Offensive Playcalling

Offensive Playcalling

Submitted by Mr. Yost on September 18th, 2011 at 5:47 PM

I know this may not be a popular thought. I know plenty of people will thing "who cares? we won the game!"


However, I just rewatched the EMU game and haven't been more upset at the offensive playcalling, especially in a blowout win in...well, maybe in my lifetime.


I was critical of Borges after the ND game, saying that he has not called plays to get Denard in a rhythm all season. Particularly early in the game. He's been BRILLIANT at figuring out the defense and calling plays later in games. I think the numbers prove this thought.


Now I'm going to discredit any plays called inside your own 5 yardline, there is only so much you can do there. But where are the quick slants? the bubble screens? the short rhythm throws to get the QB in sync and the WRs involved. Where are the throws that Oklahoma have been making a living off of for YEARS?! Now do we run that offense or have that personnel? Heck no. But that doesn't mean you can't run some of the same plays.


To me it just seems so obvious because it's two-fold. Not only do you get Denard and the WRs involved and in also loosen up the middle of the defense so that your RBs get more space to operate (or Denard in the run game). As much of a genius as Borges is claimed to be, what is the reasoning for not doing this?


The most frustrating drive for me was actually our first touchdown drive. Denard has a beautiful long run to flip field position, and then we run him like 5-6 times in the next 6-7 plays!  #1 let the kid get a breather, #2 don't get the kid hurt, #3 get others involved, #4 this is EMU! why are we wearing down our QB vs. EMU!? and #5 they have 8 guys in the box!


So I ask, was anyone else disappointed and frustrated? Was anyone else hoping to establish a short passing game against EMU and SDSU that we could combine with the deep throws from ND? I'm not saying we need to be the Air Raid offense, I would've just liked to have seen Denard get the "Lloyd Carr - he's a freshman QB treatment" and have a bunch of short throws that gets the ball in the hands of the playmakers and allows them to get involved and make plays early.

Run Affinity: An Analysis - The Basics (Thru Purdue)

Run Affinity: An Analysis - The Basics (Thru Purdue)

Submitted by Noleverine on November 20th, 2010 at 2:43 AM

So, I had some spare time at work and decided to look into something that I have been wondering for a while: does it seem like Rich Rod sticks to the run too much, even in games where we are losing?  At this point I’m sure you all know RR likes to run the ball—duh.  But how often, exactly, does he run the ball?

This analysis is just a basic overview of my dataset.  I will follow up with more in-depth looks at point margins and down and distance, but I thought you all might be interested to see basic percentages for our offense through Purdue.  If anyone has anything specific regarding playcalling vs. score margin vs. down and distance, let me know and I will see what I can do.

A few notes and stipulations on the dataset: 

1.) All data is taken from Brian’s UFRs for games this season. 

2.) Analysis stopped at end of UFR, so if Brian didn’t include it in his UFR (i.e. blowouts), it is not in my analysis.  If Brian doesn’t think its worth looking at, well, neither do I.

3.) Plays in which either team got a penalty are included ONLY IF the ball was snapped, since if it didn’t, we can’t know what play was called.

4.) Every snap weighted the same regardless of time left in half/game, because my thought process, we are almost as likely to run the ball in a 2 minute drill as the rest of the game (almost, though not quite).

5.)2 pt. conversions left out.

Disclaimer: 4th down numbers are not very accurate due to low sample size.

Now, for a chart:


  Run Pass % Run
1st Down 230 103 69.1%
2nd Down 150 108 58.1%
3rd Down 44 92 32.4%
4th Down 6 7 46.2%
Total 430 310 58.1%

A few things here are obvious.  First, RR likes to run on 1st down (69.1% of the time).  His affinity for running decreases every down, with the exception of 4th down.  Most of the runs on 4th down are 4th and short, and the passes 4th and long.

Next, we will take a look at the distribution when the game is tied:

Tie Game
  Run Pass % Run
1st Down 51 21 70.8%
2nd Down 33 18 64.7%
3rd Down 8 16 33.3%
4th Down 1 2 33.3%
Total 93 57 62.0%

What we see here is that RR is more likely to run the ball on every down when the game is tied than his average, except fourth down.  

Now, we look at when we are winning the game:

Winning Game
  Run Pass % Run
1st Down 115 31 78.8%
2nd Down 78 43 64.5%
3rd Down 23 45 33.8%
4th Down 2 1 66.7%
Total 218 120 64.5%

So, RR is more likely to run when we are winning, though not to a statistically significant level except on 1st down.

And when we are losing:

Losing Game
  Run Pass % Run
1st Down 50 51 49.5%
2nd Down 39 47 45.3%
3rd Down 11 31 26.2%
4th Down 3 4 42.9%
Total 103 133 43.6%

So, RR is much less likely to run on all downs (except 4th) when we are losing.  

This data all flushes out pretty much as expected, but I thought I'd share anyway.  In the next edition, I will analyze run-calling affinity per down based on score margin.  Stay tuned, folks for all upcoming editions of 2010 Playcalling so far: An Analysis.

P.S. If anyone is interested in seeing my whole dataset for validation or to do your own analysis, please leave a comment/message me (can you message people on here?) and I will be pleased to share!

EDIT: Title and Tags edited to be more informative