Sometimes you can look at statistics in a different way and gain some new insight about a team’s performance that you may not have considered before. Along those lines, here’s something to ponder from
Basically, despite all of the hype, defensive sacks created on its own is a pretty meaningless number, and only takes on real meaning when you put it into the context of pass attempts. Long story short, a team that piles up a lot of sacks can be a relatively poor pass rushing team, and a team that has only a relatively few sacks can in fact be a good pass rushing team, depending on how many passes they have thrown against them.
So, what I have done is taken the total number of sacks created by a particular team in SEC play in 2007, and divided that by the total number of pass attempts against the same team. That division yields a percentage of passing plays that I call Adjusted Sack Rate, which of course is the percentage of passes that resulted in a sack. Bottom line, by looking at rates instead of raw numbers, we get a more accurate picture of which teams actually rushed the passer the best in 2007.
Georgia, which led the SEC in total sacks, also winds up first in the conference under this metric. The Dawgs were third in the conference in average yards lost per sack.
But here’s the really interesting part. If you’re looking for a reason you hadn’t thought of before as to what changed mid-season to set Georgia on its seven game winning streak, there’s this:
… The interesting thing about the Dawgs, however, is that they are the ultimate tale of two seasons. In the first four SEC games, they couldn’t get to the quarterback at all, getting only four sacks on 124 passing attempts (3.2% ASR). In the final four conference games, however, UGA went on an absolute tear, racking up 17 sacks on only 108 passing attempts, giving them a whopping ASR of over 15%. And then, of course, they racked up 13 more sacks against Georgia Tech and Hawai’i on only 89 passing attempts. Bottom line, the way that we (sic) UGA rushed the quarterback in the second half of the season was simply done at a level that I have not seen before.
My math says that’s 30 sacks on 197 passing attempts – an ASR of 15.23%. For comparison’s sake, consider that Georgia Tech, last year’s national leader in sacks under blitz maven Jon Tenuta, had 48 sacks on 389 passing attempts, for an ASR of 12.34%.
That’s pretty impressive stuff, especially considering that Martinez isn’t exactly known for being a blitz happy defensive coordinator.
Of course, we all know how differently this would have turned out if the GPOOE™ hadn’t been injured in J’ville.