Texas Tech Football Offseason Theorems | Explosive Passing Plays Relative to Field Position

AUSTIN, TX - NOVEMBER 5: Wide receiver Darrin Moore #14 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders hauls in a fourth quarter touchdown pass against cornerback Leroy Scott #31 of the Texas Longhorns on November 5, 2011 at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas. Texas beat Texas Tech 52-20. (Photo by Erich Schlegel/Getty Images)
Previous Texas Tech Football Offseason Theorems
* All Players Need to Contribute | Finding a Tight End and Utilizing Roster Spots
* Do Not Expect a True Freshman to Make an Immediate Impact | Reworking the Defensive Line
* Dynamic Offensive Playmakers Make a Difference, Part I
* Dynamic Offensive Playmakers Make a Difference, Part II
* Texas Tech Football Offseason Theorems | Production Rate of the Texas Tech Defense
* Production Rate of the Big 12 Defenses

The offseason is filled with questions, especially this year. Rather than ask those questions and not offer any solutions, I thought it would be interesting to offer theorems, i.e. all right angles are congruent, and you tell me if you think they're true or not. Here are your previous Texas Tech Football Offseason Theorems.

This may not be particularly relevant to anyone, but when you write, sometimes you happen upon an idea, do the research and then you have to determine if it's worth it. This is one of those times. One of the biggest complaints about OC Neal Brown's offense was that it was lacking the punch that Leach's offense did. I've always somewhat struggled to figure out exactly how to either prove or disprove that other than to check out the yards per attempt for passes. Then I started thinking that CFBStats (please click on the link, the information they provided is invaluable and could not have done this without their data, so please click) that they did have some data on plays of 15 yards and 25 yards or more and broke it down for every 20 yards. See an example for Texas Tech for 2011.

I should also clarify that I'm not a math wiz nor am I a math major. Math is not my strong suit. Anyway, I became curious as to how many explosive plays, and I'm counting both the 15 yard and 25 yard gains as explosive plays, Texas Tech had in comparison to previous years. I also want to clarify that this isn't about comparing Neal Brown to Leach, or at least it's not for me, but I know that the comparison is inevitable. I wanted to verify if what I thought was true, which was if the offense was less explosive. I also wanted to know what was the touchdown to interception ratio was for each of these instances. Full disclosure, I know that the math doesn't quite work out if there are no interceptions or no touchdowns, but you have to just go with me on this and know that I'm doing the best I know how, i.e. zero divided by any number is zero. If anyone can come up with a better method, let me know. Seth no good at math.

The other part is that I've been wanting to quantify what people have thought, that the offense just isn't as explosive, but as stated above, wasn't sure how to do that. I think I've done that here. In fact, I recall (I'm not going to look for the link, you'll just have to trust me) that QB Seth Doege said during the spring before the 2011 season that he and OC Brown were looking to be more explosive and wanted to stretch the defense by getting the ball down the field. Doege wasn't awful, but he wasn't great either, and as the year progressed, Doege's yards per attempt decreased dramatically. Yards per attempt is one of the more important statistics for a passing team like Texas Tech, but I wanted to dig a little deeper and because CFBStats provides some additional data for every twenty yards, it would be interesting to take a look what I found.

So here we go, here's the data with commentary after each table.

Own 1 To 20 Yd Ln

Year G Att Comp Pct. Yards TD Int Rating Long 1st 15+ 25+ EP % TD | INT
2011 12 60 46 76.70 419 0 1 132.00 49 17 6 1 11.67% (1.00)
2010 13 73 49 67.10 453 0 0 119.24 30 16 7 2 12.33% -
2009 11 68 45 66.20 576 0 4 125.58 79 24 14 3 25.00% (4.00)
2008 12 60 44 73.30 666 1 0 172.07 82 21 14 5 31.67% 1.00

I decided to use the past four years because I wanted a year where the offense was at an all-time high with Graham Harrell and Michael Crabtree. I wanted to see that for my own sake and for comparison purposes. In just about every metric, you're going to be able to assume that the 2008 offense was better because there were some special players on that team. Anyway, when Texas Tech is starting inside its own 20, the difference between the two offenses is fairly dramatic in terms of the big plays. Obviously, you don't expect to score touchdowns inside your own 20, but there were significantly more big plays here in 2008 - 2009 than in 2010 -2011. This is a dramatic difference and maybe not at all surprising that the offense becomes very conservative when the ball in within Texas Tech's own 20 yard line. The number of attempts or completion percentage didn't change all that much, but there were less yards and fewer explosive plays and the difference, for me, is dramatic.

More after the jump.

Own 21 To 39 Yd Ln

Year G Att Comp Pct. Yards TD Int Rating Long 1st 15+ 25+ EP % TD | INT
2011 12 182 124 68.10 1210 0 6 117.38 48 60 21 6 14.84% (6.00)
2010 13 182 122 67.00 1237 0 5 118.63 54 60 25 8 18.13% (5.00)
2009 13 170 126 74.10 1476 3 1 151.69 72 59 31 10 24.12% 3.00
2008 13 151 110 72.80 1302 0 8 134.68 56 54 33 11 29.14% (8.00)

Again, fairly dramatic right? It wasn't so bad in 2010. The actual number of explosive plays isn't that different, but the difference here is the number of passing attempts, which is strangely higher in 2011 and 2010. I don't know why, but it's surprising to me to maybe see more running plays from Leach than Brown, but Brown called more pass attempts on this part of the field by a fairly wide margin. Still, Leach's offense was more explosive by more than a handful of plays each year. The disturbing things for both Doege and Potts/Sheffield are the interceptions, although with Harrell having 8 interceptions in 2008, maybe it shouldn't be all of that big of a surprise. Maybe both offenses are taught in that if you're going to take a chance, take a chance in this part of the field. I wish I knew whether those interceptions were passes 20 or 30 yards down the field or on screens or out patterns.

Own 40 To Opp 40 Yd Ln

Year G Att Comp Pct. Yards TD Int Rating Long 1st 15+ 25+ EP % TD | INT
2011 12 169 122 72.20 1446 5 0 153.82 56 62 29 13 24.85% 5.00
2010 13 154 96 62.30 1102 1 1 123.29 55 54 23 7 19.48% 1.00
2009 13 182 123 67.60 1439 3 3 136.14 56 69 36 10 25.27% 1.00
2008 13 175 124 70.90 1557 4 1 151.99 55 68 37 16 30.29% 4.00

So 2011 was pretty much on pace with 2009 in terms of explosive plays, and I think it's safe to say that this may be where Doege is the most comfortable on the field. Doege rivals Harrell's completion percentage and has one more touchdown. So overall, this is pretty much on pace with what I would expect, while it is also interesting to see the disparity in the two years that Potts/Sheffield had in 2009 and 2010.

Opp 39 To 21 Yd Ln

Year G Att Comp Pct. Yards TD Int Rating Long 1st 15+ 25+ EP % TD | INT
2011 11 113 68 60.20 715 4 1 123.24 34 38 17 6 20.35% 4.00
2010 13 122 84 68.90 920 5 2 142.43 35 42 23 8 25.41% 2.50
2009 13 161 97 60.20 1157 13 5 141.05 34 64 25 9 21.12% 2.60
2008 13 155 111 71.60 1297 8 0 158.93 35 67 30 9 25.16% 8.00

Pretty even? Well, everything except for the fact that Harrell was significantly more proficient here with his 8 touchdowns and no interceptions, and it doesn't hurt to have Crabtree that can put significant pressure on opposing defenses on this end of the field. Things are starting to get a little tight for the offense. The other interesting thing is the high number of touchdowns that Potts/Sheffield had in 2009. The biggest problem for me is the drop in completion percentage for Doege as hovering around 60% in this part of the field where you're almost in scoring position. The explosive plays need to be better for Doege here as well.

Opp 20 To 1 Yd Ln (RZ)

Year G Att Comp Pct. Yards TD Int Rating Long 1st 15+ 25+ EP % TD | INT
2011 11 76 49 64.50 355 22 2 193.98 20 15 6 0 7.89% 11.00
2010 13 86 55 64.00 434 33 3 225.99 20 24 9 0 10.47% 11.00
2009 13 88 57 64.80 380 19 4 163.20 20 22 3 0 3.41% 4.75
2008 13 121 76 62.80 549 34 1 192.00 18 26 8 0 6.61% 34.00

So we're not expecting a high number of explosive plays because of the short field, but the biggest problem for Doege and in 2009, were the touchdowns in the redzone. It's someone scary to think how automatic Harrell was with Crabtree and Potts was pretty darned good in 2010 with Lyle Leong. I wonder if Doege is going to have that sort of compliment receiver this year, if its going to be Eric Ward, Marcus Kennard or Javon Bell or Jace Amaro or Darrin Moore? Not sure at this point, but think about how much easier a quarterback's job is if he has a receiver that is either more physically dominant that the defense or is more athletically gifted and can go up and get touchdowns like Crabtree and Leong. Is there a guy like that on the roster right now and is that the difference in the offense?

Conclusion

Well, I'd love for you to draw some of your own conclusions. And in case you are curious, I'm working on the rushing numbers and will hopefully have those next week. My conclusion is that the offense isn't as explosive as it was in 2008 and 2009 and I don't think it's that close. I think that maybe this has to be the biggest goal for the offense this year. Big plays stretch defenses, whether it's a running play or passing play. It makes a difference for the offense and is tougher to defend. After we take a look at the rushing numbers, I want to take a look at the personnel and how it can maybe help the situation, but this has to be the biggest area of improvement for the offense.

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