Where Notre Dame QB Drew Pyne ranks in batted passes in 2022

Notre Dame offensive coordinator Tommy Rees provided a recent media gathering with a moment of levity. He was asked what junior quarterback Drew Pyne can do to prevent his passes from getting batted down by rushers at the line of scrimmage.

“Drink milk,” Rees said.

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Of course, that was a subtle shot at Pyne’s smaller stature. At 5-11 ½, he’s not as tall as most quarterbacks in this era. Or from any era, really. Athleticism can make up for a lack of size, but Pyne isn’t overly-athletic. He’s no Kyler Murray, for example. Pyne’s best attribute is his competitiveness.

It’s competitiveness, after all, that helps lead to five total touchdowns in one half. Notre Dame needed every last one of them to hang on to beat the Navy Midshipmen. But it’s lower release point that leads to batted passes, and Pyne ranks toward the top of the Power Five in that undesirable category.

Through Notre Dame’s first 11 games, Pyne had 9 batted passes. That ranked No. 3 among P5 signal callers. Only Mississippi State’s Will Rogers (16) and TCU’s Max Duggan (10) had more. They’re both 6-2, but their batted passes have more to do with volume than their height.

Most battled passes among Power Five QBs through Week 12

3. Drew Pyne (Notre Dame)9

The pass attempts those three quarterbacks took to their respective numbers of batted passes are alarming in Pyne’s case. Rogers led the country with 530 attempts through Week 12. Duggan had 309. Pyne had 228.

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Rees explained how Pyne can improve on his batted passes rate.

“There are windows,” he said. “Very few people throw over the top. Everybody is looking for lanes. Now, his lanes are going to be less than a guy who’s 6-4. It’s just the way it is, right? So, constantly finding when we can take a quick five [yards] on a play so we get a little more depth. That’s something we’ve talked about.

“If we’re getting rushed, can we slide? If we’re looking for throws that are outside the pocket, can we find that clean window to our left and to our right and really slide? Find opportunities to climb and find alleys.”

Easier said than done.