If a Notre Dame Fighting Irish fan were to compare Brandon Wimbush and Ian Book at the same point of their careers, they may be surprised what they found during a quick glance.
Book’s Irish career now totals 496 plays. Wimbush snapped off #496 near the end of the first quarter against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons.
A snapshot follows:
Wimbush vs. Book, First 496 Plays
|Yds gained from run||2359||1477|
|Rush yards per attempt||7.51||5.18|
|Runs by QB (excluding sacks)||87||73|
|Yds gained from run by QB (excluding sacks)||699||397|
|Yards per QB rush attempt||8.0||5.4|
|Yds gained from pass||1095||1593|
|Yards per comp||11.4||10.8|
|Yards per attempt||6.0||7.5|
|Total offense (rush + pass yards)||3454||3070|
|First downs by pass||51||74|
|First downs by QB run||29||18|
|% of 1Ds accounted for||58.4%||61.7%|
|% of 1D runs accounted for by QB||33.7%||24.0%|
|Touchdowns thrown % of all TDs||27.8%||44.1%|
|Touchdowns run by QB||12||3|
|% of total TDs that were run by QB||33.3%||8.8%|
|TDs by QB (arm or legs)||22||18|
|TDs by QB as % of total TDs||61.1%||52.9%|
|Interceptions per attempt||1.1%||3.3%|
|Fumbles by QB||6||2|
|Fumbles lost by QB||4||0|
|QB carries (including sacks)||99||85|
|Fumbles lost per QB carry||4.0%||0.0%|
|Sacked per pass attempt||6.6%||5.7%|
|Negative yardage plays||49||45|
|Negative yardage plays by QB||23||17|
|Explosive pass plays (20+ yards)||20||20|
|Explosive run plays (12+ yards)||50||34|
|Explosive plays total||70||54|
|Explosive plays by QB run||18||7|
|Explosive plays by QB arms/legs||38||27|
|Explosive % generated by QB||54.3%||50.0%|
|First down success rate||36.5%||45.7%|
|Second down success rate||29.6%||51.5%|
|Third down success rate||31.5%||50.0%|
|Fourth down success rate||100.0%||80.0%|
|Overall success rate||33.5%||49.3%|
I do this comparison because it yields what I believe is an interesting discussion. Consider these questions as you look at the above data:
- How did you feel about Wimbush prior to the second quarter of the last year’s Wake Forest game? After limited reps in 2015, the redshirt sophomore (academically, a junior) was 6-1 as a starter heading into that contest.
- If the answer to the first question is that you had a positive impression of his play, is that different than you feel about him now?
- If the answer to the first question is that you had concerns about his play, what in the above data concerned you the most? Certainly, his completion percentage sticks out. But despite that, he was still averaging six yards gained per attempt.
- If you were positive about Wimbush then, concerned about him now, and are glad that Book is QB, do you have any concerns that Book will regress to the point where you will view him in the future as you do Wimbush now? If not, what data point is most suggestive that he’ll succeed where Wimbush did not?
A DEEPER LOOK INTO SUCCESS RATE
If there is a difference between Wimbush and Book, perhaps it’s easily identifiable by looking at success rate.
Success rate is Bill Connelly’s metric, which distills every play into a binary result — successful or unsuccessful.
Here are the criteria for “success rate” for an offense:
- First downs: gaining at least 50 percent of necessary yardage (usually 5 yards) is successful.
- Second downs: gaining at least 70 percent of necessary yardage is successful.
- Third or fourth downs: gaining at least 100 percent of necessary yardage is successful.
Let’s first look at some baseline numbers.
The Notre Dame offense was successful on 378 of 911 plays in 2017, for a success rate of 41.5 percent. The Irish offense so far this year has been successful on 229 of 516 plays, a success rate of 44.4 percent. (Connelly’s numbers differ slightly from mine because he excludes garbage time.)
For passers, Connelly says success rate is strictly for pass attempts (all throws, plus sacks).
Wimbush’s success rate in 2017 was 32.6 percent; it’s been 40.2 percent so far this year. That second figure puts him in what Connelly would call “Ryan Mallett territory.”
Book, however, has a success rate this year of 54.9 percent. If he were able to keep that up over a career, that’d put him in the same category as Baker Mayfield. The Oklahoma Sooners quarterback had a career success rate of 54.8 percent. (Book’s career figure is 49.3 percent, which is akin to what Andy Dalton did for the TCU Horned Frogs.)
COMPARISON TO PAST QUARTERBACKS
As usual, I’m offering a comparison of Book to past Irish quarterbacks at this stage in his career (496 plays). This set includes Matt LoVecchio, Carlyle Holiday, Brady Quinn, Jimmy Clausen, Dayne Crist, Tommy Rees, Everett Golson, DeShone Kizer and Wimbush. I’ve added a few more stats this week, including rushing yards by a quarterback. These figures do not include sacks, so, yes, Rees really rushed 14 times for 19 yards. (For what it’s worth, Book’s running stats look similar so far to Kizer’s rookie year in 2015.)
For the second week in a row, the run/pass mix with Ian Book under center is exactly the same as it was under Golson in the period studied. Fun! That became the “ridiculous stat that may be indicative of nothing” in John Walters’ column for The Athletic.
OMG. It still holds up.— Jude (@andrewwinn) October 14, 2018
Ian Book has now run 496 plays as a Notre Dame quarterback. There have been 285 runs and 211 passes.
The mix for Everett Golson, through his first 496 plays in 2012? 285 runs and 211 passes. #NDFB
Here’s the data in a Google Sheet, in case it’s hard to read here.
Notre Dame Quarterbacks, Through 496 Plays
|Yds gained from run||1718||1620||1073||526||819||1112||1404||1519||2359||1477|
|Runs by QB (excluding sacks)||59||127||28||28||30||14||61||74||87||73|
|Yds gained from run by QB (exc sacks)||393||670||87||70||131||19||310||424||699||397|
|Yds gained from pass||968||706||1299||1196||1959||1818||1476||1971||1095||1593|
|Yards per comp||13.4||10.9||11.2||9.1||12.1||11.3||12.0||13.3||11.4||10.8|
|Yards per attempt||7.8||6.1||5.1||5.2||7.1||7.2||7.0||8.8||6.0||7.5|
|Total yards gained (run & pass)||2686||2326||2372||1722||2778||2930||2880||3490||3454||3070|
|First downs by pass||35||39||59||51||89||84||70||77||51||74|
|First downs by QB run||17||29||11||6||7||2||19||25||29||18|
|% of 1Ds accounted for||44.4%||57.1%||64.8%||60.6%||70.6%||62.8%||61.4%||68.0%||58.4%||61.7%|
|% of 1D runs accounted for by QB||20.7%||36.3%||22.4%||14.0%||14.9%||3.8%||25.3%||34.2%||33.7%||24.0%|
|Touchdowns thrown % of all TDs||36.7%||12.5%||50.0%||63.6%||65.0%||68.0%||28.6%||44.4%||27.8%||44.1%|
|Touchdowns run by QB||1||2||0||2||4||0||5||7||12||3|
|% of total TDs that were run by QB||3.3%||12.5%||0.0%||18.2%||20.0%||0.0%||23.8%||19.4%||33.3%||8.8%|
|TDs by QB (arm or legs)||12||4||6||9||17||17||11||23||22||18|
|TDs by QB as % of total TDs||40.0%||25.0%||50.0%||81.8%||85.0%||68.0%||52.4%||63.9%||61.1%||52.9%|
|Interceptions per attempt||0.8%||6.1%||4.3%||2.2%||1.8%||5.2%||1.9%||2.7%||1.1%||3.3%|
|Fumbles by QB||1||9||4||5||4||5||8||3||6||2|
|Fumbles lost by QB||1||3||1||3||3||3||4||0||4||0|
|QB carries (including sacks)||72||127||35||60||46||19||73||89||99||85|
|Fumbles lost per QB carry||1.4%||2.4%||2.9%||5.0%||6.5%||15.8%||5.5%||0.0%||4.0%||0.0%|
|Sacked per pass attempt||10.5%||13.9%||2.7%||13.8%||5.8%||2.0%||5.7%||6.7%||6.6%||5.7%|
|Negative yardage plays||55||59||51||77||48||44||41||57||49||45|
|Negative yardage plays by QB||22||34||11||35||19||9||18||25||23||17|
|Explosive pass plays (20+ yards)||14||6||12||12||20||30||21||27||20||20|
|Explosive run plays (12+ yards)||38||31||30||13||21||31||26||38||50||34|
|Explosive plays total||52||37||42||25||41||61||47||65||70||54|
|Explosive plays by QB run||13||17||4||0||3||1||7||10||18||7|
|Explosive plays by QB arms/legs||27||23||16||12||23||31||28||37||38||27|
|Explosive % generated by QB||51.9%||62.2%||38.1%||48.0%||56.1%||50.8%||59.6%||56.9%||54.3%||50.0%|