Stats compiled by Richard Hefner – aka Pitt-Cocks Fan
Article by Michaelangelo Monteleone
I’ll start this one with a disclaimer. Kenny, if you a reading this, stop now. You’re the best we’ve got and we are going to need you to carry us to eight wins this season. You’re resilient as hell and as tough as they come. We may be critical of you at times, but we’re grateful for the wins you’ve provided and the wins you’ll provide, and we want to say thanks for grinding every day and leaving it all out there on the field. We know you had a bad game last week, and we fully expect that you’ll bounce back against the Yellow Jackets. Hail to Pitt.
Now, for the fans and POV’erts out there, lets get down to an honest-to-goodness quarterback discussion.
As we’ve established in the post-Miami discourse, Kenny did not play very well on Saturday. In fact, he had his worst game of the season.
This was somewhat to be expected, given the fact that Miami’s defense was the most talented we’d faced since Penn State, and Pitt never gets up for Miami they way they get up for the hated Nittany Lions.
Still, Kenny had shown improvement in three straight games and there was some cause for optimism. So much for that.
There is speculation that Pickett could still have been nursing an injured shoulder or two, and given that he was taken into the locker rooms twice versus Syracuse this is likely true. Kenny’s October splits would seem to indicate this as well. (Although if you remove the Miami game October is probably pretty close to September.)
The bottom line is that if you go by QB rating, Pickett is the third worst quarterback in the ACC, even though he’s got the most attempts. Interestingly enough the QB right above Pickett is “Preseason Heisman Trophy Candidate” Bryce Perkins. Just goes to show you how wild and woolly college football can be (or how utterly useless preseason predictions can be…)
Getting back to passer rating, some of the ugly 115.3 is Pickett’s fault. His inability to put touch on any type of pass is well documented. If he had such ability, his completion % probably goes up by a couple of points and his touchdown total probably increases slightly as well, along with a bump in yardage and passer rating. That is 100% on Pickett and we can only hope he evolves this aspect of his game in the offseason.
Some of the 115 passer rating is also is due to Kenny’s receivers. While it’s been speculated the Pickett does not exactly throw a catchable ball…whatever that means…it has also been documented that many on-target passes have gone in-and-out of the hands of the intended receiver. While I can’t get to the “targets” stat without paying for it, it’s pretty safe to assume that Pitt’s receivers have dropped an average of four balls per game, and will probably continue to do so. Extrapolated over the course of a regular season, that’s 48 passes dropped. At 10.2 yards per receptions, that’s 489.6 yards of lost offense, not counting drives that would have been extended because passes were dropped on third down. I realize that no receiver is going to catch 100% of the balls thrown to him (unless his last name is Fitzgerald…), but what if Pitt were able to cut the number of drops in half? When you factor in extended drives and additional pass attempts, you’re looking at probably 30 YPG of offense and an additional 360 yards on the season. Probably an additional three points per game on average as well, if not six.
Of course this is all speculation, but right now Kenny’s stats (assuming he starts and finished the final four games) project out to the following:
- 495 attempts
- 295 completions
- 2997 yards
- 14 TD
- 10 Int
If his receivers caught half of the balls they dropped (and are projected to drop) during the course of the season, Pickett’s stat line would look more like this:
- 532 attempts (+3 per game)
- 320 completions (+2 per game)
- 3357 yards (+30 per game)
- 17 TD (+1 per every three games)
- 10 Int (unchanged)
- +1 in the win column (i.e. Miami)
While that still probably puts Pickett in the bottom third of NCAA quarterbacks when it comes to QB rating, it is a far cry from last year:
- 310 attempts
- 180 completions
- 1969 yards
- 12 TD
- 6 Int
It’s also a nice bump over what he’s currently projecting. Just imagine what Whipple can do when he has time to groom a quarterback into his system and develop some wide receivers who are as consistent as he needs them to be.
But again, this is speculation. And it does us no good to live in the fantasy-world of “what if”. After all, we are Pitt fans, and we are used to hard doses of reality.
And the reality is this: For better or worse, the Pitt coaching staff believes that Kenny Pickett gives them the best chance to win. The frustration of course, is that he is what he is. (Stats best viewed on desktop or tablet. Or click here to view at ESPN)
Better on the road than at home:
Best in the second quarter. Terrible in the third. Just good enough in the fourth:
Pretty good in the red zone between the 10 and the 20. Pretty bad when in between Pitt’s own 20 and 40. Mediocre at best when inside the opponent’s 10 yard line.
Worst on second down. Surprisingly good on fourth.
Somehow better on 3rd and long than he is on 3rd and medium and 3rd and short.
Somehow better on 2nd and long than he is on 2nd and medium.
Amazingly bad on 3rd (and 4th) and short.
Again, all previous stats from ESPN.com – please contact them with any complaints about font size. Click this link if you want a better look.
So looking at these stats, and thinking back to some game film, the one common thread is that Kenny panics, and also he sometimes throws too hard. And yet he’s clearly very clutch in some key situations. It’s almost like the only way to get Kenny out of his own head is to put him in an extremely high-pressure situation. And of course circling back to the drops issue, you have to ask how many drops came on 3rd and less than eight? At least a half dozen, and mostly from the Tight Ends. Still…Kenny can’t control the drops, but if he can figure out a way to get a little more consistent is some of these non-pressure situations, our offense will be much better for it. My half-crazy-Pitt-fan advice: “Get thee to a sports psychologist Kenny, and quickly too!”
Hail to Pitt