Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Measuring Up -- Where Does IU's Chappell Rate In Big Ten

As we know from our football history lessons (and from the number of hot babes dated and endorsements received), a team’s success is directly related to the quality of its quarterback.

Yes, it’s a team game and defense, as we have noted before, is a huge component. But no position has a bigger impact than quarterback.

So where does Indiana’s Ben Chappell stack up in relation to the other Big Ten QBs?

Let’s take a look.

First, Chappell is a senior with extensive experience over the last two seasons. As a sophomore he split time with Kellen Lewis and threw for over a thousand yards. Last year, Lewis was kicked off the team and Chappell became the main guy. He became the first IU quarterback to complete better than 60 percent of his passes (62.6 percent). Just as impressive was the fact he learned how to throw the ball away. Although not the most mobile quarterback in America, he was sacked just 16 times.

Of course, a lot of that had to do with the quality of his protection (the offensive line did a solid job), but he still was good at avoiding drive-killing sacks.

He threw for 2,941 yards and 17 touchdowns. His 15 interceptions were high. In an ideal world he’d cut the interceptions to fewer than 10 and get the touchdown passes to over 20 this season.

Six other experienced Big Ten quarterbacks return.

The best is likely to be Ohio State’s Terrelle Pryor because of his dual-threat ability.

While his running gets much of the attention (he rushed for 779 yards and seven touchdowns last season), he also completed 56.6 percent of his passes for 2,094 yards and 18 touchdowns against 11 interceptions. Not great, but not bad. You can bet the house he’ll be better this season.

The most accurate returning quarterback is Wisconsin’s Scott Tolzien. He completed 64.3 percent of his passes for 2,705 yards, 16 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.

The quarterback known for playing the best in the fourth quarter is Iowa’s Ricky Stanzi. While his overall numbers weren’t great (56.3 percent, 2,417 yards, 17 touchdowns, 15 interceptions) he came up big in big moments, a huge reason why the Hawkeyes went 11-2 last season. Stanzi was injured in their losses to Northwestern and Ohio State.

Michigan State’s Kirk Cousins had a solid season. He completed 60.4 percent of his passes for 2,680 yards, 19 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

The other returning quarterbacks are the inconsistent Adam Weber of Minnesota (52.0 percent, 2,582 yards, 13 touchdowns, 15 interceptions) and the youthful Tate Forcier of Michigan (58.7 percent, 2,050 yards, 13 touchdowns, 10 interceptions as a freshman).

The bottom line is Chappell is smart, experienced and has a strong group of receivers to throw to. He has a chance to be the Big Ten’s second-best quarterback. If IU is to have a winning record, he has to be.

Nobody said playing quarterback was pressure free.

1 comment:

  1. You gotta love a solid senior QB. The offensive line is the key. But, I'd say he's in the top 3 at least, maybe not from an NFL-talent standpoint alone, but from experience, smarts and talent, for sure.