Moar Why I YPP

I know some of you scoff at statistics, but this post from Groo that riffs off of yesterday’s YPP post here is a good reason why you shouldn’t be so quick to do so.

Along the same lines, Blutarsky looks at the imperative to raise Georgia’s net yards per play (YPP). He clearly sets out the target for a team with playoff aspirations: “you’d better create a net YPP of 2+ if you want a realistic shot at the CFP (the four-team version, that is). And if you want to win, you’d better wind up north of 2.5.” What does that mean in practical terms? “Georgia probably has to bump its offensive YPP up a full yard over the 2020 number to make the CFP field this season, assuming it can maintain its defensive excellence.” Maybe a bit more context will help: “A 7.21 ypp would be the best in the program’s history.”

So there’s the simple challenge for Tood Monken and J.T. Daniels: perform at a level never before seen at Georgia. That sets the expectations fairly high, and it raises some interesting questions. What if Daniels matches or just barely surpasses Murray’s 2012 numbers? It would be a superlative season for a Georgia quarterback, but would it be seen as a disappointment? What if Georgia’s defense, and its secondary in particular, slips a little and yields, say, another half yard or so per play? Would we notice an appreciable gain on the offensive side? Would the pressure instead be on Monken to offset the difference and still come out with a net increase?

It’s good to put some concrete numbers behind our expectations beyond straight wins and losses. We recognize the need to modernize and increase the output of the offense to compete at the highest level; it’s why Todd Monken is here. Metrics like YPP, EPA, success rate, and explosiveness are important benchmarks to follow that let us know how things are going. We know, based on those metrics, what a successful team and offense looks like. If we want and expect Georgia to contend at that level, watching those metrics will be the equivalent of the world record line superimposed over an Olympic swimming or track event – is Georgia on pace, out ahead, or falling behind where they need to be?

Again, I’ll be tracking SEC net YPP this season.  I know why I’ll be doing it; I hope you’ll appreciate why, too.


Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

16 responses to “Moar Why I YPP

  1. Derek

    With respect to stats you just have to acknowledge what they are:

    “Results” not “goals”

    If you play football chasing a stat you’ll fail. If you succeed at playing football, you’ll have good stats.

    Its also true that the correlation between some stats and championships have changed over time. It used to be that rushing offense and rushing defense really mattered.

    Now it’s pressuring the other team with explosiveness. If your qb can’t hit downfield passes to gazelles you may get outscored no matter how talented your roster is. The answer is not: well our qb ain’t very good but you know if we just keep chucking it, well you know STATS!

    Thats bullshit.


    • Using net YPP and the like as the world record line is a great way of looking at it. Does it guarantee you’ll win a title with a 2.5+ net YPP? No. Does it guarantee you won’t win a title at 2.0+ net YPP? No. But when you look back at the last 12 playoff teams and then look at the last few winners, those are the metrics that connect them.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Derek

        No doubt they are instructive and informative metrics. I just get frustrated when people say:

        Lsu was pass first with fifth year Joe Burrow and went 15-0 so if we’re not pass first with Jake Fromm coming off the bench and straight outta hs, then Kirby just don’t get it! Look at the stats!!!

        Its lazy and wrong. The first key to being effective at passing is having an effective passer. Because of the 20 hour rule it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to make a living underneath, which means effective passing will require stretching the field. So you need a kid who can chuck it deep and accurately and guys who will beat coverage and make the catch. Thats more about roster than about play calling or play design.

        JT is better than Stet or Dwan. Thats why I like our chances. Monken and Kirby are as smart or as dumb as they were last year.


  2. Thanks for doing the heavy lifting for us interested in these stats, Senator! I look forward to your reports throughout the season because I am down with YPP.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Net YPP seems to be one of those stats that can easily track to team success (given normal turnover luck). Net YPP seems to be a statistic that would correlate to overall team execution. I would throw in red zone TD percentage (both offense and defense) and turnover margin.

    These stats would indicate a team that can:
    1) Control field position
    2) Maximize point production
    3) Take care of the ball

    If you can master these things, you probably have a team that’s going to be a tough out. The game at the highest level is more like tennis on a grass surface. You have to hold serve and get service breaks when you have a chance (a field goal instead of a TD in the red zone is a service break).

    Liked by 1 person

    • miltondawg

      I think that net YPP is a good indicator towards total team success. From an offensive standpoint, I think that offensive YPP is helpful but not absolutely determinative. I think that advanced stats focused on drives tell a lot more about a team’s offense, such as OTD (percentage of offensive drives that result in a touchdown) and OPD (offensive points per drive). For example, in 2020 Alabama was first in both OTD at .598 (so nearly 60% of offensive drives resulted in a touchdown) and OPD at 4.41. In 2019, Bama was first in OPD at 4.12 and LSU second at 4.10 and Bama was first in OTD at .554 and LSU was second at .537. By comparison in 2020, Georgia was 33rd in OTD at .346 and 30th in OPD at 2.75. Similarly, for OFD (percentage of offensive drives that earn at least one first down) in 2020 Bama was number one at .902 and Georgia was 26th at .769. With respect to the “bad” offensive advanced stats, such as OBD (percentage of drives that end with zero or negative yards gained), in 2020 Bama was 6th at .049 and Georgia was 82nd at .125 (seems hard to believe that more than one in ten drives were a zero or net loss). As for OTO (percentage of drives that end with a lost fumble or interception), Bama was a more mortal 17th in the county at .074 but Georgia was a horrific 87th at .135. If Georgia wants to live in that 46-48+ range in points per game like LSU in 2019 and Alabama in 2020, the jump in offensive production has to be significant!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Makes sense. If you aren’t explosive on offense (for whatever reason), you have to be almost perfect on defense to get that 2.25-2.5 yard advantage in net YPP. I keep coming back to what the record says … Georgia under Kirby is almost impossible to beat when we score 30+. We have lost 1 game in 5 years when we have cracked the 30-point barrier (the Tennessee game in 2016).

        The defense will typically generate enough service breaks to win the game. The question is whether the offense will take advantage.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Down Island Way

      ee, you’ve just upped your game bringing some tennis thought process to GTP… keep up the good work, it’ll make other posters think twice when you compare a service ace to # 18 hitting the receiver in stride for a UGA touchdown…on a grass surface, nicely done….


  4. thunderdawg42

    “We know…what a successful team and offense looks like.”

    I would argue that this is a major reason for the UGA fan dissatisfaction since 2018.

    In 2017, we learned what a dominant, nigh unbeatable Georgia team looked like, and it was good. We absolutely obliterated 10 of our opponents, not counting SCAR (a mere 14-point victory), and even the surprise loss to Auburn didn’t throw us off track. Resilient, intimidating, and ruthlessly efficient.

    Every year since has been measured against it, and some of the joy of victory has been sapped as a result. Solid victories against strong opponents are nitpicked, as we collectively intone, “yeah we’re good, but we won’t win it all playing like this.” Our rivals want to lay the blame at Kirby’s feet, writing about championship-or-bust seasons, hot seats, and Justin Fields, but the fault is our own.

    Enough of that shit. This year, I’m just going to enjoy myself. It’s OK to want to win it all, to have a vision of what the best version of the team looks like in one’s mind, but I’m not going to stare at the “world record line” with worry in my heart. We have a great team this year, and I’m going to do my best to have a damn good time watching their season unfold.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thunderdawg42

      Note to the Senator: I don’t mean to imply that I won’t be keeping an eye on YPP – it does appear to be a strong reflection of overall performance. I just won’t be thinking about it during the games.


    • RangerRuss

      That’s an healthy attitude, TD42. I’ll try to do the same.

      However, I just listened to James Brown and a couple of Clisby Clarke songs and almost went apeshit.
      It’s time…


  5. dawgphan34

    It’s nice to put some context with the numbers.

    To refresh my own memory.
    2012 Murray
    3900 yards
    36/10 TD/int
    174.8 rating
    65% passer

    Since 2012 no UGA QB has come within 1000 yards of Murray’s season total.

    If Daniels has 3900 yards and 36 TDs, that would be a great season at QB for the Dawgs, but I dont think it would be enough to get a title without a couple of breaks. You would be right there, but you would need some help.


  6. paulwesterdawg

    Winning a national title today is harder than in the past 100 years for UGA. So logically it would require our greatest stat season to do it.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Looking pedestrian, playing down to weaker opponents, and showing limited abilities are things we can see with our eyes without the stats. Pointing this out upsets some but when we then get our ass handed to us by better teams “I told you so” is of little comfort. I’m convinced better play calling and execution can get us through the gauntlet…if tracking YPP is the measuring stick so be it, but my eyes will still tell me just as much.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Dylan Dreyer's Booty

    I love this board and have all the respect in the world for the Senator, but (you knew there was a ‘but’ coming, right?) as Derek said earlier, stats are a way of explaining what happened, and not a goal. Maybe we need to bump our net YPP up a full yard, but the better question – and the one the coaches have to answer – is how do we do that? Me wringing my hands over that idea just isn’t going to be useful for me or the team. Also, if we win a natty but fail to get our YPP up a full yard I just won’t be able to think of it as a failure. Hope you won’t, either.


    • ‘Preciate the “respect, but”. 😉

      I’m not offering YPP as a strategy. What I am pointing out is that for UGA to have the kind of success we’re hoping for this season, it’s very likely going to take the best offense in UGA history for that to happen.

      Liked by 2 people