May 13, 2010

Because, you know, Googling 'Daryll Clark stats' is so tough

Clark did many things for the PSU offense in 2009, but rushing the ball was hardly at or near the top of that list. (LBU photo/Mike)
I make every attempt to avoid fisking an article, or jumping on anyone for an understandable mistake. But sometimes an article, a sentence, a word or two can leave you wondering, "really? You chose to write that?"

That was the unfortunate case in a Detroit News article written by Angelique Chengelis, in which Big Ten Network analyst and former Indiana head coach Gerry DiNardo gave his post-spring impressions of the conference's teams, and how things could shake out this fall.
"[DiNardo] wonders if Penn State can overcome its shaky quarterback situation now that Daryll Clark, who also provided much of the Nittany Lions' running, is gone."
Sorry, but that's simply not an accurate portrayal of Clark's role in the Penn State run game last year, or even the year prior. To say that a quarterback provided much of a team's running implies that the player contributed at least one third of the team's rush yards for that season.

Clark most definitely did not do that. I know it's so difficult, but I somehow managed to navigate the complex ways of the internet, to research (gasp!) Clark's contributions to the Penn State offense, particularly the run game--something I would do if I were, say, writing an article about the subject.

Here are Clark's rushing numbers for both 2008 and 2009. For context, I included all Penn State rushers who eclipsed 100 yards for the season. (Stats courtesy of

2009 RUSHINGGP Att Gain Loss Net Avg TD Long Avg/G
Royster, Evan 13 205 1195 26 1169 5.7 6 69 89.9
Green, Stephfon 11 71 337 18 319 4.5 3 52 29.0
Clark, Daryll 13 84 310 99 211 2.5 7 51 16.2
Beachum, Brandon 11 24 118 5 113 4.7 1 16 10.3
Newsome, Kevin 10 20 121 26 95 4.8 2 16 9.5
2008 RUSHINGGP Att Gain Loss Net Avg TD Long Avg/G
Royster, Evan 13 191 1266 30 1236 6.5 12 44 95.1
Green, Stephfon 13 105 588 10 578 5.5 4 69 44.5
Clark, Daryll 13 79 386 104 282 3.6 10 24 21.7
Williams, D. 13 43 257 14 243 5.7 3 36 18.7
Carter, Brent 7 22 137 8 129 5.9 0 31 18.4
Beachum, B. 13 28 117 3 114 4.1 1 15 8.8
Was he a contributor to the Penn State run game? I would agree if you said that. But did he provide "much of Penn State's running" in either of those seasons? No. He wasn't even the second leading rusher in either season. Nor was he even the second leading rusher over both seasons combined--Clark ran for 696, Stephfon Green ran for 925.

I could completely understand this kind of characterization of Clark's contributions to the run game, had he put up rushing numbers like, for instance, Michael Robinson did in 2005, when he was the No. 2 rusher behind Tony Hunt. That season, Robinson ran for 806, only 230 yards shy of Hunt's 1,047.

As I said at the top of this post, I really do try not to fisk someone's article, or try to attack them with any real animosity. We here at LBU actually discussed this before launching the site, that fisking wouldn't be in our regular repertoire.

But... it's not like Clark is a third string running back for Eastern Michigan. He was twice named the league's first team quarterback. Not only should writers know off-hand that he wasn't a major running threat, they should have at least the dignity to not make implications that may not be factually legitimate.

Daryll Clark did not "provide much of Penn State's running," not even close. Thought I'd mention that.

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  1. I agree that DiNardo can be pretty out of it, but I think you're a little overzealous here.

    Clark had the most rushing TDs out of anyone in 2009, and 17 over the 2 year period. That is a significant contribution.

    Maybe they won't miss his rushing on their own 35, but inside the 10 he brings another dimension to the offense.

  2. I wasn't going after DiNardo. Rather, it was the writer. She is the one who put the piece together, and unless she was on a five-minute deadline, there was no need to miss something like that.

    But even your goal line argument is a bit flawed. Joe Paterno ran the QB sneak play so much in 2009 precisely due to the terrible offensive line. It takes about half the time to run a QB sneak than it does to run a full-on ISO or off-tackle play. They could have stuck Charlie Weis under center, and he probably would have scored on most of those plays.

    How's TAHT FOR being a bit overzealous? Heh!

    Thanks for reading

  3. Wow. Really struck a nerve there, Mike?

    Anyhoo-your points are dead on. Good work.

  4. Well Clark accounted for over 34% of PSU's rushing touchdowns over the 2 year period, which would meet your 1/3 standard.

    I would say that you really have to analyze the goal line play calling without Clark, both in the previous years and this coming year. Then you could determine if Paterno just likes to run that play no matter what, or if he called the play because he had a 233 lb battering ram of a QB he felt was capable of running it effectively without being injured. Essentially, does Clark's ability actually add something to the running game that wouldn't be available without him.

    Not trying to be difficult, just curious. It could be a useful bit of research considering Newsome is almost the exact same height and weight as Clark. Will this affect the QB competition? If he loses, will he come in for goal line packages? etc...