I'd been planning to post something along these lines as a response to one of the postgame threads, but I kept mulling it over and it kept growing so I made it a FanPost.
Overall grade: C-
And if it wasn't for the fumbled snap he'd be in C+/B- territory. When you consider that we really just need a solid "B" at QB that's not terribly disheartening.
Things I liked:
11 of 16, 1 TD, no interceptions.
The winning 4th quarter drive. He'd been having a fairly rough day at that point, but was still able to come in and manage the only sustained drive of the game to end in the south endzone. He didn't throw a pass other than the last play, but that play was a nice little toss and catch on 3rd and goal from the 5. That was a drive and a play that K-State really needed to put some real pressure on UCLA.
Converting 3rd downs on the opening drive. Both 3rd downs K-State converted to keep that drive alive were on Coffman passes. The 2nd one came after 3rd and 1 got backed up to 3rd and 6 on a false start. In fact, overall he wasn't that bad passing on 3rd down: 3 completions that converted, 1 incompletion, and 3 sacks. But none of the sacks knocked K-State out of field goal range or pinned them deep in their own end.
Things I didn't like:
Fumbled snap. Don't care whose fault it was. Completely unacceptable. On your own 11 that goes double.
66 yards passing. On the other hand it wasn't like anybody was tossing the ball all over the field Saturday. Untill the last 2 minutes of the game--when UCLA went into desperation mode and K-State went into drain the clock mode--the QB stats looked like this:
Coffman 11/16 | 66yds | 1 TD | 0 INT
Prince 7/22 | 56yds | 0 TD | 1 INT
6 sacks for 34 yards. At least half of those were simply from holding the ball too long. Yes they are better than interceptions, but that kind of yardage loss just kills drives. Especially for a K-State team that's not that explosive on offence in the first place.
Carson Coffman showed a degree of ... grit ... mental toughness ... focus--whatever you want to call it--that's fairly encouraging. He struggled with the technical aspects of the passing game Saturday, but not much more than UCLA's QB. When you take the wind into account and the fact that it was the first game, it's not unreasonable that the passing games would appear pretty rough. (By the way, if anybody wants to put together "against the wind" and "with the wind" passing numbers, I think they'd be kind of interesting. But not enough to go through a play-by-play and compile the numbers myself.) The fumbled snap was the only issue that really came anywhere close to costing the Wildcats the game.
All the problems he had are ones that should be fairly straightforward fixes. I don't recall him having a problem with holding on to the snap last year, so I'll assume that won't be a continuing problem this year. As for passing yardage, the numbers show it was a fairly rough day for everybody. If he plays a game that's not in gale force winds (should happen at least a couple times--even in Kansas) the yardage should go up. Even if the weather does continue to hinder long throws, that probably hurts the opponents more anyway. The sacks are probably a little tougher to fix, but I've really got to believe that however much we don't want to watch them, he's even more interested in not participating. I really think he'll put in the effort needed to make that happen.
In a more general sense though, I think the focus on passing statistics risks missing the forest for the trees. The primary purpose of the K-State passing game is not to rack up yards or get scores itself, but to keep the defense honest so they can accomplish that with the running game. With that in mind the true measure of the success of the passing game is not the passing statistics, but the rushing ones. Kansas State ran for 313 yards Saturday. So, either UCLA has one of the worst rushing defenses known to man, or the threat of passing did succeed in keeping the defense honest.