This isn’t a massive article that breaks down every element of Price’s game. It is, rather, an observation that it is time to start wondering what has changed to cause Keith Price to play at a much lower level this year compared to last year.
Through five games, Price has 882 passing yards via 59.5% accuracy to go along with 5 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. That puts him on pace for 2116 yards with 12 touchdowns and, if we round up from 9.6, 10 interceptions for the entire regular season. That is pretty damn terrible in comparison to the 3063 yards, 66% accuracy, 33 touchdowns and 11 interceptions of last year. In my opinion, the differences in production have been so severe that it can’t be blamed on the two tough games against Oregon and LSU. The schedule wasn’t soft last year, either, and even against softer opponents like Portland State and San Diego State, Price has not put up big numbers once. His best game as far as yardage is concerned all year was 222 passing yards against SDSU, and since then, he has failed to reach 200 once.
Yes, the offensive line has struggled at times, especially against Stanford and LSU. Yes, the absence of Chris Polk and the injury to Jesse Callier left the Huskies without a run game for the first few games of the year. That would easily explain away a moderate statistical slump. But this is severe. Price has often looked shaky and at times wildly inaccurate. From a subjective point of view, I have not at any point this year watched him drop back and felt like he was certainly going to complete a pass for a decent gain. That’s a feeling I often had last year, when Price would get into a zone and shred defenses. He hasn’t shredded anything this season.
It isn’t time to panic. The Huskies are 3-2, which is better than the 2-3 record that most people projected, and Price has not been a disaster. But, with Bishop Sankey suddenly looking like a stud capable of carrying the ground game and the offensive line looking solid in pass protection against Oregon, it is time to wait and see if Price starts to pick things up. If, at home against USC this week, he looks anywhere near as shaky as he did in Eugene yesterday, it may be time to really worry. If his production continues at this rate for several more weeks, it may just be time to wonder if his glorious 2011 season simply isn’t repeatable.
Until then, just wait and watch and hope.