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Previewing Texas Tech vs. Ole Miss: Quarterbacks

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QUARTERBACK

Player Ht/Wt Class Att Comp Yds Comp% Yds/Att Int TD Rating
Graham Harrell 6'3"/205 Sr. 568 406 4,747 75.5% 8.4 7 41 163.04
Jevan Snead 6'3"/215 So. 298 166 2,470 55.7% 8.3 12 23 142.76

Graham Harrell

Graham Harrell, the legend.

Was Graham Harrell to blame for the typical "bad loss"? I think we can all point to one loss, Oklahoma, that was a bad loss, but not as we have typically defined the "bad loss" in the past (a loss to a much inferior team). Harrell has been able to overcome turnovers and a few interceptions to be incredibly efficient for well over a majority of Texas Tech's games this year. The last game against Baylor is a perfect example. Two first half turnovers, a broken left hand and Harrell still does what he has to do to lead the Red Raiders to a win.

We've talked about these statistics all year and there's no reason that we shouldn't discuss them today as well. For the year in 2008, Harrell completed 71.5% of his passes for an 8.4 yard per attempt average. Harrell also almost completely eliminated the multiple interception game (he had 2 INT's against TAMU) and had only 1 interception for every 81.14 attempts. Compared to 2007, where Harrell completed 71.8% of his passes, had 8.00 yards per attempt and 1 interception for every 50.92 attempts. Harrell reduced his interceptions by half in 2008 (14 to 7) and that right there is a huge part of why Texas Tech was so successful this year.

The huge drop in interceptions and the culmination of a number of factors, including having more experience in the Air Raid offense, which in turn lends itself to being able to read and understand defenses, in particular blitzes, and I'm convinced that Harrell's ability to spread the wealth amongst his receivers has been a good thing. Nine players had 15 or more catches in 2008 where in 2007 10 players had 15 or more catches, however, and this is a big however, Michael Crabtree accounted for 134 of those receptions while Danny Amendola had 109 of the 544 total receptions. It should also be noted that Shannon Woods had 34 catches in 2007, but averaged a dismal 4.06 yards per reception. I think it's safe to say that Woods has run with a little more purpose this year, where he's averaging 10.65 yards per reception.

I think I'd also be a bit remiss to not mention Shannon Woods and Baron Batch's work at picking up blitzes and allowing Harrell more time to throw the ball. They were pretty damn good all year, Harrell owes them, at the very least, a good Citizen Eco-Drive watch when the NCAA allows.

Jevan Snead

My name is Jevan.

I'm going to go ahead and say this now. I haven't watched a minute of Ole Miss football all season. I'm pretty sure that makes me a bad football fan, but at the very least that makes me honest. Everything that I'm basing off of Ole Miss is from the appropriate statistics. Now that we're done with the disclaimer, let's continue.

Jevan Snead is a better than average quarterback and before everyone goes crazy, that's not intended to be a shot at Snead. Keep in mind that he's just a sophomore, so there's a ton of room for improvement and if I'm Ole Miss I absolutely love what he's done this year. Let's look at some numbers. For the year, Snead completed 55.7% of his passes and averaged 8.3 yards per attempt for the year. For a first year starter, those are some really encouraging numbers and to be above 8.0 yards per attempt in his first full season as a starter is a good sign and means that Snead, despite the relatively low completion rate, is getting the ball down the field at an excellent rate.

Snead is also throwing an interception every 24.83 attempts, 4 of those picks came against Vanderbilt, and Snead has only thrown 1 interception in his last 4 games. Bottom line, Snead is not prone to throwing interceptions. In fact, Snead is ranked #26 in the nation in passer efficiency rating.

Snead is not a runner by any means, although I think it's safe to say he is a mobile quarterback and not a statue. For the year, Snead is only averaging 1.24 yards per rushing attempt and Snead's highest rushing game was 23 yards on 5 carries against Alabama.

The rushing part of the Ole Miss offense is left to the Wild Rebel formation where (I think) Brandon Bolden takes the part of Darren McFadden and mans the offense in Houston Nutt's infamous zone-read formation. Of course it's almost impossible to determine from statistics alone whether or not Bolden had all of his rushing attempts from the quarterback position and as a result, Bolden will be covered more in the running backs portion of the previews. I will say that Bolden is an incredibly effective running (4.99 yards per attempt) and is getting the ball 7.25 attempts a game.

Conclusion:

This may be the easiest matchup to determine, just because Harrell's statistics are so much in his favor in terms of yardage, touchdowns, completion rate, etc.

Matchup

Advantage

Quarterback