Category Archives: Stats Geek!

Wednesday morning buffet

Hot, steaming chafing dishes… yum.

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Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, College Football, Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football, SEC Football, Stats Geek!, Strategery And Mechanics

Heat treatment

CFB Film Room has charted every one of Jacob Eason’s throws from last season.  See if you can detect a pattern.

jacob-eason-2016

He’s got some work to do on the long ball.  (As always, it’s only fair to point out that better protection would likely do wonders in that department.)

Eason clearly excels within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage, especially on the right side. But there is plenty of room for improvement down the field.

Arm strength is never an issue for Eason, so as he becomes more comfortable and patient in the pocket, he should improve his downfield productivity. Eason is a strong candidate to be one of the most improved quarterbacks in the nation in 2017.

From your lips, my man.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Understatement of the effing decade

As headers go, “Nick Chubb Needs Help From His O-Line” pretty much nails it.

Georgia running back Nick Chubb is among the most talented at his position, and among the top draft-eligible running backs entering the 2017 season. But his 2016 campaign was a bit of a disappointment, as he managed just 1,130 yards on 224 attempts.

His 5.0 yards per attempt average was easily the lowest of his career, and a steep dropoff from his 8.1 mark during his injury-shortened 2015 season.

The issue, however, wasn’t Chubb himself. It was an offensive line that struggled to create room for him to run, even against the likes of Nicholls State and UL-Lafayette.

To demonstrate just how porous the Bulldogs offensive line was a season ago, we used our new heat map tool to chart where Chubb was first contacted by the defense on each of his carries in 2016. These results certainly won’t come as a shock to Georgia fans, but seeing it in heat map form is still eye opening:

nick-chubb-2016-contact-copy-copy

… As the map shows, opposing defenses regularly got to Chubb behind the line of scrimmage and only on a handful of occasions did he get more than five yards downfield before encountering contact.

Yeah, but some of y’all keep reminding us in the comments about how last year was all about Chubb not being himself.

It’s amazing to keep reading comments here, there and everywhere about all the different keys to Georgia’s offense this season I read:  Eason, the receivers, Chubb’s health, et cetera… none of that is going to matter much if the offensive line doesn’t improve.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Nick Chubb, not too shabby

Pro Football Focus takes a look at Nick Chubb’s 2016 season and discovers it wasn’t that bad.

  • After having his 2015 season end prematurely due to three torn ligaments in his left knee, Chubb returned to play 433 snaps in 2016 and recorded an overall grade of 81.8, which is No. 5 among returning SEC running backs. Chubb’s average of 3.6 yards after contact per rushing attempt was also tops among all SEC backs with 200 plus carries.
  • One thing that Chubb has been able to do throughout his collegiate career is make defenders miss. As a true freshman, Chubb had an elusive rating of 108.5 after forcing 69 missed tackles on 237 touches. Even this past year after returning from his knee surgery, Chubb forced 40 missed tackles but didn’t force them as efficiently as he’d done prior to the injury.  [Emphasis added.]

Jeez.  Just imagine what a fully healthy Chubb might be capable of this season.  Then imagine it with a competent offensive line.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

“This was, for all intents and purposes, a voluntary rebuild.”

Bill Connelly’s Georgia preview, despite an occasional foray into cheekiness (“I’m not going to lie:  I’ve enjoyed needling Georgia fans over the last year and a half.”) reads like it was written by somebody who’s checked out the comments section here once or twice.

Perceptions are an incredible thing. If Georgia were your typical rebuild job — say, a South Carolina situation, in which the product fell off late in a great coach’s tenure, then fell some more — then it would be easy to say Kirby Smart’s efforts are pretty encouraging.

Despite a reset of sorts on both sides of the ball, Smart’s first team won eight games, beat rival Auburn, and won a bowl game, then inked a spectacular recruiting class, the third-best in the country.

This wasn’t a South Carolina situation, though. This was, for all intents and purposes, a voluntary rebuild.

Smart inherited one of the stablest programs in the country, one that fielded one iffy team in 2015 after four straight excellent ones … and had still won 10 games with that iffy team. Georgia declared that it wants all the recruits and all the rivalry wins; Mark Richt’s 10 wins per year weren’t enough.

Richt was more successful than Vince Dooley, and he was regarded to be one of the best men in football. He had bounced back from downturns before in his 15 years as Georgia head coach. A couple of lean classes had created a two-deep less plump than he was used to, but odds were good he’d get past it. But instead of renovating the mansion, UGA athletic director Greg McGarity tore it down to build a new one.

Glad to see I’m not the only one who noticed.

I’m not going to spoil the rest of what he posted and you should read it in its entirety, but there’s one stat he unearthed that is definitely worth a share.

The recipe was pretty easy. When Chubb averaged at least 6 yards per carry in a game, Georgia scored at least 28 points.

At the risk of dredging back up something I posted a few days ago, 28 points would have beaten Vanderbilt and Florida (!) and sent the Tech game to overtime.  Sure would have made for a dramatically different 2016, no?

I believe Bill’s touched on this season’s Job One for Jim Chaney and the offensive line.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Today, in that’s so Georgia

Matt Melton goes to the AP Poll well once more, looking at the last decade’s underrated and overrated teams based on the final AP Poll rankings.  His metric:

To do that I looked at the final AP Poll ranking of every Power 5 team since 2005. I then ran a regression analysis based on their record and final poll position. This regression spit out a formula. I used this formula to reverse-engineer the poll ranking of all the ranked Power 5 teams and determined which teams were the most over or underrated. If you want the results, skip on down, but I wanted to give some background and caveats before delving into them.

I only looked at teams that were in either the ACC, Big 10, Big 12, Pac-10/12, or SEC during the season in question. The Big East, with future Power 5 members Louisville, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Syracuse, and West Virginia, was a BCS conference during this time frame, but I left those teams out when they were Big East members because I thought it would skew the results. Similarly, when Utah and TCU were Mountain West members, their final rankings were not included in this analysis. Other current mid-majors like Boise State, BYU, and Central Michigan were also left out. The regression analysis produced an R squared value of .7868 between winning percentage and final ranking with a regression formula of: -74.675*(win %) +71.347.

The 2007 Georgia squad makes the overrated list.  There is no Georgia entry on his underrated list (surprise!), but it’s the last group he comes up with that’s of interest.

And finally here is a list of teams that probably should have finished ranked based on their record, but ultimately did not.

num3

There’s only one team in the last eleven seasons that managed a double-digit season in wins — playing an SEC schedule, mind you! — and didn’t finish ranked.  The AP managed to Dawgrade an entire season.  Impressive.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Welcome back.

Bill Connelly’s preview of South Carolina“So South Carolina is improving but isn’t and is gaining ground on the division but isn’t” is essentially spot on — led me to something he posted in January that I evidently missed.

The East was crazy-young in 2016, and division teams ranked seventh, eighth, ninth, 10th, 31st, and 50th in my initial returning production figures. Only Tennessee returns less than 67 percent of production.

Click on that link and you’ll find that Bill wrote this about the SEC East’s upcoming season:

As things stand, four SEC East teams rank among the top 10 in overall returning production: Kentucky, South Carolina, Georgia, and Vanderbilt. Plus, Missouri ranks in the top 10 in returning offense and is 31st overall.

Granted, last year’s two best East teams — Florida (15th in year-end S&P+) and Tennessee (28th) — have some inexperience to deal with. The Gators should show gains on offense but also rank 103rd in returning defensive production, while Tennessee ranks 109th in overall production.

Still, the division as a whole should improve. It won’t catch the West, but expect a little more balanced playing field in the SEC.

More specifically, and based on his metric…

How returning production in four different offensive stats correlates with changes in Offensive S&P+ ratings:

(The higher the number, the more likely returning production in these areas is to coincide with strong offense.)

  • Receiving yards correlation: 0.320
  • Passing yards correlation: 0.231
  • Rushing yards correlation: 0.126
  • Offensive line starts correlation: 0.096

The conclusion remains: Continuity in the passing game matters a hell of a lot, and continuity in the run game doesn’t have as strong an impact.

On defense, where returning production appears to matter more in general, the correlations are both stronger and more diverse. Since teams use different numbers of defensive linemen, linebackers, and defensive backs, I look at both unit-specific categories and those for defense as a whole.

Correlation between defensive stats and changes in Defensive S&P+:

  • Overall passes defensed correlation: 0.406
  • Overall tackles correlation: 0.369
  • Defensive back passes defensed correlation: 0.363
  • Defensive back tackles correlation: 0.352
  • Overall tackles for loss correlation: 0.296
  • Defensive back tackles for loss correlation: 0.291
  • Linebacker tackles for loss correlation: 0.174
  • Defensive line sacks correlation: 0.171

The main takeaways are similar to last year: disruption and continuity in the secondary are key. And the ability to get hands on passes, via interception or breakup, is harder to replicate than any other, when it comes to box-score disruption.

… Georgia turns up 35th in returning offensive production, 5th in returning defensive production and 9th overall.  Interestingly, with regard to the overall rankings, Georgia is essentially tied with three other teams at 81%, and all four teams reside in the SEC East.  And in a comparison of the four — Kentucky, South Carolina, Georgia and Vanderbilt — I think most would say that Georgia has the most talented roster.

One other interesting thing about Bill’s analysis is that, contrary to Phil Steele, he finds a low correlation between returning production on the offensive line and statistical improvement on offense.  If you’re Georgia, that’s good news, right?

There’s one other thing to consider from Georgia’s perspective with regard to Bill’s metric.  Florida was already showing badly in returning defensive production when he posted this, and with the loss of two more members of the Gators’ secondary, one of whom led the team in tackles last season, you’d have to think that number goes even further south now.  That’s some potentially bad news for a team that has relied heavily on its defense to win the division the past two seasons, so, to repeat, if you’re Georgia, that’s good news, right?

Again, none of this guarantees success for Georgia in 2017.  It is another indication, though, that the coaching staff should have enough raw material available to it to fashion a successful season.

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Filed under Georgia Football, SEC Football, Stats Geek!