One of the things I’ve thought about was the offense and essentially the drop-off from wins to losses, non-conference to conference play, etc. The inconsistency of the offense previously really bothered me. So I started to wonder if the same type of inconsistency existed with the Western Kentucky. For the record, Texas Tech would understandably drop-off in wins and losses, but the more consistent a team is, the better they are. In conference play vs. non-conference play the offense dropped more than a yard in production. In wins vs. losses, a difference of a bit over a yard.
With Western Kentucky, the difference in wins and losses was a difference of .05. In conference vs. non-conference games, the total offense was a difference of .89, so not quite a yard, but close. I wanted to dig into the stats a bit more and as always, the research is what it is and you don’t know until you do it.
|Rushing YPR||Passing (YPA)||Att/G|
The biggest thing here is the yards per rush in wins and losses and the half yard dip when conference opponents arrive. The good news is that the passing offense really seems to be pretty consistent when it comes to passing. It is easier with non-conference opponents, but it’s still pretty good.
|Passing||1st Down||15+||25+||Attempts||1st Down||15+||25+|
This also got me thinking about a bit more detail, how many first downs, how many plays of 15+ yards. Interestingly, WKU’s offense did tighten up a bit and the game progressed, the percentages on the right side of the table break down the same figures on the left side of the table. I do find it interesting that the first downs are relatively consistent passing the ball as are the plays that are 15+ yards, while the 20+ yards only slows down in the 4th quarter. Also, the comparison of passing to rushing first downs (the table below) is pretty fun. There’s going to be a lot more passing first downs than we’ve seen over the last few years.
|Rushing||1st Down||10+||20+||Attempts||1st Down||10+||20+|
Similar stats as above, but it appears that the rushing offense isn’t really explosive, but given the attempts it does generate first downs consistently, but it isn’t going to break big yards, or at least it didn’t at WKU.
|Red Zone||Scoring %||TD%||FG%|
This may be the most encouraging statistic, the fact that the scoring, and particularly the touchdown percentages remain relatively consistent, although the big drop in wins and losses, settling for field goals in losses rather than touchdowns is pretty evident here. That’s probably a head-coach decision and not an offensive coordinator decision. Interesting regardless and maybe indicates that when the going gets tough, try to keep scoring touchdowns.
Consistency is the key in college football. I’m all but convinced of that. Wild fluctuations with play-calling and player performance is the death knell of a team, i.e. a player that only performs against some opponents isn’t as valuable as a player that performs all of the time and a coach that is not able to call an offense through thick and thin isn’t as good/valuable as a coach that doesn’t have a huge drop-off in terms of production.
In this case, Zach Kittley does a good job of being pretty consistent, the one thing that’s different is probably the fact that the rushing yardage drops off in losses, but in that case Kittley is probably trying to throw the ball to try to catch up, but that also means that the opponent is also pretty good. The other takeaway is that I like the fact that the offense is what you think it is, especially at Western Kentucky where Kittley and Bailey Zappe were probably so in tune with each other that the efficiency was going to be really good. McGuire mentioned in a recent interview that one of the things that made him want to hire Kittley is that Kittley took a high school approach to the offense, that he was happy to take the personnel and tailor the offense to the personnel rather than trying to make players fit into particular roles.
Kittley has usable tight ends and very good running backs and to only go 4-wide on offense wouldn’t be utilizing all of the talent that’s available. That’s good news.