.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Hindsight is 20/20

"So Joe Ganz would be a Heisman candidate if he would have been the starter at the beginning of the season, right? Bill Callahan really made a mistake starting Sam Keller at the beginning of the year." I've heard both of these statements on Eastern Iowa sports radio today, and between that and a text conversation I had with GA last night, it made me wonder how much different the season would have been if Ganz would have started the entire year. It seems like a lock that Nebraska would have won at least two more games and stayed close in the others. Ganz is able to avoid the pass rush, forces the defense to consider his rushing ability, and is an accurate enough passer that he can rack up 510 yds passing and seven touchdowns against a decent, middle-of-the-road defense.

Why in the world was he not the starter this year? Obviously, Sam Keller had the big name and the Husker faithful wanted him as the starter. Doesn't the coaching staff have to see that he gives us the best chance to win? Granted, as I even included as the title, hindsight is 20/20 and people are going to bitch either way because Nebraska has at least four losses with or without Ganz. You can't even be sure that their record would be any different, but isn't it scary to think that Callahan is probably still the coach at the end of the season if Sam Keller had never transferred to Nebraska?

Labels: , ,

I absolutely think that we would be talking about what bowl we'd be going to right now as opposed to who we're going to hire as the new coach.

It is too bad, but it gets back to the whole problem with Callahan--he cannot get the right people on the field. He's not a good evaluator of talent. Among many other things.

But the biggest thing is--as has been discussed ad naseum--he doesn't get the college game. It's a game of emotion. It's a game where maybe the better pro prospect isn't the better college player (hello, Tommy Frazier and Brook Berringer). Ganz clearly is a leader that the players love, is really smart, and can run a little bit.

But the biggest thing is the leadership. Look at how guys that have not been factors whatsoever this year morph into the players they used to be (or had the potential to be) in one game. Franz Hardy and Terrance Nunn to name a couple. And the players that have been there all year but haven't done much: Mo Purify (looking like the borderline All-American we all thought he could be), Marlon Lucky, Todd Peterson. Is it really coincidence that their games transformed the second Ganz took over?

I honestly think that Ganz being in all season would have led to us being 8-3 or so.

It really pisses a Husker fan off to know that now, doesn't it?
I love Ganz as much as the next guy, but he did start last week too, right? That didn't exactly turn out so well. That's no criticism of him--he still put up points--but the problems with this football team have little to do with Keller or Ganz, frankly. Beau Davis could have quarterbacked during the blowouts and it wouldn't have changed anything. Honestly, assuming Ganz could have done better than Keller in every game without ever suffering a down week, what game would we have won that we didn't already?

Maybe Texas A&M, but Keller didn't throw a pick and completed nearly 60 percent of his passes for 275 yards and a touchdown. Against Texas, Keller had 298, 2 TDs, and a 65 percent completion percentage before he got hurt. Oklahoma State is the only game you could make the argument on, but Keller still had okay numbers (55 percent completion percentage, 2 TD, 2 int) while trying to climb back from being down 38.

Keller was solid, good even, and while he won't be here long enough to make much of a lasting impression, he did about as well as could be expected considering the situation. I have to say, it was nice to see him during the sideline interview on Saturday. Say what you will about the guy, but he definitely cares a lot. It surprised me, at least.
Ad-Rock, I hear what you're saying, but those stats are incredibly misleading. You have to look at it in total offense, yards per catch, etc:

Keller vs. Texas: 12.9 YPC, 280 yards of total offense, 2 TD's.

Ganz vs. K-State: 17 YPC, 528 yards of total offense, 7 TD's.

Ganz vs. Kansas: 16.2 YPC, 411 yards of total offense, 4 TD's, 4 INTs

The most important thing here, in my opinion, is the YPC. What does that tell us? That Ganz THROWS THE BALL DOWN THE FIELD. He knows the offense well enough, and he knows his receivers well enough, that he doesn't have to check down to the running back every pass play.

Another thing to look at is this:

Receiving vs. Texas: Swift 6-112; Lucky 6-41; Purify 5-38; Nunn 2-29; Hardy 1-56, etc.

Receiving vs. K-State: Purify 6-108; Lucky 6-78; Nunn 5-56; Peterson 4-85; Hardy 3-83, etc.

Receiving vs. Kansas: Purify 7-158; Lucky 6-83; Swift 3-42; etc.

The point is that Ganz knows who Nebraska's playmakers are, and he gets them the ball in areas where they can make plays. He trusts his receivers to go up and make a play. Keller never did any of that. He'd make the slant throw or the safety valve throw. That's it.

The fact of the matter is that Keller averaged 11.8 yards per throw this season. Ganz is sitting at 16.3. Keller had 2 more TD's than Ganz has since that TD he threw to Mo at the end of the aTm game.

Incredibly small sample size? Absolutely. But the way that the players around him increased their game seemingly tenfold is the reason I feel strongly about this. And it's the reason I think this season would have a very different feel to it right now.

Now, I hear you when you say the blowouts wouldn't have been different. Case in point: Kansas. Pretty sure Ganz played that entire game. However, that was the 5th game of a 5 game losing streak, on the road, and the psychological damage had been done.

And it looked like it would be the same this week when K-State cruised down the field for a quick 7-0 lead. However, a big return by Grixby changed the game. Instead of the normal "return it 22 yards on the kick, have a 20 or 30 yard drive that takes virtually no time off the clock then punt, rinse and repeat" under Keller leads to our bad defense being bad, defeated, and really tired.

With Ganz--a guy who has a little Farve in him in that he is willing to take chances and make big plays--you have someone who is going to throw the ball down the field. Someone who can scramble for a bunch of yards. Someone who you just know can convert a 1st down on any given play. Now the opponents defense has to stay honest, and it opens up the running game.

I mean, if you know that the QB (when Keller was in) is either going to hand it off or pass it for 5 yards, are you really worry about covering deep routes? Absolutely not. So you bring everybody in, watch 3 plays go by in around a minute, and go out there and punish Nebraska's defense again.

Not to mention CFB swings big time with momentum. And while defenses obviously would have scored on us all year, with Ganz, we would have had the opportunity to make big plays and get momentum back.

Now, again, I know it happened regardless at Kansas. But I think if you had the mentality of "you know what, we gave up a tough drive, but I bet Joey gets it to Mo for a big gain any minute now" all season, I just don't see it possible that we lose 5 in a row.

Like I said: I'm not saying we're talking about the BCS here or anything, I just think that we'd be looking at a far more respectiful season and we probably would not have been blown out once like we were this season.
I know. I guess I just started to get a soft spot for Keller when he was running down the field on Grixby's return. Before that I'm pretty sure I hated him, but I can't remember. Anyway:

I just don't think Ganz's stats so far can be translated over the course of a season since we'd have to pretend that Callahan would have (or should have) thrown as much as he did in the last two games. Considering how anomolous they were, I don't really get the comparison between a close game like Texas and the blowouts that were the Kansases. In one, Callahan threw 50 times because our defense couldn't stop them. In the other, a clearly frustrated Husker team ran up the score--to my delight, of course--against a K-State team that quit sometime in the 2nd quarter. I mean, Ganz threw 40 times in that game.

I would also say that yards per attempt is a more important stat than YPC (if you go, say, 4/25 for 100 yards the YPC is a misleading 25 while the YPA is a more indicative 4). In the Texas game, Keller's YPA was 8.5 while Ganz's in the Kansas game was 8.1. Both are good.

No question Ganz's game last week was an insane, record-breaking performance and it's impossible to say anyone, Keller or otherwise, could have equalled it. I just wanted to point out that I can't imagine Ganz having won any more games than Keller did. For every one you might be able to say that about, another one (like, say, Ball State) might have gone another way too.

I guess this is just a long way of saying that when your defense gives up 36 points per game, it usually doesn't matter who your QB is.
Of course, you might be more convinced if I spelled anomalous correctly.
Yeah, I agree with everything you're saying, too. I just think that Ganz is way more in tune with the offense, and that could have affected a lot of games quite a bit.
So what if Callahan had played Ganz all year and we were 8-3 like GA thinks? People would still upset. An 8-3 record is still not good enough and people would be asking why Callahan hadn't been playing Keller - I mean the guy was supposed to be a Heisman candidate. Keller coming to Nebraska was one of the biggest transfers in recent memory and had Callahan not started him people would have been calling for his head. The first time Ganz had a rough game all you would have heard was "why isn't he playing Keller." The best player at Nebraska is always the backup quaterback.

Let's not forget, it was our defense that lost those games. Maybe Ganz would have thrown less picks and maybe Ganz would have had more yards and maybe he would have utilized more players, but the bottom line is that our defense would have still been awful.
That's ridiculous. For the 7,000th time, it doesn't matter what the record is. It matters if the team is competitive and we're not getting blown out.

Would people have been confused and second-questioning the staff if Keller didn't start at the beginning of the year? Yeah, they would've.

But if Ganz would've started all year, leading us to a 8-3 record and every game be competitive, people would not have been bitching.

And the "best player at Nebraska is always the backup quarterback" comment is ridiculous. Pretty sure no one was clamoring for Brook Berringer to start over Tommy Frazier, regardless of how good Brook was (and he was really good--I'm pretty sure he could have won a NC on his own merits).

I guess I don't get your negative ass coments the past few months. I take your point that--as the title of the post indicates, clearly--that hindsight is 20/20. But Christ, the stats and results are on Ganz's side. I don't really see where the argument is here. He has played better than Sam Keller, and the people around him have played better.

There's no two sides to the debate here. It is what it is.
I think it is a HUGE stretch to think that this team is anywhere close to being 8-3 if Ganz had started the whole year, i truly believe that at BEST Ganz would have produced 1 more win than Keller did.

GA kind of hit on this already, but he absolutely right in the difference between the two QB's...Ganz throws the ball down the field (and is obviously more mobil). And that has produced some really good #'s over the last couple games, but GA i think you are missing one big point in all of that. I truly believe that if Ganz had started all year he would have possibly thrown more INT's than Keller did. Throwing it down the field constantly does lead to INT's and i think the second half of the KU game is pretty telling of what can happen.

Please don't get me wrong, I love what Ganz has done, but i really believe that Keller won the job legit in fall camp and is not getting the credit he deserves in all of this. I'm starting to wonder if QB was the only position on the team that we had any true depth and that without Keller/Ganz how we would have even won more than 1 game this season.
Well, we can absolutely agree on your point about depth.

And, again, I'm not saying that they would have been 8-3, and that's it. We very well could have the exact same record. I just think that we would not have been blown out badly, and would have been "in" every game.

That's all I'm saying.
Man, I guess I hit a nerve with my "negative ass comments", sorry GA. I just like to play devil's advocate. Anyone who knows me knows that is the case. I'm not trying to be negative, I just like to stir the pot. And I'd say your statement of "the last few months" misses the mark just a tad -- let's try the last few decades. I'm an asshole, remember.

Sarah says you should try living with me.

That said, I hope Ganz does continue to rejuvinate a dying season and that he comes back next year to make us a competitive team. I am just not sure we can judge his impact based on two games. Afterall, the defense has allowed 107 points in Ganz's two games. I mean the guy NEEDS to be a huge offensive stud to overcome 35 points allowed per game, which is what we have allowed this season. GAnz will have a huge test next week at Colorado.

I think we'll have to wait and see if there truly is "no two sides to the debate." It would be great if you are right
It's really hard to know how good Keller could have been this year. He was always playing from behind, which elimated our running game and allowed teams to cheat against the pass. Look at the one game Ganz had to play from behind, he threw 4 interceptions. Also, I think it is important to note that our O-line is playing better now than what they were at the start of the season. When Keller had time, he was pretty good.

And how do we know that Ganz is specifically the cause for a more vertical offensive attack? Maybe Kansas game planned to take the short pass away and K-State seeing how successful it worked copied that plan.

Hopefully Ganz is the college football version of Tony Romo, but I think we need to watch a few more games.
Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home
College Term Papers And Research Papers
Term Papers

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?