I saw a question or two in the comments about what kind of impact Monken’s playcalling/scheme might have had on the number of plays his teams had to defend, so I thought I’d dive into the data at cfbstats.com to find out.
First, as I did with yesterday’s turnover post, here’s the baseline — Georgia’s numbers during Smart’s four seasons to date. Data includes the number of plays run, national rankings and plays per game, in that order.
- 2016: 809 (9th) 62.23
- 2017: 943 (100th) 62.87
- 2018: 890 (67th) 63.57
- 2019: 900 (87th) 64.29
Note the modest trend upwards there, although I suspect that last year’s increase might be somewhat tied to a decline in Georgia’s third-down conversion rate.
Now, on to Oklahoma State, starting with the year before Monken’s arrival.
- 2010: 1069 (120th) 82.23
- 2011: 1089 (120th) 83.77
- 2012: 1034 (120th) 79.54
You have to admire the consistency. Seriously, though, it looks like Monken had almost no effect on the number of plays OSU had to defend in his two seasons there. (Remember, too, the Cowboys were running something close to a pure Air Raid scheme then, something that won’t be happening in Athens.)
And here’s the tale of the tape at Southern Miss, starting with Ellis Johnson’s winless season there.
- 2012: 838 (21st) 69.83
- 2013: 890 (57th) 74.17
- 2014: 845 (24th) 70.42
- 2015: 998 (115th) 71.29
A modest impact, and one that nobody there cared about, given the vast improvement in offense Monken oversaw (remember, offensive ypp increased by two yards per play over that period).
Bottom line, nothing really to see here, especially when you consider that Georgia’s defensive depth far surpasses that at Monken’s last two collegiate stops. YMMV, of course.