I’ve been thinking a lot about our QB1 situation lately. Is Walsh our problem? Is Chelf some sort of an answer? Do our offensive struggles lie solely on our quarterback play (national guys sure think so)? This looming question has been casting a BPS size shadow over all of us.
I do have my own, very strong, opinions about where some blame can be flung. Play calling, O-Line, Yurcich (no, not the same as play calling), and definitely some QB play. Some of our contributors have written great pieces about some of the previously mentioned "stuff" (check them out here, here and this one from PFB).
So I’m going to dive into the one constant. The one thing that is concrete, measurable, and indisputable. The Numbers.
First, lets take a look at Chelf’s 2012 season, by the numbers:
As a junior, Chelf threw for 1,588 yards on 197 attempts for a 60.4% Completion Percentage, a 8.1 yards per play average, 15 touchdowns, 6 interceptions with an overall passing efficiency rating of 147.2. Chelf also rushed for 162 yards on 31 attempts, with a 5.2 ypg average.
Those are pretty solid numbers. We can all agree that last year, Chelf stepped in to a tough situation, bowed his back, and played hard. He is a fan favorite. I mean, he's Choo Choo. He shows good pocket presence, slings the ball pretty well, and can make plays with his legs when he needs to. Chelf is a good quarterback.
Now lets see what Walsh did in the 2012 season:
During Walsh’s redshirt freshman year, he threw for 1,564 yards on 163 attempts for a 66.9% completion percentage, 9.6 ypp, 13 TDs, 3 interceptions with an overall passing efficiency rating of 170.1. Walsh rushed for 290 yards on 50 attempts and 5.8 ypc average and 7 touchdowns.
Those were Walsh’s numbers on three starts, but included time in the Savannah State game for mop-up duty, and taking over for Lunt in the Louisiana game.
Last season, Walsh came out firing. He was exciting, tough, and a playmaker. He dazzled us with his feet, his arm (kind sorta), and his football IQ. If you want to try and tell me that you weren't all kinds of jacked up about J.W. last year, you’re nose is growing.
So far, after 5 starts, #4’s stats are similar. His play hasn’t dropped off too much with an extra 2 starts. He has thrown 169 times this season, completing 60% of his passes on a 7.2 ypg average. The biggest difference is TD’s thrown (9 this season) and his QBR (135.1 this season). And compared to Chelf last season, the numbers are even closer, as you can see below:
|Walsh (2013)||Chelf (2012)|
(Our own Robert Whetsell did a nice recap on Walsh's stats earlier this spring and how undeniable his numbers in 2012 were. You can read that piece here.)
Are those numbers the entire reason that our offense is struggling? Absolutely not.
So what happened? Why has Walsh gone from savior when Lunt went down to whipping boy now? Is it just part of being a QB? Is it because everyone always cheers for the guy on the sideline? Is it part of becoming a big-time national program? I have no idea, but it’s not because of his arm.
Understand, I'm not trying to make a statement that Walsh is a potential Heisman candidate, future NFL QB, or is our offensive savior, I'm simply stating he isn't our sole problem, and a simple swap with Chelf isn't the answer. That being said, if our offense continues down the road it is currently traveling, bringing in Chelf for an offensive spark might be what our offense needs. But throwing our proven starter overboard right now is not a solution, nor the answer.
So, going into our toughest game of the season against TCU, if our offense continues to struggle, lets be better than booing our starting QB and calling for his head. This isn’t Owen field. We’re better than that.
Here’s to our real savior. The diamond formation.