By Reed Kohberger
Editor’s Note: Lt. Commander USCG (Ret), and Pitt POV Blogger Emeritus Reed emailed me this article yesterday afternoon. Seeing as how today is Labor Day, it was well timed, because let me tell you writing a decent article is Hard Work, and well, now I can spend a couple of extra hours with my family. Regarding the article, it’s vintage Kohberger. Enjoy.
In a POV comment regarding Kenny Pickett the other day I wrote about him as “all show, no substance Pickett”.
Perhaps I should have said about Pickett is that I think he’s “all show and no effectiveness” which describes him more accurately. He’s a gamer, and tough as nails, and I rooted for him to do well since I watched him in drills and scrimmages in his early first spring camp years ago. I saw he was a tough kid back then and he’s remained that.
But to me the true mark of a successful QB is not how gutsy he is but 1) How many points are scored while he’s behind Center and 2) How effective is his passing game to where he has a direct hand in moving the ball downfield to get the offense in position to score? That means moving the sticks whether it is by passing for 1st downs and red zone TDs or having the RBs able to take it in on shorter TDs.
Of course that also addresses not only passing yardage (no complaint about that – his passing yards are good) but the effectiveness of his passing. The results with KP as a starting QB shows just how poor he has been at that.
These markers are measured by yards per attempt (YPA), yards per completion (YPC), 1st downs made by passing and TDs/INTs thrown. All of which contribute directly to a QB’s “Passing Efficiency”. KP’s efficiency ratings for his starting years are very poor at 120.32 (90th) in ’18 and a sliver better at 122.42 (91st) last season.
BTW – that is 90th and 91st out of only 113 QBs listed…so he was consistent in that at least.
We all know just how horrid the offense was last season. It was poor all around and, yes, the RBs sucked and the OL sucked also. In both Pickett’s years our OL was 75th & 77th in sacks allowed. And we know it would have been worse had KP not tucked and scrambled so often. But in those games I watched what jumped out at me was how prematurely he did that – when he could have quickly checked to his 2nd or 3rd receivers.
Editor’s note: Not to pile on but I came across this stat on Twitter this weekend. Not only was Pickett not checking down, but he was spending a virtual eternity look at his #1 option.
“In 2019, which ACC QBs got rid of the ball the quickest? 1. Hendon Hooker (2.39 sec) 2. Tommy DeVito (2.41) 3. Devin Leary (2.42) 4. Micale Cunningham (2.44) 11. Jamie Newman (2.67) 12. Jarren Williams (2.70) 13. Dennis Grosel (2.78) 14. Kenny Pickett (2.79)“
In 2018 we had a great running game – but our passing offense at 141 ypg (120th nationally) along with that poor passing efficiency of 124.3 helped kill whatever chance we had to really close the lid on losses we could have and should have won.
Then we saw what happened last season with, again, big passing yardage that only got us very few points (114th @ 21.2). Had we had any sort of an effective passing game we most likely would have beaten PSU (lost by 7 / opp total point 17), Miami (lost by 3 / opp total points 16) and BC (lost by 7 / opp total points 26).
In our five losses last season KP averaged a passing efficiency rating of…drum roll please…101.9. Makes someone want to cry. In addition, and this kills me, he threw a total of one (1!!) TD in those losses. One in five games…
Here are the Pitt QBs historical Passing Efficiency marks over the last decade with the QBs involved – the double QBs listing is the team’s average:
2019 Pickett 122.4
2018 Pickett 120.3
2017 Brown / DeNucci 129.0
2016 Peterman 163.4
2015 Voytik / Peterman 137.4
2014 Voytik 140.2
2013 Savage 138.2
2012 Sunseri 151.5
2012 Sunseri 124.1
2011 Sunseri 137.0 Let’s add one more:
2010 Stull 150.6
So – his two seasons are the two lowest in 11 years of play. Now, Pitt fans have been notorious for our criticisms of our QB’s – always have and, I think, always will. Let’s face it, we ran Tino Sunseri (137.9 average) and Bill Stull (136.4) through the wringers but both of them were a lot more efficient in their time as our QB then our current starter.
So we can like Pickett as a young man and now a Team Captain but that doesn’t erase the fact that in reality he’s been one of the least effective QBs we have had in a long time. He’s been blessed with strong defenses in his two years otherwise we’d be riding him just like those others also.
Things can change as we see happen in college football every year. I’m looking forward and hoping he’ll make a big jump in progress for his final season but not holding my breath for a dramatic change. I feel that for 2020 our best hope is again a dominant defense because without it and having to rely on our Offense we’ll be in trouble.