is that Goodwin only caught one TD pass in 2008.

After having spent a year with the scout team, WR Anthony Boyles adds some much needed height (6-foot-3) to a "Lilliputian" receiving corps. (*) Highly regarded freshman James Johnson could make an immediate contribution to a wide-receiving corps that returns intact.

However, this group only caught six touchdown passes last year.

----------------

(*) For example, Goodwin is listed at 5-11.5 inches on dawgman.com, the only player to get a one-half inch boost in height. :)

Table 1. Jake Locker's career passing efficiency. Black = games played in 2007. Purple = games played in 2008. The numbers in bold highlight his +100 games.

Team C A Y T I PE C A Y T I PE
Syracuse 14 19 142 0 0 136.46 14 19 142 0 0 136.46
BSU 13 25 193 1 1 122.05 27 44 335 1 1 128.27
tOSU 16 33 153 1 3 79.25 43 77 488 2 4 107.26
UCLA 17 36 216 4 2 123.18 60 113 704 6 6 112.33
USC 13 28 90 0 1 66.29 73 141 794 6 7 103.19
ASU 10 28 142 1 1 82.96 83 169 936 7 8 99.84
UO 12 31 257 4 1 144.48 95 200 1193 11 9 106.76
UA 17 30 336 2 2 159.41 112 230 1529 13 11 113.62
Tree 16 32 151 0 1 83.39 128 262 1680 13 12 109.93
OSU 6 14 16 0 0 52.46 134 276 1696 13 12 107.02
WSU 12 35 224 1 2 86.05 146 311 1920 14 14 104.06
Hawaii 9 17 142 0 1 111.34 155 328 2062 14 15 105
UO 12 28 103 0 0 73.76 167 356 2165 14 15 102.54
BYU 17 32 204 1 0 116.19 184 388 2369 15 15 103.74
OU 16 24 154 0 0 120.57 200 412 2523 15 15 104.72
Tree 5 9 51 0 0 103.16 205 421 2574 15 15 104.68


Richard Linde can be reached at malamute@4malamute.com

Original content related to this site,
including editorials, photos
and exclusive materials
4malamute.com, 2001-2009
All Rights Reserved