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September 14, 2010Northwestern players talked all summer about how good quarterback Dan Persa looked in workouts and at camp. But it's safe to assume that no one expected him to be quite this good.
How efficient has the redshirt junior been over the first two weeks of the season?
Quarterback ratings, for the uninitiated, are based on a complex formula that must have been derived by a calculus professor. If you want to figure out for yourself, it's:
a = (Comp/Att) * 100
Got that? There will be a test on Friday.
You can use that formula to see that Persa has been more accurate than a polygraph test, or you can just watch him play. He has thrown well in the pocket and well on the run. He completed passes to seven Wildcats in the opener and eight last week.
As Stewart said last Saturday, his quarterback has been "on the money." And he didn't even mention that Persa also leads the team in rushing.
Persa, a serious, hard-working sort, has downplayed the ridiculous numbers he's accumulated. He credited his receivers and offensive line after Saturday's game, and yesterday he talked to NUSports.com about the impact that former NU quarterback Brett Basanez has had on his effectiveness.
That's about as much as you're going to get from a player that's more concerned about the numbers 2 and 0 (the Wildcats' won-lost record) than he is about yards per attempt.
Those are the numbers that coach Pat Fitzgerald cares about, too, but he wouldn't mind seeing Persa stay at the top of the nation's passing list.
"It's not about (being) perfect, it's about execution and he's done that," Fitzgerald said at his Monday press conference. "You look at his passer rating, No. 1 in the nation, and I'd like it to stay there. Why not? We ask our players to play to their strengths.
"For (offensive coordinator) Mick McCall and our offensive staff, it's players, formations and plays. Danny is a perfect fit for our offense, he's done a great job managing things, spreading it out. We have a number of young men with receptions and it's tough to stop."
Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson has thus far gotten most of the publicity on the Big Ten and national stage this season, and with good reason. The sophomore leads the nation in total offense (442.5 yards per game, compared to Persa's 278.5) and was spectacular in the Wolverines' win over Notre Dame last Saturday.
But Persa's sizzling start has fans in Evanston talking about things like completion percentage and quarterback ratings, and not on the number they were most fixated on to start the season: 6. As in, 6-feet tall.
Funny, but you're not hearing too many questions about Persa's height anymore.