Forcier has struggled against some very stout Big Ten defenses.
A few weeks ago, I took a look at how Tate Forcier compared to other notable true freshman quarterbacks through five games. His stats compared favorably to pretty much everyone, including Chad Henne. Now that Michigan has hit the toughest part of their schedule, Forcier has seemingly taken a step back, at least in terms of numbers (I think the notion that he has “regressed” to be laughable — he went from playing against MAC teams and Indiana to Penn State and Iowa. The fact that he is not putting up the same numbers is not a surprise). First, let’s take a look at the numbers through five games, and then we’ll see how Tate — and the rest of the notable freshmen — stack up through eight games (NOTE: added Robert Griffin III, who should’ve been included in the first place):
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And now, these same players’ stats through eight games:
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*Record reflects only games in which the quarterback participated.
The first thing that jumps out at me: the quarterbacks seemed to regress towards the mean (now, what the mean exactly is for a true frosh QB, I have no idea). Forcier and Henne both dropped significantly, with Pryor and Griffin having very minor regressions, while Stafford and Quinn saw their stats improve after terrible starts. Through five games, the above quarterbacks had an average passer efficiency rating of 121.55. After eight games? 117.77. Now, this is a tiny sample size, so it’s very tough to take much away from this, but a slight regression makes sense: most of these QBs (Clausen and Quinn being the exceptions) play in major conferences, and the extra three games come in the heart of in-conference play, while the first five games are mostly comprised of non-conference games, which tend to be easier.
The other things to take away? Despite two pretty terrible games sandwiched around a one-drive cameo against Delaware State, Forcier still is in the clear upper echelon on freshmen quarterbacks. With the exception of Juice Williams, all of these quarterbacks became all-conference level performers by their final seasons (with the jury still out on Griffin and Pryor, of course). Stop freaking out, people. We still have a very talented freshman quarterback — but he’s just that, a freshman quarterback.