Wilson the Passer vs. Wilson the Runner

There’s been lots of chatter in the comments and in the forums about Wilson not looking to run. I don’t think that is the case, and the stats back that up. Wilson had 11 rushing attempts last night, compared to an average of 11.56 per game last year (in the 9 games where he played most or all of the game).

But many of you are also missing that even last year, Wilson was far more dangerous as a passer than a runner. Wilson’s 2008 yards per passing attempt (YPA, along with TD/INT ratio, the key QB effectiveness stat)? 7.11. His yards per carry? 3.4. It’s also quite safe to say that Wilson is more likely to fumble on a rushing attempt than to throw an interception, especially on a per attempt basis.

Running is important to control time of possession, and to keep defenses honest. But an effective passing attack is how you win games. And last night, the threat of Wilson’s running ability did lead the Gamecocks to play lots of single coverage on intermediate and deep routes. State took their shots, but didn’t deliver (the fault lies with both Wilson and with the WRs).

There was much to be concerned about with last night’s effort and execution (crappy tackling and dropped passes being 1A and 1B). But Wilson being “coached away” from being Russell Wilson isn’t one of them.

About BJD95

1995 NC State graduate, sufferer of Les and MOC during my entire student tenure. An equal-opportunity objective critic and analyst of Wolfpack sports.

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68 Responses to Wilson the Passer vs. Wilson the Runner

  1. doomsday2008 09/04/2009 at 7:39 PM #

    Scoring as follows: Defense B+(Stop tackling high)Old coach
    told me once, “Hit em high and they will fly,Hit em low and
    they will go”.
    Offense: D+ You don’t hand the ball off to someone who
    has not seen game action in two years. Alot of things go on
    inside of a persons mind no matter what type of High School
    stats you had or how many practices.
    The bottom line here is we did not look ready to play and
    even with not being ready we were one play away from winning
    the game. That has to be a postive if your looking for one.

  2. tj foose 09/04/2009 at 9:09 PM #

    Par Shooter – our OL will get better throughout the year. Our OL will be markedly better next year.

  3. Dogbreath 09/04/2009 at 9:57 PM #

    “Par Shooter – our OL will get better throughout the year. Our OL will be markedly better next year.”.

    I think they call it will suspension of disbelief. Either way, I’ve been hearing this shit for 3 years, if not all the way back to 2003.

  4. blpack 09/04/2009 at 10:23 PM #

    btw, channel 14 did a cool time lapse of the stadium/game last night.

    We all finally had some sort of positive expectations coming into the season and that is a good thing. I think some of us may be getting ahead of ourselves. We still have a long way to go. After the game in Columbia we were wondering when we’d score a td. We got things going later in the season. We’ll do the same this season.
    That said the OL and WRs concern me. They didn’t get it done last night.

  5. st8family 09/05/2009 at 8:27 AM #

    I think we get the OL fixed in time for Pitt. Hopefully JV will be back. If that happens, Russell won’t have to run for his life and be able to set his feet and make the throws. While the WR’s had a terrible night, some of the underneath throws were too hard and some of the long balls were under thrown. It just looked like he was throwing with his arms only and into 7 on 4 coverage.

  6. Dogbreath 09/05/2009 at 8:49 AM #

    Rewatched the game this morning. Bottom line is we shit away the opportunit to win. First 3 quarters were an abberation. We got some good things going in the 4th quarter, were moving the ball, but recievers just didn’t make plays. I think we had over 105 yards of total offense in the last 18 minutes of regulation, and only 28 yards in the 42 minutes prior.

  7. choppack1 09/05/2009 at 1:01 PM #

    I’ll honest. This is as disappointed as I’ve been in this staff in a long time. I think we played way too conservative a gameplan Thursday. I don’t think it’s any coincidence we started moving the better in the second half.

    I think blaming the drops is a little short sighted. Kind of like blaming a bad golf round on bad bounces. Even w/out the drops, we only score 17 points. Bottom line, I think we lose to 80% of BCS teams w/ that gameplan.

    I also think RW has either a hamstring injury or is still feeling the effects the bad knee, because he had no explosion.

    The good news is that we tend to improve as the year goes on under TOB.

    The bad news is that we’re 0-3 in opening games under him. We probably need to adjust our schedule accordingly.

  8. pack44fan 09/05/2009 at 2:29 PM #

    I was very disappointed in the unimaginative play calling I saw Thursday night. There was very little if any adjustments in our offense as the game progressed. I think some of it can be blamed on poor field postion all night as Tom O’Briens’ offensive game plans are apparently dependant on field postion. I think the play calling in the running game is limited to 2/3 plays and needs to be opened up.

  9. chriscgray 09/05/2009 at 3:25 PM #

    I was as disappointed as anyone last night, because I believe we do have very good potential with our players. As much as I like TOB and his staff, I must say they were not prepared like they should have been. Russell didnt look to run like he did last year, he kept his eyes down field and then when he decided to run a defender was a step away. (Norwood is one of the best pass rushers in the country: keep that in mind here). As for talent at reciever, I dont know how you can say we dont have talent there. We have above average talent at reciever.

    The play calling was horrible, and thats not on Russell. Thats on the coaches for giving the most predictable play calls. It also doesnt help when on 3rd downs you make passes that have no chance of becoming first downs, that happened a few times in the game. The purpose of a 3rd down play should be to move the chains, and those passes we made should have been designed to atleast be close to the marker.

    The biggest problem I had with this game was our last offensive drive:

    The ball on the 35 with 3:30 on the clock and 3 timeouts…….and what did we do, we took 4 long shots down field and to the endzone…………STUPID. Your whole play book should be open there, time is not an issue. The goal should be to get first downs, not throw the ball in the endzone every play. Run the ball, make short swift passes, chip your way to the goaline to give yourself a legit shot. We play conservative and predictable all game and put a liberal and stupid playcalling package together for the last drive.

    I trust that State will learn from this……both coaches and players. Lets use some football sense from now on.

  10. doomsday2008 09/06/2009 at 2:01 PM #

    I could not agree more about Your whole play book should be open there, time is not an issue. The goal should be to get first downs, not throw the ball in the endzone every play. Run the ball, make short swift passes, chip your way to the goaline to give yourself a legit shot. We play conservative and predictable all game and put a liberal and stupid play calling package together for the last drive.

    That is where in a game like this you look for your chance to
    make up for the way you played prior to that point. And, if someone
    wants to say RW was being pressured too much for that not to work
    then where were the screen passes to keep them thinking?

  11. cWOhLFrPAiCKs 09/06/2009 at 8:49 PM #


    “Finally, we lost. I hate losing. The world goes on. We were not going 12-0 anyway. Knowing our staff, they were playing it conservative, building for the ACC. That is what counts. Dont show too much on film. Next 2 games will be very similar. Pitt may be as well, and then the real season starts. Lots of football left, DONT JUMP OFF THE LEDGE YET.”

    Probably the most logical thing I’ve read on here in a couple days. Glad someone else gets football, too.

  12. doomsday2008 09/07/2009 at 2:05 AM #

    I have no problem with your post about the fact that
    we don’t want to show too much before we get to ACC play.
    In one way of looking at this, of course you dont want to
    open the play book up on Murray State but, you better not
    impliment what you been holding back on ACC teams and, its the
    first time your running these plays in a game situation!
    Films are studied every week and when you get to week 6,7,
    8 and 9 I would hope we have let loose what we intended to
    do on offense this year and every year. Teams everywhere
    must go into games not worried about who knows what and
    just execute. I always thought of watching football for
    50 yrs that you are not concerned what the other guys
    going to do or knows about you but, to only be concern
    that you might stop yourself like we did Thursday night.

  13. rdjennin 09/07/2009 at 5:26 PM #

    If wilson is not allowed to run, he will be unsuccessful, running is what made him successfull last year, because he could do either, and when you can do either, the defense can only basically concentrate on defending one or the other, this creates opportunities.

    That is why russell wilson, along with making smart throws, was so good last year with a terrible o-line. If he is not able to do this, and basically only throws. Then the defense will be able to key in on him. In a battle of who is the better pocket passer, mike glennon wins. On at this time who is the better qb, well I give that to wilson. However, if he is not allowed to run, then he is nothing more than a stationary pocket passer.

    If RW runs, he will no doubt remain starting qb. If he does not run, and instead tries to play pocket passer, we have a guy behind him who specializes in that style.

    Do the math, I love russell wilson to death, but if you are not allowed to do what you are good at, then what do you have?

    Just Sayin!

  14. JasonP 09/08/2009 at 10:10 AM #

    If the coaching staff is thinking “don’t show too much on film” instead of “win the game” then there’s a big problem with the program. I don’t think that’s the case here, but whatever the game plan was it obviously didn’t work. Did it include the concept of “Execution”???

    State’s players weren’t prepared to play or ready to win. Big time, top-25 college football programs like Boise State, BYU and Utah have WR’s that come out and catch balls on game day (And yes, I’m trying to make a point with the teams listed here). The ball used for the game is designed to be thrown and caught. I’m not sure where that’s being lost on the Pack, but they’ve got 2 exhibitions to figure it out before facing another real team in Pitt.

    The season isn’t over. Thankfully the rest of the league looks awful enough for State to regroup and maybe get a championship, but it’s going to take a lot of work and concentration.

  15. Classof89 09/08/2009 at 1:35 PM #

    I wouldn’t label our next two games as “exhibitions”…just ask Duke and Virginia. I think given our thinness and lack of talent at certain positions we are fully capable of playing down to the level of the Murray States and Gardner-Webbs of the world…particularly if we come in overconfident. One other FBS/FCS score of interest from last weekend: Kansas State 21, Massachusetts 17. Does anyone think we are that much better than K-state, or that Massachusetts is that much better than either of our next two opponents?

  16. JasonP 09/08/2009 at 3:34 PM #

    I understand you completely, however I would say that after watching this team play last week that being overconfident is not going to be a problem. They don’t seem to have much confidence or desire at all.

    I call these games ‘exhibitions’ because they don’t help us if we win them. They are glorified scrimmages, and are instant coaching ‘hot-seat’ makers if we lose one or both.

  17. bradleyb123 09/08/2009 at 4:10 PM #

    I’m concerned about something I’ve noticed, and I wanted to know if anyone else has noticed it, too.

    It seems to me that our players are just a little *TOO* upbeat after that loss. I mean, I’m all for confidence and all. But I’m concerned that I’m not seeing much urgency from our players. They almost seem so confident that they expect to just be successful going forward without even trying. In postgame interviews, some of them were all smiles, almost laughing at times. It’s one thing to know you can do better, but I just thought they should have been more upset over this loss.

    I’d like to see more FIRE in their bellies. What I’m afraid of is another 2-6 record (well, probably not THAT bad) before they finally wake up and get hungry. It seems to me that they THINK they have arrived, when they have a long way to go before they “arrive”. I’m reminded of TOB’s predecessor (who shall remain nameless) that had us filled with false confidence. I’m not saying TOB is filling them with false hope. I just didn’t understand the relatively jovial atmosphere of the postgame interviews, given the ugly game we had just played.

    I want them to FEEL like their record is now 2-6 so they start their “new season” BEFORE they actually need to.

    As for our next opponent, I know Murray State is a team we *SHOULD* beat. But they did just score 66 points on someone. So they must be doing SOMETHING right. I hope we don’t just dance into this game and come away with an embarrassing loss, even if this team is a capable team. It would still be embarrassing if we found a way to lose this one.

  18. tcthdi-tgsf-twhwtnc 09/08/2009 at 8:51 PM #

    This game doesn’t worry me because State had some chances and the defense played much better than expected.

    Any chance or comments on the fact that Wilson wasn’t running downhill this year when avoiding the rush and if it made a difference? In years past the pursuing defense was running uphill to catch the QB and had to transition at the crown to continue and chase downhill.

    I don’t know if this would make a difference but it seems to me the old field gave State an advantage. I don’t know if the win-loss record shows that but I know State won some big games at home over the years. Maybe lost a few too.

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