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Georgia Tech Football: Meeting the New Coaches - QB Coach Chris Weinke

Let’s meet the former Heisman winner!

NCAA Football: Georgia Tech Spring Game Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

We wrap up this week’s series with a look at Tech’s new quarterbacks coach: former Heisman winner Chris Weinke, who replaces Dave Patenaude in the QB room.

Coaching History

2010 - 2012 | IMG Academy (FL) (Director of Football)

2013 - 2014 | IMG Academy (FL) (Director of Football/Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator)

2015 - 2016 | St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams (Quarterbacks Coach)

2017 | Alabama (Offensive Analyst)

2018 | Tennessee (Running Backs Coach)

2019 - 2020 | Tennessee (Quarterbacks Coach)

Weinke is an interesting hire for me. He is obviously well-known from his playing days and his experience at IMG, but beyond that, his resume is a little sparse and not incredibly impressive.

Starting with his time with the Jeff Fisher-led Rams. In 2015, he oversaw the QB battle between Nick Foles and Case Keenum. Between the two, they completed less than 60 percent of their passes for about 2,800 yards, 11 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions.

The next year, the Rams got Jared Goff, so things should get better, right? Well, I guess they got a little better. Keenum and Goff combined for a little closer to 60 percent pass completion (Keenum passed for better than 60 percent in both seasons) and threw for close to 3,300 yards, 14 touchdowns, and 18 interceptions. So...still not great. At the end of the season, Jeff Fisher was fired, Sean McVay was hired, and Jared Goff became a much better quarterback.

It’s tough to say how much influence an offensive analyst has on quarterback, in my opinion, so I will not speak much on Weinke’s time at Alabama, but I think it’s worth noting that he did work with Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagavailoa while there.

Weinke would work with quarterbacks again at Tennessee in 2019, after serving as the team’s running backs coach for a year. He did some good things while at Tennessee. His bio on Georgia Tech’s website states:

In Weinke’s first season as Tennessee’s quarterbacks coach (2019), the Vols ranked 11th nationally and second in the Southeastern Conference in yards per completion (14.4 avg.), en route to an 8-5 record and Gator Bowl victory. Tennessee’s passing offense improved by 13% over the year prior to Weinke becoming the quarterbacks coach.

I think that 13% number indicates an increase in passing yards for Jarrett Guarantano, and I like that number a lot. In 2019, he completed 59 percent of his passes for 2,158 yards, 16 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Tennessee was not a pass-heavy team, so those numbers are what they are.

The next season, though, the [Styx] hit the fan for the Vols. UT dropped from 8-5 in 2019 to 3-7 in 2020. Guarantano and Harrison Bailey split time as the starting quarterbacks during the season, so I’ll combine their numbers. JT Shrout also contributed a good deal, so I’ll put his numbers in as well. Between the three quarterbacks, they completed 63.4 percent of their passes for 2,005 yards, 14 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

Because 2020 was a weird season, I want to do a per game breakdown of improvement/regression for the QB play between his two seasons.

Completion percentage: 59.1% —> 63.4% (+7.3% improvement - note that I am saying 63.4 is a 7.3% improvement from 59.1, not that it is 7.3 points better)

Passing Yards Per Game: 166 —> 200.5 (+20.8% improvement)

Passing Touchdowns per Game: 1.23 —> 1.4 (+13.8% improvement)

Interceptions per Game: 0.6 —> 0.9 (-50% regression)

Honestly, I am actually a little surprised how much improvement there actually was between the two seasons. When I first started writing this, I was not expecting such improvement. Other than the interceptions, Tennessee quarterbacks as a whole improved a good deal (at least from a raw numbers point-of-view).

This is a very limited sample size, however, so it remains to be seen if Weinke will be able to have that kind of impact at Georgia Tech.

The Bottom Line

I know I just said that it remains to be seen if Weinke will be able to have that kind of impact at Georgia Tech, but I do believe that he will have a positive impact on Georgia Tech’s quarterbacks. My biggest complaint about Dave Patenaude is that I did not think he was a very good quarterbacks coach. In his time, we saw very little development of Jeff Sims or any of Tech’s other quarterbacks. I think having a coach who is solely focused on quarterbacks, like Tech now has in Weinke, is only going to be a net positive for the QB room. I don’t know that that means that he will turn Sims or one of the other quarterbacks into an All-American, but—if they can stay standing long enough—I could see some marked improvement in quarterback play this season.