FanPost

Hurry Up Defense (Part 4)

We’ve looked at offense and defense “per possession.” Now, let’s look at overall production (offense + defense) to gauge how well the offensive philosophy change is working to make Clemson a better football team overall.

There is a lot of information here so feel free to read this in increments.

We saw in part 1, how teams that run offensive plays at the rate we do typically have defenses in the bottom half of the national rankings. The thought process here is that it’s ok to adapt an offensive philosophy that diminishes defensive performance as long as the offensive gains out-weight the defensive losses.

Unfortunately, it is difficult to assign a clear value as to what those defensive losses should be. It’s even more difficult to separate philosophy, depth, talent, and scheme issues to come up with a quantitative value of where we should be. What we know is that at Clemson there is about a 6% difference in “per possession” production between getting a raise and getting fired as a defensive coordinator.

Now we’re looking at the combined level of “per possession” effectiveness to gauge how much more effective The Tigers have become as a team.

Let’s combine the offensive and defensive numbers from part 2 and 3 and gauge the improvement level. OAR is the offensive and defensive ranks averaged together which helps cancel out some of the “over-achievement by conference” on one side.

Clemson 2009-2011

Offense

2009, Score Rate 40.00%, TD 27.65%

2010, Score Rate 31.65%, TD 22.78%

2011, Score Rate 41.40%, TD 29.57%

Defense

2009, Stop Rate 73.14%, Gave Up TD 16.00%

2010, Stop Rate 70.89%, Gave Up TD 16.46%

2011, Stop Rate 64.64%, Gave Up TD 25.97%

Overall, (Score Rate + Stop Rate)

2009, Clemson was 113.14% OAR 53.0, OAR 53.0

2010, Clemson was 102.54% OAR 52.8, OAR 52.8, Dropped 10.60%

2011, Clemson was 106.04% OAR 54.5, OAR 54.5, Improved 3.50%

Clemson improved 3.50% overall per possession.

In Morris’ first year, Clemson improved 9.75% in “score rate” and dropped 6.25% in “stop rate” to end up at an increase of 3.50% in “overall production per possession” in games this season. Therefore, Clemson was more effective “per possession” in 2011 than in 2010.

Clemson is a better team after the switch to Morris’ offensive philosophy. However, on a per possession basis, we were more effective as a team in 2009. The major difference in perception between 2009 and 2011 stems from, of course, the ACC championship game performance.

My opinion is that Special Teams, and more importantly, the fear of C.J. Spiller as a kick returner played a big part in 2009. I believe we also had much better talent and depth on defense in ’09 than we did this past year.

In comparing 2010 to 2011…Remember, in 2010, four of Clemson’s 7 losses were by 6 points or less and a 5th game, Miami, involved a late redzone “4th and 1” we failed to convert when we were down 6.

In 2011, we had four losses by an average of 24 points (there’s your “high risk offensive philosophy” showing up).

So basically, we had 5 one possession losses in 2010 and in 2011 won four more games.

It makes a lot of sense that the difference between our 6-7 2010 season and our 10-4 2011 season was about a 3.5% upwards swing in “overall production per possession.” That works out to be about 0.75 more successful possessions (offensive score or defensive stop) per game.

To put that in perspective, the Cam Newton Auburn team improved 14.23% per possession to go from 8-5 to 14-0 in 2010. That worked out to be an average of 3.2 more successful possessions (scores or stops) per game (against a tougher schedule). That’s just a little something to think about if you envision Clemson competing at that level.

In fact, let’s examine Auburn with Malzahn:

Auburn Overall, (Scoring Drive % + Defensive Stop %)

In 2008, 152 drives, Auburn was (19.33% + 75.66%) 94.99%, OAR 55.1

In 2009, 169 drives, Auburn was (40.51% + 65.09%) 105.60%, OAR 50.0

In 2010, 161 drives, Auburn was (53.37% + 66.46%) 119.83%, OAR 43.7

In 2011, 152 drives, Auburn was (32.89% + 61.69%) 94.58%, OAR 47.3

In Malzahn’s first year at Auburn, Auburn improved 21.18 in score rate and dropped 10.57 is stop rate to end up at an increase of 10.71% overall production increase per possession. You can see that the Malzahn system had a more drastic effect on both sides of the ball than we did, but it worked to a greater advantage for Auburn.

Auburn gained 7.32% more production per possession than Clemson gained in their first year but the two teams finished with about the same level of overall production (106.04 Clemson/ 105.60 Auburn) in their first season in the HUNH offense.

Next, because I figure some people would want to see it, let’s look at Bowden vs. Dabo “Overall per possession.”

Overall, (TD or FG + Stops)

Bowden:

Clemson was 119.27% in 2006, OAR 66.5

Clemson was 117.09% in 2007, OAR 58.2

Clemson was 98.74% in 2008, OAR 54.3

Dabo:

Clemson was 113.14% in 2009, OAR 53.0

Clemson was 102.54% in 2010, OAR 52.8

Clemson was 106.04% in 2011, OAR 54.5

Whoa whoa whoa, pump them brakes.

You have to remind yourself that the competition level in the Dabo years is higher and accounts for much of that difference.

The 2006 and 2007 schedule featured the likes of Temple and Central Michigan instead of Alabama, TCU, or Auburn. You also have to take into account that South Carolina and Georgia Tech are improved programs since 06, 07.

Then, throw in a second game against Ga. Tech and Va. Tech in two of the years and sprinkle in a West Virginia in a BCS bowl game and these numbers are difficult to compare.

In fact, if you just remove the Temple game from 2006, the overall number drops from 119.27% all the way down to 105.79%. Since we were at 106.04% in 2011, I believe that shows we were better “per possession” under Dabo in 2011 than we were under Bowden in 2006 and 2007.

Now let’s go back to this year and by looking at some teams from 2011 and lumping Clemson in:

Team, (Scoring Drive % + Defensive Stop %) = Overall

Alabama was (50.00% + 89.04%) 139.04%, OAR 55.8

Florida State was (43.14% + 79.11%) 122.25%, OAR 56.0

Oregon was (50.56% + 70.65%) 121.21%, OAR 55.2

South Carolina was (45.83% + 70.86%) 116.69%, OAR 55.1

Clemson was (40.40% + 66.64%) 106.04%, OAR 54.5

Auburn was (32.89% + 61.69%) 94.58%, OAR 47.3

Duke was (30.71% + 56.52%) 87.23%, OAR 52.0

Now, I hear some of you saying, “We speed up the game, though. That creates more possessions, more opportunity, and stretches our advantage out over more possessions.” Yes, that is correct.

The advantage we have “per possession” is carried out more times per game. It gives us more opportunity to eliminate close games against teams that we have an advantage over but it also creates more opportunity for us to be blown out by teams we don’t have an advantage over.

So, let’s show that by factoring in number of “drives per game” to get a “Total Advantage Gained per Game.” This will factor in the HUNH’s speed advantage but, keep in mind, it will also factor in “speed of disposal” defensively by a team like Alabama.

To do this we are going to take “Score Rate” and subtract “Scored on Rate” (the “per possession” rate at which the defense is giving up points) and then multiply that by the number of drives per game. Lets do that and revisit the 2011 teams from above.

Team, (Score Rate – Scored On Rate) = advantage per drive * # of drives = total advantage per game

Alabama was (50.00 – 10.96) = 39.04% * 11.1 = 433.34, OAR 55.8

Oregon was (50.56% - 29.35) = 21.21 * 12.7 = 269.37, OAR 55.2

Florida State was (43.14 - 20.89) = 22.25% * 11.8 = 262.55, OAR 56.0

South Carolina was (45.83% - 29.14) = 16.69 * 11.3 = 188.60, OAR 55.1

Clemson was (40.40% - 33.36) = 7.04% * 13.3 = 93.63, OAR 54.5

Auburn was (32.89% - 38.31%) = -5.42 * 12.2 = -66.12, OAR 47.3

Duke was (30.71% - 43.48) = -12.77 * 11.7 = -149.41, OAR 52.0

You’ll notice that Auburn and Duke here have negative numbers and that the only change in ranking (from “per possession”) is that Oregon’s speed advantage moves them ahead of Florida State.

Credit is being given here for speeding up the game and creating extra drives every game. This is where I wish I had done some more HUNH teams. Again, this shows level of dominance per game against each team’s schedule. A couple of weak teams on your schedule or a couple strong teams could have a large effect on this.

I do believe that this does somewhat show the contrast between intentionally speeding up the game to create more drives and beating the ever living crap out of your opponent to create more drives. You can choose to create more drives but there is no escape from doing the latter in order to win.

I’ll give you Auburn 2010 here as well:

Auburn was (53.37% – 33.54%) = 19.83 * 11.6 = 230.03, OAR 43.7

Remember when comparing these numbers that Auburn created this kind of advantage in arguably the strongest year of the SEC West…ever. You can see how much stronger their schedule was than Alabama’s above. They had four teams in their division that could have won most of the BCS conferences and the #5 team finished ranked 15th. Because Auburn’s number here isn’t as high as “Alabama 2011” doesn’t necessarily mean that they weren’t better.

Lastly, let’s look at Clemson since 2006 in “Total Advantage per Game”

Clemson 2011 was (40.40% - 33.36) = 7.04% * 13.3 = 93.63, OAR 54.5

Clemson 2010 was (31.65% - 29.11%) = 2.54% * 12.2 = 30.99, OAR 52.8

Clemson 2009 was (40.00% - 26.86%) = 13.14% * 12.7 = 166.88, OAR 53.0

Clemson 2008 was (32.91% - 24.68%) = 8.23% * 12.2 = 100.41, OAR 54.3

Clemson 2007 was (42.42% - 25.32%) = 17.1% * 12.2 = 208.62, OAR 58.2

Clemson 2006 was (42.00% - 22.73%) = 19.27% * 11.5 = 221.61, OAR 66.5

Interpreting this isn’t easy because of the schedule differences. One might come to the conclusion that we basically field a similar team in ability every year and that our schedule strength determines our production level. To me, this seems to show that we are beating the crap out of the patsies and when we step it up a notch, we don’t perform well

In part 5 : Snowball Effect and Summary… We’ll put on the “HUNH glasses” and look at a shocking statistic that defies logic and then we’ll examine perhaps the quintessential characteristic of the HUNH…what I like to call the “Snowball Effect.”


These opinions are not necessarily those of the Proprietors of Shakin' The Southland.

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