Monken and turnovers

I’ve seen several suggestions in the comments that Georgia running a more open offense under Todd Monken is likely to lead to a lessened defensive performance because of, among other reasons, a greater chance of turnovers.  That got me curious:  is there a Monken track record of increased turnovers?

Maybe yes, maybe no.

First, courtesy of, here’s the baseline, which is turnovers lost during Smart’s four seasons (national ranking in parenthesis).

  • 2016:  19 (56th)
  • 2017:  16 (34th)
  • 2018:  14 (15th)
  • 2019:  13 (14th)

Now, here’s Monken’s record in two seasons as Oklahoma State’s offensive coordinator and then three as Southern Miss’ head coach.

  • 2011:  23 (62nd)
  • 2012:  22 (60th)
  • 2013:  38 (125th)
  • 2014:  26 (101st)
  • 2015:  25 (104th)

Holy drop the ball, Batman!  Clearly there’s some turnover fire to that more open offense smoke.

Well, maybe.  Here’s the thing — look at what the giveaway numbers were at those two places the year before Monken took the reins.

  • 2010:  22 (54th)
  • 2012:  28 (102nd)

In context, then, Monken’s regime at both places then didn’t really amount to a full scale escalation of turnovers, with the exception of that wretched 2013 season when he inherited a disaster from Ellis Johnson.  It’s also worth pointing out that, over the 2012-5 period, USM went from averaging 4.90 yards per play to 6.91 ypp, so that was a lot of improvement without much turnover cost.

If the pattern remains consistent, we might expect a slight uptick in turnovers lost.  At least that’s what those numbers suggest to me, anyway.  And you?


Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

15 responses to “Monken and turnovers

  1. practicaldawg

    As long as the offense is scoring on the other drives and the defense is getting as many turnovers, I’m not worried. Not even manball is immune from turnovers. Reference: UGA-SC 2019.


  2. poetdawg

    I’m probably missing something but it seems like I’ve seen several posts in GTP that indicate that turnovers are more or less random occurrences that tend to return to the mean over time. Not really a performance indicator.


    • Somewhat, but not totally.

      Connelly, for example, has shown that lost fumbles correlate with where they occur on the field. Fumbles behind the line of scrimmage are more likely to result in turnovers than fumbles downfield do.


      • 69Dawg

        Right on Senator, field position for turnovers is number one factor for points from turnovers. Any stats on UGA points given up after a UGA turnover. I know our defense got turnovers that the O was unable to score aftr except maybe a FG.


  3. miltondawg

    I would be interested to know what percentage of the Monken team fumbles are interceptions and what percentage are fumbles. May never be able to find this out, but with respect to fumbles it would also be nice to know what percentage of fumbles were running plays and what were on passing downs beyond the line of scrimmage.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. spur21

    Do those numbers consider the number of plays run? For example running 400 plays with 25 turnovers is different than running 300 with 25.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. otto1980

    Faster offenses lead to more possessions the defense have to then defend. Auburn’s 2010 defense was supposedly one of their worst but they won a title, and the defense had some great 4th quarter stats. So yes I can see some stats falling but at the same time if you’re going 3 and out… you’re not exactly helping the D.


    • benco04


      Solid assessment. It’s not turnovers by a more aggressive O that concern me. Not even in the slightest. What concerns me a teeny bit is the focus on explosive offensive plays and correlation with the time it takes to score points. I wonder how good LSU’s defense would’ve appeared statistically last season if they’re staff had made efficiency and time of possession a metric worth chasing.

      Liked by 1 person

      • otto1980

        LSU’s D did improve statistically as they ran they ran the ball better later in the season.

        Agreed I have had disagreements in the past over chasing explosive plays between the 35s. If they bust on 2nd and medium, you’re in for a big 3rd.


  6. FlyingPeakDawg

    All those turnovers and not a single hospitalization. What are you afraid of?!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Holiday Inn Bagman

    Most likely it’ll be a little bit of a more aggressive approach by Monken but also inexperience at the QB position (JT Daniels is still an unknown at this point. Despite his flaws Jake Fromm within the manball approach just didn’t turn the ball over. Not hard to believe this rate is going up.

    #Pass attempts per interceptions (career)
    Jake Fromm – 54
    David Greene – 45
    Aaron Murray – 36
    Matthew Stafford – 33