Folks – I put this bit of information below in a comment back on the “2012 Predictions” post but was interested enough in it to bring it forward for your conversation.
Back in April we posted an article about Paul Chryst’s run:pass ratio in his playcalling as the Offensive Coordinator at Wisconsin. In it we showed that there were some years where he called almost 70% running plays. That was in 2010 when he had three 1000> yard rushers in his offense. In his other seasons he was consistently run heavy.
Fast forward to Pittsburgh in 2012 where we see Tino Sunseri play well enough in summer training camp to keep his starting job but not setting the world on fire, nor lessening PITT fan’s expectations of his mediocrity. Because of that and his last year’s play there are thoughts, echo’d on other blogs and message boards, that Sunseri would be handcuffed by Chryst to lessen the chances of Sunseri making a bonehead play to blow our opportunities of winning games. Some fans were saying they thought that Sunseri would throw as few as 15 passes per game.
With that background, here is another comparision between the past UW and PITT offenses that I worked up yesterday.
In 2011, Sunseri passed 30 time per game and had 2616 yards. That large number of passes per game was due to more offensive plays per game and the shorter, more numerous, passing game of Todd Graham’s hurry-up, spread offense.
In 2010, with DW and Cignetti’s pro-style system, we passed 26 times per game and Sunseri had 2572 yards.
Wisconsin passed the ball pretty often also:
In 2011; 24 passes per game for 3175 yards with Russell Wilson at QB.
In 2010; 21 per game for 2459 yards with Scott Tolzien. This was the year of three 1000 yard rushers so naturally the ratio was skewed toward the very successful ground game. (Note: Tolzien’s stats are pretty similar to Sunseri’s over his career so it wasn’t that Tolzien sucked as a QB).
In 2009; 25 per game for 2705 yards with Tolzien.
In 2008; 26 per game for 2445 yards with a two QB platoon system.
In similar offenses the Wisky QBs were passing at the same rate Sunseri was in ’10 and that is what I think he’ll be asked to do in ’12.
I know the fans really do want to see less Sunseri passes but Chryst and Rudolph may not feel the same way. Again, it wasn’t Sunseri’s actual passing that was his problem last year, it was his poor decision making toward the end of the season late in the games… something we did not see from him in 2010.
So, if we think Paul Chryst is going to severely limit the passing game we are mistaken. We don’t have the horses in the backfield to do what Chryst did in 2010 and even then he called 21 passes per game. Ray Graham is injured, Bennett is good but with not much experience and Crockett and Shell have no playing time at all.
In addition, We have a relatively new OL and while I think they will be fine with their run blocking I do not see multiple 1000 yard rushers on this team which would allow Chryst the luxury of lessening the passing game as much as fans want.