As I explained in the last post, points per possession I think is the best and most fair way to compare teams as it takes everything into account and boils down to only what’s most important, how many points to they score on average per possession.
A quick, albeit crude, solution to not allowing blowouts and the subsequent 4th quarter backups from skewing the data I just looked at the first 3 quarters of games, ignored possessions that were ended by the halftime whistle, and I ignored games against FCS teams (for obvious reasons).
TCU is averaging 3.077ppp* and giving up an average of 2.188ppp (for a net of +0.889)
OU is averaging 3.308ppp and giving up an average of 1.486ppp (for a net of +1.822)
I think that net ppp rating is the best representative stat of a team that takes into account all the different parts of the game naturally but isn’t skewed by pace. That means that on average for every two possessions (one for each team) in an OU game OU gains an average of 1.822 points over its competition.
* If you don’t take the Kansas game which was affected by all the injuries their ppp gets raised to 3.259ppp.
I’m shocked that stat-keepers aren’t utilizing points per possession! This is the big thing in basketball now, and it’s just as important, if not moreso in college football. Yards and points are not the same team to team because of the vastly different pace teams play at.
Some team may play poorly but have more yards and points than a team who played really well because they had a ton more possessions in the game. The team you are going against also impacts how many possessions you get as does overtime possessions.
You can use yards per play as a pretty good measurement, but this doesn’t take into account special teams, bend but don’t break defenses, 4th down conversions, goal line stands, and most importantly…turnovers.
Points per possession really is the most accurate, and most important stat when comparing teams’ seasons.
I went through OU and Baylor’s seasons and calculated the points per possession for both teams seasons as well as the points per possession against each other.
To keep it quick and simple for the purposes of this exercise I only calculated the first 3 quarters of each game, since both teams had games where they took their foot off the pedal in the last quarter and even put their backups in. This hurt OU a bit in the Tennessee game since their points came mostly in the 4th quarter.
I also ignored the last possession of the first half unless it ended in a score (none did).
In the OU vs BU game…
OU = 3.09 ppp (previously averaging 3.33 ppp)
BU = 2.45 ppp (previously averaging 4.66 ppp)
So Baylor held OU to just 0.24 ppp less than their average while OU held Baylor to a whopping 2.20 ppp less!
To be fair, both OU vs UT games really skewed their average. Without those two games OU averaged 4.03 ppp previous to the Baylor game. That’s only .66 ppp less than Baylor despite a tougher schedule.
Wow! What a change from last season! What happened? How were we able to stop Baylor’s feared passing attack?
Pass Defense Breakdown
1. The emergence of Will Johnson is a literal game-changer! I planned to write about how this was going to be a complete game changer for the Baylor game weeks ago after Will’s first game but didn’t get around to it. If you’ve followed the breakdowns the last couple years then you probably figured it out for yourselves as well. With Will Johnson at nickel, Parker could play one of the safety positions and now what was a weakness now becomes a strength.
With Will, we have 4 db’s on the field that can cover really well and we don’t have the liability of Hatari Byrd in coverage against the team that makes a living taking advantage of safeties covering their slot receivers.
2. Just like I’ve been clamoring for a couple years now, we finally lined up our corners inside of the wideouts to take away the slants and trap the receivers on the sidelines. They love to put their wideouts ridiculously close to the sideline and there’s a reason teams haven’t been doing that all these years, it allows corners to trap the receivers and squeeze them into the sideline forcing a perfect pass.
Jordan Thomas also did a great job forcing Coleman into the sideline. As soon as he started going deep JT sprinted outside as quick as he could, not allowing him to get outside of him without running right into the sideline. That left him vulnerable to a deeper in route, but since they don’t really run that (yet) there wasn’t much to worry about.
Baylor is pretty simple on offense and they don’t have a ton of options, but what they do have is crafted to have an answer for just about anything the defense does. If we can take advantage of this, that will allow us to be much more effective at stopping their high-powered offense.
3. Despite many fans saying we needed to run all out blitzes to stop Baylor (which isn’t true at all), Stoops rarely rushed more than 3 or 4, leaving 7 or 8 in coverage. That was key!
This meant Striker was in coverage much more than he was blitzing, something that would likely have made fans furious had it not worked. But it did.
Having all those LBers lined up off the line of scrimmage allowed them to drop back into zones, and their speed played a big part of that as well. This allowed the corners and safeties to play deeper, although there were plenty of times when db’s played tight coverage at the line.
If your db’s can keep up with the receivers deep without having to play really deep then Baylor’s offense becomes mortal. They lose a huge key to their power.
4. Mike did an excellent job mixing up and disguising his coverages! We played different types of zone and different types of man coverage keeping Briles and their true freshman QB off-balance and unsure who was going to be open.
5. The back 8 did an excellent job in zone coverage. What a huge change from last season! They were very well coached, knowing what Baylor likes to do and exactly where they needed to be to stop the route combinations they like to run! There isn’t much room for error, and we were very precise!
6. Jarret Stidham is not the best at reading coverage and his lack of experience really showed through in this game. He stared down receivers, although that’s kind of the way their offense is run. The backside receivers don’t even run their routes if the QB initially looks the other way, they are taught to save their legs. Because of that, a free safety can just play half the field and majorly cheat to whichever side the QB turns to.
That said, he still had a bad habit of reading one receiver and if he wasn’t open, start scrambling. There’s a lot of similarities to Baker’s limitations the first half of the season. There were even a couple times where he left the pocket despite no reason to.
7. We always seemed to know when they were going to pass or run, but I’ll go into MUCH more detail about that in the running defense breakdown.