Ain’t no party like an advanced stats party and an advanced stats party don’t stop.
That’s right, it’s time for another party, this time, it’s the running backs. Remember, the Football Study Hall Texas Tech statistical profile can be found at that link. A couple of other items: 1) the “Hlt Yds / Opp.” or “Highlight Yards” is essentially the portion of the run given solely to the running back and the highlight yards divided by opportunities the number of carries where the offensive line did their job, which is go at least 5 yards. The “Opp Rate” is just that, the rate in which the offensive line did it’s job and produced at least 5 yards.
Felton: A couple of interesting things pop here. Demarcus Felton is, by far, the best runner on the team and it really wasn’t that close and the line simply runs just a bit better with him in the back field. Sure, those tough yards could be difficult to grind out, but he was the most productive. There was no running back that helped the offensive line do their job more so than Felton, although it was just a slight bump ahead of Ward, both Ward and Felton were significantly ahead of Stockton. Not only that, both Felton and Ward create highlight hards, while Stockton isn’t creating anything on his own.
Ward: The thing that jumps out at you is the fumbles, 5, in fairly limited action. Given that fumbles are unpredictable, it’s probably pretty rare to just lose 1 out of 5, but that’s obviously something that has to be cleaned up. Ward is able to grind out yards a bit better, but as mentioned with Felton, Ward is just figuring out how to run behind the line. Kingsbury has mentioned that Ward needs to get better at explosive plays, but that’s true of every running back.
Stockton: The roughest go of the three running backs. Stockton just isn’t able to produce like you would think and I hope he receives a ton of opportunities to catch the ball out of the backfield. He’s probably the best blocker of the bunch. The coaches love Stockton and I think he’s a good kid, but he’s got to figure out a way to create on his own. And I should mention that his 2015 stats were significantly better. In 2015, he had 6.3 Highlight Yards and had an Opposition Rate of 45.9%. Stockton probably isn’t as bad as he was last year, because he can be better, but the offensive line has to be better and so does Stockton.
And this is just a reminder of the relatively terrible rushing performance from last year. Kingsbury has said it and I’ll write it again, this was not an explosive group and not a very successful group in terms of running the ball. The offensive line has to be significantly better, but those numbers need to change.