Well, this isn’t going to be fun. Thanks to Football Study Hall’s Texas Tech advanced statistical profile. I decided to include the former players, like Ondre Pipkins and Breiden Fehoko on the defensive line just so you can get a feel as to how unproductive the defensive line was last year.
The defensive stats in comparison to the national average were pretty pitiful. The things that they did relatively well is limiting big rushing plays, which seems like something that seems impossible, and Adjusted Line Yards, which is a formula (I think) to determine the success of the running back vs. the offensive line. That’s still not great though. The linebackers havoc rate is definitely acceptable and the beef of that production is returning, plus guys that weren’t here last year, like Dakota Allen and Tony Jones. I think it’s reasonable to expect more plays at the linebacker spot and that’s a good thing.
There are a couple of things to note. Namely that guys like Kolin Hill and Kris Williams are listed as linebackers by the good folks at Football Study Hall and so they’re not included even though they really are defensive linemen. Their stats were lumped in with the linebackers and as a result, the defensive line stats probably aren’t entirely accurate. Because of that, I’ve included the linebackers with this as well as many of the run-stopping statistics can also be attributed to the linebackers as well as the defensive line. And I’m not including guys like Malik Jenkins, Kris Williams and Luke Stice, guys that graduated. They were good. Truthfully, I have no problem for what they were and what they contributed.
As you can see, Pipkins was the best defensive lineman last year and that’s saying quite a bit. The more I look at those numbers the more disappointed I get. And truthfully, Pipkins numbers at the noseguard is just fine overall. I don’t expect sacks from Pipkins spot. I am still extremely disappointed in Fehoko’s numbers. I know there’s been talk that he was told to essentially play the way that he did, not to be an aggressive lineman and I find that to be somewhat ludicrous. Coach: “So, I want you guys to play passively and whatever you do, stay at the line of scrimmage and don’t attack the quarterback or the play. Remember, BE PASSIVE.” Yeah, that just doesn’t jive with me. And Gary Moore just never worked out. That’s just not very much production for the time he was on the field.
Washington, Wallace, Thomas, Nick McCann and Houston Smith are going to have to come a long ways. They’ll be young, but at the very least, I think the effort will be there.
The linebackers appear to be in good shape. We’ll miss guys like Jenkins and Stice to an extent, but I’m not at all worried about the depth and talent at this position and I expect significantly more plays from this group. There’s lots of talent there and if Brooks can improve and Allen can play as well as he did last year at JUCO, then I think we can expect some pretty decent results. So much of this equation depends on the play of the defensive line, and as mentioned before, it’s young, but I think these are competent players.