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How Much Can Harrell Improve?

Much has been discussed about the fact that this year our beloved Red Raiders will have a quarterback return for a second season, which has only happened only one other time with Texas Tech hero, Kliff Kingsbury, in the Mike Leach era.

Having a little extra time to burn, or perhaps being inspired by others I started the research. So exactly how much did Kingsbury improve from one season to the next and can we project the same type of improvement from Graham Harrell? Let's look at Kingsbury's numbers first.

Player Year Games QB Rating Att.-Comp.-Int. Pct. Yards Yards/Att. TD TD/Att. Long Avg./Game
Kingsbury, K. 2002 14 143.67 712-479-13 67.3 5,017 7.04 45 15.82 67 358.4
Kingsbury, K. 2001 11 136.80 529-365-9 69.0 3,502 6.62 25 21.16 68 318.4

That's pretty healthy improvement from one season to the next. Kliff increased his quarterback rating almost 7 percentage points and generally speaking this means that Kingsbury increased in all of the right statistics while minimizing the bad statistics. Let's get a little more specific and determine the increases from 2001 to 2002:

  • QB Rating: +6.87
  • Attempts: +183
  • Completions: +114
  • Yards Per Attempt: +0.42
  • Interceptions: -4
  • Completion Percentage: -1.7
  • Touchdowns: +20
  • Touchdowns Per Attempt: +5.34
  • Yards Per Game: +40

Kingsbury's biggest increases where in attempts, completions, touchdowns and yards per game. These increases weren't merely pedestrian, they were significant. Perhaps more importantly there were noticeable increases in yards per attempt and touchdowns per attempt.

Interestingly, Kingsbury's completion percentage dropped slightly, but the sheer number of additional passes from one year to the next seems almost negligible when considering that Kliff only completed the 1.7% less of his passes. Besides, completing over 65% of your passes puts you in fairly high company.

Kingsbury's increases in yards per attempt seems like a comfort level statistic. The more comfortable that Kingsbury was in the offense then there was less of a need to rely on the very short passes and screens. The increase in touchdowns per attempt is fairly a little more important. As an aside and for comparison purposes, B.J. Symons had a touchdown percentage of 13.82 in 2003, Sonny Cumbie was 20.06 in 2004, and Cody Hodges was 17.12 in 2005. Thus, after the incredible year that B.J. Symons had in 2003, Kingsbury's increase probably again means that there's a certain comfort level as Kliff more than likely had a much better idea of where he needed to go with the ball and how to score. I won't even try to account for Symons instant success as his touchdown percentage is enough to make him one of the top, if not the best passer in Texas Tech history.

So can we make a few assumptions about the increase in production that we could expect from Graham Harrell this year? Here's Harrell's numbers from last year.

Player Year Games QB Rating Att.-Comp.-Int. Pct. Yards Yards/Att. TD TD/Att. Long Avg./Game
Harrell, Graham 2006 13 145.55 617-412-11 66.8 4,555 7.38 38 16.23 76 350.4

Harrell's numbers are pretty damn good for a sophomore quarterback playing in his first collegiate season. Perhaps the most impressive statistic is Harrell's touchdown percentage where after one year's performance Harrell is only behind Kingsbury's second year and Symons' incredible year. And that's after only one year - we've got two more years with Harrell under center.

Harrell's completion percentage could improve slightly, at least from a statistical standpoint, but as I said above, anything over 65% is excellent and a near 70% passing rate is off the charts. A more efficient Harrell would just be scary.

Naturally, I'd love to see Harrell's touchdown numbers increase accordingly and if Harrell increases his yards per attempt then this means that this Texas Tech offense is really clicking and receivers are getting open down the field.

Where do you think Harrell has the opportunity to improve on last year's numbers? Leave your comments below.