Gus Malzahn and Developing Quarterbacks, Part 2

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

After Discussion

The comments that followed my initial post were far more interesting than the post itself. Thanks to all who participated. The only change to the body is that I took jd is legend's suggestion and softened my final claim. The remainder of this update is to provide my summation of a very satisfying discussion.

charts are fun granted that mr rahien. but you got us no closer to an answer!!

This may be fair. However, I do think we are now closer to a question.

In most instances, the discussion came to rest on how we interpret the question "Can Gus Malzahn coach quarterbacks?" I have tried to steelman several of those interpretations. Here are three* (mine last) :

  1. Does Gus Malzahn's coaching result in quarterbacks reaching or approaching their own ceiling as a quarterback, as determined by their abilities and their circumstances?
  2. Does Gus Malzahn's coaching result in quarterbacks having successful seasons, as defined by their ability to win the starter's role and keep it, excluding obvious extenuating circumstances?
  3. Does Gus Malzahn's coaching result in quarterbacks exhibiting measurable improvement (irrespective of their ceiling or their status as a starter), as defined here by the standard quarterback rating formula?

My impression/intuition is that these are not necessarily exclusive to one another, and any or all may be necessary-but-insufficient to some overall definition of quarterback success, coaching success, and/or team or season success. I can attempt to demonstrate what I mean graphically, by charting a quarterback's success (defined by some arbitrary unit) versus time.

This chart examines the ideal situation, in which all a quarterback is successful in each of these :


This chart cluster examines the various combinations of these situations (excluding failure of all three) :


I leave it to the reader to decide which of these circumstances, if any, is preferable to the others.

We can also apply these three interpretations to each of the relevant quarterbacks. Here is my own assessment / you may disagree / correct me if I'm wrong. Green cells mean yes, red cells mean no, white cells mean unknown, and names are color-coded for coordinator :


Judging by this application of these criteria, there is much left to examine and decide. (For instance, I don't think anyone would put Field's final season on par with Campbell's, Marshall's, or Todd's.) However, one thing that is clear to me is all the red in that chart. Auburn has had trouble with quarterbacks for a long time. Perhaps it remains to be seen whether Malzahn will continue or change that trend.

War Eagle!

* If yours is here and you would have it stated differently, please let me know how I should change it.

We're all just trying to have a good time here. Don't be a jerk, and we won't have a problem with you. War Eagle!

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