FanPost

Bill and Ted's Excellent Defense

[Effort + Stats + Photoshop = Bump. -CG]

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If I asked you to describe Penn State football in five words or phrases, you’d probably use Linebacker U and/or defense somewhere in there. Amiright?

Of course I am. That’s rhetoric – keep reading.

How about a Ted Roof defense? According to Ted, you should use the phrase "mul-tuh-plee" aggressive. That sounds really cool. I get visions of multiple fronts, corner blitzes, zone blitzes – awesome stuff that I remember seeing in spurts throughout the 1980’s. (In honor of Joe, I’ll point out that he probably ran a variation of all of those things at Brooklyn Prep in the 40’s. There is nothing new anymore.)

But "mul-tuh-plee" aggressive represents significant change from 4-3 cover-3 on 1st and 2nd downs (and 4-2 quarters on 3rd and long) – and change scares me. So I looked to some numbers for comfort. Maybe statistics could alleviate my fears.

They didn’t, actually. But something else did.

Before I get to that, though, I should warn you that what follows is mostly a nerdy statistical "analysis" of defense. Stats by themselves are far from a complete picture. There are a couple of less quantifiable (by me) attributes that are simply taken for granted at Dear Old State that would drive me nuts if/when they are/were lacking. Chief among those is solid tackling and minimal blown assignments. And it’s the little things, too. You rarely see one of our linebackers take on a block with the wrong shoulder. That’s Joe’s "smart" aspect.

And to use just one example of Joe’s "tough" aspect, you didn’t play corner for PSU if you didn’t tackle in run defense. I can’t think of one PSU corner in the last three decades that didn’t tackle on the edge.

I get all of that. But since I can’t speak with Ted directly, or watch game film of 2008 Minnesota, I can’t really comment on those aspects. Besides, I'm not even a wanna-be hack blogger. I'm a wanna-be, wanna-be hack blogger. You get the idea. So, with that out of the way, let’s get our nerd on.

Before I could judge Ted’s past defenses, I needed to establish a scale. What represents "good" versus "mediocre"?

Thanks in no small part to cfbstats.com, I pulled the following figures together for our Nittany Lions – and O$U Buckeyes, and Meeshegan Wolverines, and Ted – over the last couple of years.

Why those? Hell if I know. Actually, I started with PSU. And like Forrest Gump, I got to the end of PSU and said, "well, I’ve come this far, I might as well try O$U. And when I got there I said, well, I might as well try Meeshegan for a good laugh at RichRod."

And there’s your justification.

Without further ado…..

Hey – turnovers are a big deal. Mul-tuh-plee aggressive should cause confusion. Confusion should lead to mistakes. And no mistake is bigger than a turnover. What do the last 5 years tell us about turnovers:

Turnovers Forced

PSU

Roof

OSU

MI

2011

26

23

20

29

2010

17

22

30

19

2009

23

25

35

16

2008

24

31

29

20

2007

28

18

19

29

Average

23.6

23.8

26.6

22.6

[Ted's 07 was as Head Coach of Duke. 08 as DC of Minnesota. And 09 - 11 as DC of Auburn.]


First, the 2007 Duke Blue Devils went 1 - 12. And they still had more turnovers than Rich Rod in his last year - LOL. But taken in aggregate, Ted's results fall right in line with PSU's over the same period. Hard to believe Goldy got 31 balls in 2008 - their last winning season, by the way.

Oh I know - sacks. Blitzes. Disguised blitzes. No wait - overload rushes. We'll see something there, right?

SACKS

PSU

Roof

OSU

MI

2011

31

22

23

30

2010

17

35

22

18

2009

37

28

31

21

2008

33

33

27

29

2007

46

25

42

32

Average

32.8

28.6

29

26

That 17 of ours two seasons ago really sticks out, doesn't it? And so does the 46 in 2007. Ted's worst year getting after the QB was his last at Auburn. But even his 07 Dukies planted the QB 25 times. And that 33 in 2008 for Minnesota followed their 11 in 2007 (before Ted), and preceded their 22 in 2009 and an historically horrendous 8

- eight -

in 2010 (both post-Ted). Good for you, Ted, for getting out of that dump after just 1 year.

How about the Sack's big brother, Tackle For Loss?

TFL

PSU

Roof

OSU

MI

2011

84

74

66

72

2010

71

99

73

70

2009

105

77

79

83

2008

81

87

76

77

2007

102

85

100.5

91

Average

88.6

84.4

78.9

78.6

Sophomore Maurice Evans, he of the 5* variety, had 21.5 tackles for loss in 2007. Wish he hadn't gotten in trouble in 08 and then gone pro early (Still had 17.0 this year for comparison). Oh yeah, about Ted. He's right in line with PSU, and ahead of both O$U and crap-tastic Michigan.

At this point I was feeling pretty good. Turnovers, sacks, tackles for loss - Ted's keeping pace with PSU despite coaching at Duke, Minnesota, and with Gene Chizik. I'm impressed.

And then I was less impressed......

Rush Yards per Att

PSU

Roof

OSU

MI

2011

3.60

4.63

3.84

3.99

2010

4.46

3.41

3.10

4.43

2009

2.85

4.12

2.88

4.35

2008

2.82

4.07

3.53

3.56

2007

2.71

4.29

2.53

4.04

Average

3.29

4.10

3.18

4.07

....and less impressed.......

Pass Yds per Game

PSU

Roof

OSU

MI

2011

190.6

218.7

182.0

190.5

2010

181.2

259.3

165.5

261.8

2009

184.6

218.0

171.5

221.4

2008

186.8

240.3

183.5

230.0

2007

214.5

244.1

150.2

178.8

Average

191.5

236.1

170.5

216.5

.....and......(sigh).........

Points Per Game

PSU

Roof

OSU

MI

2011

16.8

28.9

21

17.4

2010

23.7

24.1

14.3

35.2

2009

12.2

27.5

12.5

27.5

2008

14.4

24.8

13.9

28.9

2007

17.5

33.2

12.8

21.4

Average

16.9

27.7

14.9

26.1

Not even Rich Rod could cheer me up with this last figure.

-LOL! Just kidding! Of course he can! Good Lord above, did Michigan royally suck in those years. I miss you Rich Rod!!!!

So besides Rich Rod, what else cheered me up about Ted's defense? Well, here are Ted's top 3 tackle-for-loss leaders in each of the 5 defensive years profiled:

For the 2007 Duke Blue Devils: Tauiliili, Oghobaase, and Rey. (I'm not making this up.)

For the 2008 Minnesota Golden Gophers: VanDeSteeg, Lawrence, Hightower. (...I don't know....)

For the 2009 Auburn War Eagle Tigers: Coleman, Stevens, Blanc (....still nothing.....)

2010 Auburn: Fairley (ding-ding-ding!), Carter, Clayton (sorry, no).

And 2011 Auburn: Lemonier, Freeman, Bates.

Lemonier is a sophomore, and everyone's heard of Fairley. Of the others on this list, you have three current NFL practice squad guys, and - ah, that's it. That's all.

Compare that to PSU's top 3 TFL leaders:

2007: Evans, Connor, Lee

2008: Maybin, Bowman, Odrick

2009: Bowman, Crawford, Odrick (getting held and doubled, all season long).

2010: Still, Ogbu, Colasanti

2011: Still, Hodges, Hill

Three 1st round picks (including Still), 2-2nds, a 3rd.....and you get Evans, Ogbu, Crawford, Hodges and Hill at no extra charge, just for reading this fan post.

Or in other words, I'm excited instead of nervous because players make plays. They can also make a smart coach dumb, and a dumb coach smart at this level, in my opinion. And Ted hasn't had too many studs in the last five years, as far as I can tell.

So dial up crazy, Ted. You'll have the best talent you've had in at least the last five years. If you can get 33 sacks and force 31 turnovers out of guys named VanDeSteeg, Lawrence, and Hightower in the BigTen in your first (and only) year as DC of the freaking Gophers........let's see what you can do with Hill, Hodges, Mauti, Carson, Fortt, Hull, Stanley, Amos, Morris.....

PS - you're gonna really like the Hill kid.


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