Freeman's 'Efficiency' Vastly Improved

Kansas State quarterback Josh Freeman is off to a tremendous start to the 2008 season with his "efficiency" being at record pace. Mark Janssen of The Manhattan Mercury defines just how on-target Freeman has been through the first two games.

In 1998, Kansas State quarterback Michael Bishop had a school-record passing efficiency rating of 159.6.

Two games into the 2008 season, admittedly against teams nowhere close to Big 12-like, Josh Freeman's QB rating is ... 209.3.

For the year, Freeman's pass-and-catch numbers are 34-of-45 for 520 yards, five touchdowns and 0 interceptions.

How, you ask, does one come up with 209.3 out of those basic two-game numbers? Grab a pencil jot this stuff down.

A pass-efficiency rating comes by: multiply a passer's yards per attempt by 8.4; add the number obtained by multiplying pass completions per attempt by 100; add the number obtained by multiplying touchdowns per attempt by 330; and subtract the number obtained by multiplying interceptions per attempt by 200.

Seriously. That's it!

A year ago, Freeman's rating was 127.26 to rank 68th in the nation. As a true-freshman, his rating was 103.45. In each year, interceptions - 15 in 2006 and 11 in 2007 - kept his efficiency rating down.

Through two games, Freeman says, "I'm just trying to be efficient. With that being the goal, we're doing a good job of throwing and catching it."

He would add, "We're doing what it takes to win."

Two other numbers not specifically mentioned in Freeman's game are a .756 completion rate and an 11.5-yard per passing attempt average. Quarterback coach Warren Ruggiero says he'd be satisfied with 65 percent accuracy and 8.5 yards per attempt.

Head coach Ron Prince adds, "I think anytime you have a quarterback in the 70-percent range, you are dealing with a terrific quarterback and system."

Prince credits Freeman's snaps within the system as being the primary reason for the growth. As a true-freshman who plays, Prince said that the competition, going to class, and "other functions" of a college freshman are already a full plate for an 18-year-old.

"If a player sits for a couple years, then he could have a couple of those things ready when he plays, but those who come and perform and have to win for you right now, the last thing you want them to do is thinking too much on the field," Prince said. "You want them to just go out there and play as fast as they can."

Prince went on to praise Freeman's "... aptitude for the game, and he's obviously got a terrific body and lots of tools. Now, we want him to use every single one of them that he as." The latest of those are his feet as Freeman has 10 rushes to his credit for 58 yards and four touchdowns. While Freeman's rushes in the past have been scrambles, this year's totes have been by design.

"It's been cool scoring touchdowns, but I just want to win," Freeman said of the new dimension to his game. "This is stuff that's been in the playbook all along, but just hasn't been used. Now it's being called."

Prince said he didn't know whether his QB's handful of runs per game would enhance his 6-foot-5, 250-pounder's draft value, but he did say, "This is a player who has worked very hard to make his game versatile. I think he will help us win games in that manner."

As good of a job that Freeman has been doing, that - "help us win games" - is where the now 20-year-old signal caller says he needs to improve. He was 4-4 as a freshman starter, and 5-7 last year. Added to this year's 2-0 mark and Freeman has only an 11-11 record.

"There are plays in games at key times, whether that's on third down or in the Red Zone, that I need to make for us to win," Freeman said. Freeman was talking of the 10-plus games to come, because so far the Wildcats have a 56 percent completion rate on third-down plays, and have scored on 15 of 16 possessions he has quarterbacked.

As for leadership, Prince compared Freeman's style to that of Jordy Nelson last year.

"Chewing someone's butt is not his style, but he pulls someone aside and explains what needs to be done," Prince said. "That builds a better chemistry."

While leadership isn't figured into the "passing efficiency formula," it does have a line in Prince's "quarterback efficiency formula."

With satisfaction, Prince said of Freeman's game, "He is a young man that has really progressed. No one has done it under a microscope like he has."