Dr. Saturday: Quantifying the Russell Wilson Effect

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Outside of their triumphant performance in the William & Mary game (with still included two interceptions), Daniel Evans and Harrison Beck collaborated for three scoring drives all season, despite taking a solid majority of the snaps against South Carolina, South Florida and in the bowl game against Rutgers, and part of the game against Clemson — in which Beck replaced Wilson for one play in the first half and was intercepted for a Tiger touchdown. The Pack was four times less likely to score a touchdown with Beck or Evans as opposed to Wilson, and about eight times more likely to turn the ball over. If all 28 touchdown drives with Wilson on the field had ended in punts instead, he still would have been significantly more efficient than his colleagues with his eerie aversion to interceptions (1 in 275 attempts) alone.

The effects on the win-loss column, of course, were about as stark. Again discounting the William & Mary game, N.C. State started 1-3 with Wilson moving in and out of the lineup — where the lone win, a 30-24 upset over East Carolina, was the only game Wilson played start to finish in September, and the worst loss by far, a 41-10 disaster against South Florida, was the only game he didn’t play in at all — only to finish 4-3 with Wilson starting the rest of the regular season, including a four-game winning streak in November to sneak into a bowl game.

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40 Responses to Dr. Saturday: Quantifying the Russell Wilson Effect

  1. PackMan97 07/23/2009 at 2:15 PM #

    I’m with GoldenChain,

    Given an unknown in Wilson and our other options, plenty of people may have thought DE was going to be the start….but most of us (myself included) looked at this as picking which pig to put the lipstick on.

    I love DE and I am very glad that I had the chance to watch him play for NC State. There was never any doubt that he left it all on the field for us. If we had more guys with his heart on the team the past few years I think our record would be far different. Sadly, he didn’t have the physical tools. How he came so close to beating Rutgers in the bowl game, that would have been a great ending. His first drive coming into the game was a thing of beauty.

    State has had it’s share of QB’s I never ever want to see or think about again…Laureno, Beck, Harrison, Stone, Davis…DE isn’t one of them. He earned a place in my heart, but I never thought he was gonna be the man.

  2. waxhaw 07/23/2009 at 2:26 PM #

    Who cares? The QB position looks as good as it has looked since Rivers. And that’s based upon on the field performance not practice squad, stars, rankings or any other crap. Wilson is the man and everybody knows it.

  3. bradleyb123 07/23/2009 at 2:48 PM #

    Not sure where I read this post, but I read this somewhere and it is very true. I hope we’re not building Wilson up to some sort of deity status, and whatever he does on the field (even if he performs very well) will not be good enough to satisfy our lofty expectations.

    For example, what if he throws seven INTs this year against 18 touchdowns? That’s great and all, but not as good as last year, at least in the INT category. We’re not used to RW throwing interceptions, but he has to throw some eventually. Will we still be happy with that type of performance?

    I’m guilty of the high expectations. I’m going to try to start lowering my expectations to more realistic levels, so a very solid year will still be good enough.

  4. Thinkpack17 07/23/2009 at 3:04 PM #

    ^I don’t care about the streak…I don’t care about the number of INT’s either. It’s the situations in which the INT’s occur. INT’s happen, tipped passes, QB’s playing from behind, QB’s getting hit as they throw. I just want Russell to remain smart and stay away from those, drive killing, momentum crushing, “what the hell was he looking at?” INT’s.

  5. BJD95 07/23/2009 at 3:17 PM #

    Some regression is inevitable – the kind of TD/INT ratio that Wilson put up last year is other-worldly. As he gains experience, he will take more chances with the ball, which will lead to more big passing plays and more picks. The key is keeping the ratio solid – and 3:1 is considered pretty elite.

  6. GoldenChain 07/23/2009 at 3:29 PM #

    I’ll take RW for 12 complete games with whatever ints over what we’ve had in the post-River era.

  7. bradleyb123 07/23/2009 at 3:56 PM #

    You got that right, GoldenChain.

    I’m just looking forward to this season. Can the summer pass ANY slower?

  8. BJD95 07/23/2009 at 4:07 PM #

    Off topic, but Mark Beuhrle just threw a perfect game against the Rays (in a bandbox park, no less).

  9. Broccoman 07/24/2009 at 12:50 AM #

    Does anyone get a Warren Moon vibe out of RW? He kinda reminds me of him for some reason.

  10. cooldrip 07/24/2009 at 1:18 AM #

    Warren Moon, not so much for me. I think a more realistic comp is Joe Hamilton from GT. If RW ends up a 1st team AA and finishes 2nd in the Heisman voting like Hamilton at some point in his career, then we are about to witness the three best years in the history of Wolfpack football to date. Guess we’ll see …

  11. GAWolf 07/24/2009 at 8:42 AM #

    I vaguely remember watching State/GATech games and thinking that no distance on third and long was safe with him in the game. There was certainly some of that this last year with RW. Interestingly enough, Hamilton started his first game during his redshirt freshman year at…. NC State. (Per this video from GT’s Heisman campaign for Hamilton.)

  12. BJD95 07/24/2009 at 9:16 AM #

    I am old and geeky enough to remember Warren Moon from his days with the Edmonton Eskimos of the CFL. That version of Moon is actually a very good comp (he scrambled alot and made big plays with his arm and legs – height was in the same ballpark, too). Hamilton wasn’t half the passer Wilson is, and is several inches shorter (IIRC).

  13. MP 07/24/2009 at 1:09 PM #

    If RW has a steady, injury-free 2009 I don’t see how he won’t be in the preseason 2010 Heisman conversation. A year like 2008 is too significant to not put a player on the radar.

    What’s up with this Noah character preaching at everyone about Daniel Evans? Every State fan I know (1) always knew what we had with DE (talent level, family background, roster circumstances) and (2) watches the UNC game every year. If you watched the 2007 UNC game, you saw it all. God love DE for standing in a giving it his best, but he almost lost a game for us that we totally dominated.

  14. VaWolf82 07/24/2009 at 2:23 PM #

    A year like 2008 is too significant to not put a player on the radar.

    It will take a lot more than being ranked 60th nationally in total offense to break onto anyone’s Heisman radar.

  15. TomCat 07/24/2009 at 2:32 PM #

    NEXT NEEDED ANALYSIS: HOW TO KEEP RUSSELL WILSON ALIVE!?!?!? Quarterback is often somewhat of a protected position. Hand the ball off, pass the ball, baseball slide for yardage. Russell Wilson’s success was DIRECTLY proportional to his ability to act more like a running back— stress a defense by operating outside the confines of the traditional pocket.
    It is a double-edged sword. For every snap he breaks down a defense and takes flight in a run/pass situation he opens himself up to an amazing amount of physical punishment. To exploit what Russell Wilson does well, requires the understanding it has a physical price. The probabilites (and last year’s injuries) are clear. Considering the pounding, State was fortunate to have him for the extended period he did play last season.
    The hope for this season: there is some modification in the 2009 gameplan—- sending Russell in flight less often, but more by design than by neccessity. May keep him alive– and State’s prospects alive longer as well.*

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