Talking Tuggle

I'm as excited as everyone else about Tuggle signing with the Cats. He is built like a man, and definitely "looks good getting off the bus", as they say.



He is also saying the right things (subscription required).

I came in with an open mind, since this was my first time coming to Kansas. I was excited to how everything was coming together - the team, the fans, the community. I also liked how K-State had been on me the longest time. When I got up there, everything just made me feel comfortable.

He has good bloodlines, as the son of former NFL linebacker Jessie Tuggle of the Atlanta Falcons, and he had significant interest from other D-1 schools, though the "big boys" weren't on him. The subscription-required article I linked above notes that he was heavily recruited by both Mississippi State and Virginia, as well as several other non-BCS conference schools.

With all of that said, though, he is not posting preternatural statistics at Blinn -- at least through 122 pass attempts, including 37 at Boston College (3 games), and 85 at Blinn (4 games). Granted, it's a small sample, but after the jump, I'm going to go a bit sabermetric on him. (Try as I might, I couldn't find Michael Bishop's Blinn statistics for comparison purposes. I'm only judging Bishop off of his 13/8 TD/Int ratio in his junior year, and 23/4 TD/Int ratio his senior year.)

First, an explanation of the statistics I will be using to evaluate Tuggle is in order. I will be focusing on four basic statistics: YPC (Yards gained per carry), YPA (Yards per passing attempt), Total TDs (Rushing/Passing/Receiving), and Interceptions. (I would have also looked at total turnovers here, but I couldn't find a link that told how many fumbles he has lost.)

Here's the raw stat-line on his 122 attempts between Blinn and BC:

49 carries, 257 yards, 5.24 YPC
57-122, for 896 yards, 7.34 YPA
18 Total Touchdowns (12 passing), 10 Interceptions, 1.80 TD/Int ratio.
(Note: I had to remove the table I had this info in, which included the breakouts for Blinn versus BC, because I couldn't make the format work.)

Two things jump out at me from these stat lines. First, he's not a very accurate passer. This isn't of HUGE concern, since if he's the starter, we'd be running a more option-based offense, but he'll have to improve on that sub-8 YPA for us to be successful on offense next year. He will also have to DRASTICALLY cut down on the picks. As an example, Carson Coffman is completing 60.5% of his passes, for 8.41 YPA, with a 5/2 TD/Int ratio. Sure, Coffman's YPC is an anemic 1.7 because of sacks, but he's added two more TDs there, for a total TD/Int ration of 7/2. Over a similar sample-size at Blinn (4 games), Tuggle has produced 14 TDs (8 pass, 6 rush) against 7 interceptions. 

Does Tuggle's playmaking ability outweigh his penchant for turnovers? I'm not sure. His ratio of TDs to interceptions is 1.80 over his first 7 collegiate games, while Coffman's is 3.50. I'm not asserting that I wish Coffman was a junior this year, I'm just pointing out that there could be some massive growing pains next season, and some of the same people now celebrating his signing, might even be calling for his head. Don't forget that Michael Bishop's 23 touchdowns, 4 interceptions year was preceded by a 13 and 8 year. Overall, Bishop produced 22 touchdowns (13 passing) and 8 interceptions for a 2.75 TD/Int ratio his junior year, with an 8.42 YPC, before exploding for 37 touchdowns (23 passing) against only 4 interceptions for a staggering 5.75 TD/Int ratio.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I don't believe Tuggle -- as exciting as he is -- will immediately transform our team from a 7-5/6-6 lower-middle tier team to a 11-1/10-2 BCS challenging team, like Bishop did. I could see him helping us to improve to a solid 8 win-type team next year. But, there are other weaknesses (defensive speed, anyone?) which were not an issue with that 1997 team, that must be addressed before we approach elite status again. Tuggle is not the panacea for our problems, but simply one piece of a puzzle that needs slotted together over the next two years.

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