I tend to be something of a Dana Bible apologist. While I don’t think he is a genius or great offensive coordinator, I don’t think he is nearly as bad as most BC fans believe. However, one of the criticisms that I’ve thought was valid is that under Bible QBs seem to regress. Worried that Matt Ryan might be the latest to slump, I looked back at the year to year progress of our past Bible signal callers. I was surprised by what I found. (Don’t you hate when statistics get in the way of popularly held beliefs?) While Brian St. Pierre’s Senior Year will remain the prototype for Senior Year regression, others have shown progress. Even Porter and St. Pierre’s rough final seasons showed improvement in some key stats. In fairness, statistics don’t tell the whole story. When I think of St. Pierre’s 2002, I don’t think about his improved completion percentage. Instead I think about a Senior QB with all the time in the world bouncing a throw at his wide-open Tight End’s feet against Pitt (BC lost). I don't think freezing up is a Bible issue. With St. Pierre and Porter, I just don’t think either were very good college QBs. The fact that we invested so much in them or started them over other guys may speak to bigger issues with Bible (and TOB), but I don’t think it is an indictment of Bible’s quarterback coaching or play calling.
Here are the numbers.
The only recurring theme that did disturb me was yards per completion. It seems like every QB that spent at least two seasons as a starter saw his yards per completion decline in the second year. This might support the belief that Bible pushes checkdowns and short passes. I hope not. Matt Ryan’s downfield throws were things of beauty and really sparked the team and offense last season. Taking that aspect of his game away will help no one this year.
I'll keep trying to find a good forecast for what we can expect from Ryan. This little project made me feel better about my optimism since I can now say the second year slump is a player issue, not a Bible issue.