Inside the Numbers: Quarterbacks Improve … Most of the Time

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Since the ignominious end to Virginia Tech’s last football season on the turf
of the Georgia Dome, talk has centered on the two areas that must improve for
Virginia Tech to make progress in the 2007 football season: the offensive line
and quarterback. Offensive line performance is difficult to measure, but for
quarterbacks, they’ve got it down to a complex formula that measures it to as
many decimal points as you desire. It’s called the quarterback efficiency
rating, and I started thinking: If you analyze the efficiency rating of VT
quarterbacks during Frank Beamer’s tenure, what trends do you see?

Frank Beamer has had ten starting quarterbacks at Virginia Tech: Erik Chapman
(1987), Will Furrer (1988-1991), Maurice DeShazo (1991-1994), Jim Druckenmiller
(1995-1996), Al Clark (1997-1998), Michael Vick (1999-2000), Grant Noel (2001),
Bryan Randall (2002-2004), Marcus Vick (2005), and Sean Glennon (2006).

(Interesting sidebar: from 1988 to 1994, a span of seven seasons, Tech had
two starting QBs. In the last seven seasons, from 2000-2006, they’ve had five.)

One of the big questions facing the team is how much Sean Glennon will
improve from 2006 to 2007, assuming he stays entrenched as the starting
quarterback. Glennon will be transitioning from his first year as a starting QB
to his second, and he’ll be going from his third year in the program to his

If you sit down and look at QB ratings, what do you see when you look at
quarterbacks in Glennon’s situation? There are other measures of success,
primarily wins and losses and clutch plays, but “Inside the Numbers” (ITN)
has always been about, well, the numbers. Not the touchy-feelies and the
qualitative aspects of things, but the raw numbers.

When it comes to QB ratings under Frank Beamer, we’ve got 20 years of data to
crunch, sift, analyze, and mix together in different ways. If you like numbers,
this is going to be interesting.

First, some points about how I broke down the data:

Erik Chapman, one of the architects of the 1986 Peach Bowl season, is one of
my favorite