Former Notre Dame quarterback, Brandon Wimbush, announced he was transferring to UCF early last week. The former 4-star recruit only lost 3 games in 16 games as a starter for the Irish, but despite his team winning, he was benched in 2018.
A ton of UCF fans are extremely happy with Wimbush’s decision and I’ve seen a number of reasons why and I’ll try and address them all.
For the most part, it’s something I don’t quite understand from UCF’s perspective, but I’m going to go into that.
All the information provided is completely unbiased and based off strictly Wimbush’s performance in his last 16 starts and his 1 throw vs. Syracuse.
Try and look at this as if it was one of those blind resume tests. Would these be appealing numbers?
Wimbush is an unbelievable runner, I did not chart his designed runs, it does not take a rocket scientist to know how good he is as a runner, but UCF has enough talented running backs.
Also, I made a ton of gifs, most that I saved in no particular order and have no idea how to incorporate them neatly in here, but they’ll all be in here somehow.
If you look at Wimbush’s completion %, it is very unappealing. There are many factors to that, all that I took a look at to see if that number is really misleading.
First thing is accuracy. The formula is basically accurate completions + drops / (Inaccurate completions + incompletions) – (throw aways + tipped passes). Yes, there can be inaccurate completions. Also, there are definitely some judgement calls, that one person might say accurate and one might say the opposite. I try to look at the whole plays situation while deciding. If a QB is making a throw under pressure, I don’t expect to be thrown perfectly.
Here’s an example of one I was on the fence with:
I charted this as accurate. More because of the depth of the throw and the fact it was caught. It looks like the ball might’ve been thrown more towards the middle of the field than the WR expected, which would make me lean inaccurate, but I also don’t think the WR had to dive for this and without knowing for sure if this ball was supposed to be slightly outside the hash, I decided to go with accurate.
So back to the numbers. Obviously, very unappealing. Taking away throw aways, tipped passes, and drops should definitely improve a completion %, but Wimbush’s barely did. A 54.42% accuracy % is pretty darn atrocious through this much of a sample size.
Also, he struggles mightily throwing to his non-throwing arm side of the field, something Mitchell Trubisky also does. You know who plays primarily LWR? Gabe Davis, kind’ve an important guy to get the ball too.
Ah, now the “Big Arm” and system debate.
Yes, ND plays a complete different system in terms of scheme and tempo than UCF plays. No one in the country, for the most part, plays close to as fast as UCF did last season. But, guess what, you can’t play with tempo if your not having success early in drives.
Every throw made by a Heupel QB since 2017 whether it’s Lock, Milton, or Mack in. If you look at the throws required to be made, obviously the deep ball sticks out. 1 in 5 throws.
Wimbush was actually above that rate. 82 of 362 comes out to 22.65% of his throws in this range. If you continue through the percentages, they aren’t drastically different, so the throws required at ND and what will be required at UCF isn’t too significant of a difference.
The good news, Wimbush is really good at deep passes because he has a strong arm… wait, his deep accuracy rate was only 30.49% that’s… not good.
Let’s take a look at a bunch of his deep balls, both good and bad included:
Y’all would ridicule Mack for a throw like this…
There are many more ugly throws that I’ll be showing later, but there are a few nice throws:
This is a really, really good throw.
Another deep TD pass vs. USC, one of the few actually watchable games from Wimbush. Also, how bout that route. He had the corner beat at the 15.
There are a couple more that I have, but won’t load because they’re too long. I have a couple more throws that were nice that I’ll save.
But, the big arm narrative. I have some gifs for that.
This is another accurate/inaccurate either way one. Should it have been caught? probably. Was it a good throw? No. The ball was pretty underthrown here, you can see the receiver have to go lateral to try and catch this instead of continuing the post for a a catch in the end zone.
Look at how much separation the WR has and how much he has to slow down to wait for the ball allowing the DB to get back in the play.
It seemed that the 45 yard DOT was about the Wimbush’s max distance. That and timing will lead to a lot of incompletions on deep balls where the WR is clearly open.
Intended Air Yards/YPA:
A big analytical QB category to look at. Depth of target, yards per attempt, and net air yards. Three things that really give insight and have a major affect on your completion %. Obviously, the farther your throwing the ball downfield, the lower your expected completion % is because your, on average making more difficult throws.
Milton’s intended air yards jumped 2.2 yards this season from last, explaining his “drop” in completion percentage. Where in actuality, based on difficulty of throws, they were pretty equal.
Again, I took out throw aways and tipped passes here, which I mark as 0 intended air yards so it would obviously skew the data. Also, a throw away doesn’t have a “target”.
I showed you how often Wimbush threw deep in his accuracy chart, so there’s no surprise that is average depth of target was 12.01 yards downfield. Milton was a 12.13 this season, which was the highest in the conference, so it’s not much different between the 2. However, WImbush’s net air yards per attempt was only 4.44. This is his air yards on completions (1608) divided by his total pass attempts (362). This very low for someone with an aDot of 12.01.
Looking at Heupel’s QB’s the last two seasons, Wimbush is significantly lower in air yards per completion and net air yards, despite having a higher intended air yards.
1.5 yards is a ton when it comes to an average with this much of a sample size.
These are throws that should be intercepted and either are or aren’t.
You might want to skip this section if you’re still in the pro Wimbush crowd.
Wimbush threw 34 interceptable passes on 362 attempts. That’s good for 1 every 10 attempts, which is………. very, very bad.
Only 11 were actually intercepted, which is very lucky. 1 of his interceptions was on the receiver, hence why the 12 is up above.
I spread out all 34 based on direction and depth.
And I’ll also share some plays.
Here is an actual interception. The WR, I believe this is Equaminous St. Brown (definitely spelt wrong) who’s now on the Packers, gets wide open and Wimbush flat out misses him. I’m not sure if this gets picked without St. Brown tipping it, but the throw was so bad, it’s worth of the resulting interception IMO.
The true definition of being lucky. An absolutely horrible throw, hits the safety in stride and he just drops it.
Here’s a play I’m sure people will disagree with because it was caught by the WR.
Tell me who is in better position to catch this ball? The DB doesn’t get off the ground on his leap very well here allowing for the wide out to reach over him.
Again, there are 34 of these plays with the above one being the most controversial of them all.
So I charted how he performed when pressured on blitz and when no pressure occurred on a blitz as well. As well as the same when there wasn’t a blitz.
I don’t really have any comments on this because the numbers speak for themselves. I actually put this together because watching every game, I thought Wimbush was performing really well when teams blitzed, but couldn’t get pressure, thus limiting the guys in coverage, but it turns out that I was just surprised when good plays happened.
1.97 ypa vs. blitzes with pressure and a 3.96 on pressures with no blitz is not a confidence booster. Let’s not forget, in 2017, he had 2 top 10 picks on his line which is a pretty nice luxury.
Also, a lot of people like how he can create on his feet against pressure or when nothing is there.
That isn’t always a good thing.
A perfectly clean pocket here, and Wimbush decides to get out of it, creating a pressure and a throw away. There are a ton of QB pressures that ND allowed that were strictly on Wimbush and not his line.
Pocket Passing/Throwing on Run:
Just something I threw together because of Wimbush being more of a running style QB.
Play Action Passing:
UCF ran a ton of play action passing this year. It was about a 50/50 split and I’m all for that.
“Wimbush’s running threat will open up the passing game”
44.70% completion percentage on play action passes… yikes.
A lot more stuff I just threw together that I won’t go in depth on. All of the above is what I feel is most important, some of the remaining is random interesting things.
Target share based on personnel. Probably somewhat similar to UCF’s this season.
Would be pretty nice to see UCF run this play !
This might be my favorite throw from Wimbush. 3rd and 10, he just drops it in to his tight end in-between 3 guys.
Wimbush was better with 2 tight ends. Something I don’t think UCF will be using much this season just because of their depth/talent at the position. To be honest, it was actually probably higher than 101 plays, without all 22 footage and with TE’s lining up wide, it’s impossible to tell who’s who on some plays.
Performance based on field position. He made some really nice throws on fades in the red zone, but that’s about all I can say.
Some routes thrown. Tried to only include the ones with a somewhat solid sample size. Wimbush threw a lot of good corner routes.
Unlike UCF, ND actually uses the pistol (very smart). Here’s the breakdown based off shotgun/pistol/under center presnap.
Performance based on down and distance:
And finally vs. Min in the box.
Not really going to include any of my opinions on the whole situation because I don’t think anyone really cares, nor will it change what anyone thinks.
Just try and look at all the information provided and if that’s what you want your ideal QB to look like I won’t argue. If it’s not, I won’t argue. Yes, Wimbush was a prize recruit out of high school, but he now has 443 drop-backs in the collegiate game, 4 years later to look at.
I’ll gladly be wrong on this, if Wimbush can work hard with the coaches and on his own to improve his passing, then he can be really good. But, as of now, there is nothing to factually sit here and say that, that will happen.