Interesting pass defense numbers vs La Tech

Paul Rhoads said something I thought was interesting Tuesday night. He talked about how the pass defense actually wound up being pretty solid and referenced how he liked the average yards per pass allowed.

“The yards per attempt that we gave up in that game were really good numbers. I think people maybe lose sight of that.”

That was his quote, so that made me curious about what a good yards per pass average was.

For the game, La Tech averaged 6.8 yards per attempt. That number is lower than the one given up by Arkansas’ 2014 defense (6.9), which was obviously a really good unit, but still ranked eighth in the SEC in opponent yards per attempt.

The interesting thing was separating the first three quarters from the fourth. Obviously they struggled to limit La Tech up until the fourth, when they turned it on defensively for the drive and a half they were out there.

The first three quarters, La Tech averaged 7.9 yards per pass. For reference, Arkansas’ defense gave up 8.2 last year, which was last in the SEC by almost a full yard. In fact, 7.9 would’ve been last, last year, too.

The final quarter, just 2.3 (14 yards on six attempts). Will be interesting to see if they can bottle the way they played in the fourth, even though it was a small sample size. They didn’t play press with Collins the last 19 snaps, while Pulley (playing boundary at this point) pressed twice on the final drive and the game on the line. I did think La Tech got away from the quick game a bit late, but the flip side of that is it scores a go-ahead TD to answer right back if J’Mar Smith hits his WR in stride, because he’d beaten DeAndre Coley deep.

After a week, 6.8 yards per attempt is tied for seventh in the SEC, which is about on line with where the 2014 defense was, even though you obviously have to take into account the better competition they’ll face. Just some interesting research I did. South Carolina ranked No. 1 after week one, allowing just 3.2. Kentucky was last at 9.2. SC, Bama, Georgia and Tennessee were the only teams less than 6.

Good information, Jimmy.

That’s the problem with averages. They can tell you some things, but often not nearly enough & in fact can be misleading. I’m not sure our D played badly if we take away the 3rd Qtr, but of course we can’t take away the 3rd Qtr.

TCU averaged around 8yds against South Dakota St.

What I do know is that Todd Fitch had his 2nd string RS Freshman playing pretty well. Fitch saw mismatches and gave Robb Smith fits in the first 3 qtrs.

Now lets see what Cumbie and Meacham come up with. IMO I think they will test us early on the outside. They will see what kind of matchup they have on the outside with Taj Williams vs Collins.

For comparison’s sake, TCU’s pass defense gave up 10.7 per completion to South Dakota State.

The odds of Smith hitting a long pass were not high. Not accurate on those yet. Even if the receiver had been running by himself, not much of a chance of hooking up. How the defense plays is influenced by how dangerous the deep threat is.

One would expect TCU to test the Hogs deep, more than a few times. Then we will have a better idea of how acceptable the pass defense is.

Against a spread passing offense, Arkansas getting low-60s completion % and under 7 yards allowed per pass attempt + adding some sacks certainly satisfied me. Can’t complain about 20 points (though it could/should have been 23 or 26).

That’s not a direct comparison is it? I think we were talking about yards per pass attempt.

I meant attempt, but typed something else. TCU gave up 10.7 per attempt. It gave up 17.5 per completion.

Our Def front will have more time to get after the QB if TCU tries to go vertical/downfield more. This is real chess match this week.

I figured out in 1970 that yards per attempt (not per completion) was the single best indicator (if only ONE number was used to judge) of passing effectiveness. Not pass completion percentage Not number of TD passes - or interceptions. Or total yards passed for, or per game.

Yards per attempt (YPA).

1970 was a season that had several top notch QB’s competing for National honors (Jim Plunkett, Archie Manning, Joe Theismann, Bill Montgomery, Pat Sullivan. Some passed a lot more than others (though no one passed as much as many do these days!). But NCAA statistics simply ranked Passers by yardage per game; there was no qualitative aspect to the ranking. I learned by looking at that group that anything north of 8 yards per attempt was pretty doggone good. The numbers have fluctuated a bit over the years, with the various “West coast” and “Spread” offenses that emphasize the passing game, but a YPA of 8 is still a pretty good standard to watch for.

Obviously, a combination of all the statistics mentioned above give a better analysis than any one, or two. And that’s why today, both the college and NFL “Passing efficiency” statistic use several of them. But when you’re watching a game, it’s relatively easy to track the yards per attempt if you’ve got any mind at all of numbers. TV and stadium scoreboards (not to mention the various apps most look at on their phones even during games) keep up with passes attempted/completed and yards thrown for during a game.

Some will argue that percentage complete or yards per completion are better stats, but the beauty of yards per attempt is that it factors BOTH of these into one statistic. All things being equal (i.e, if all passes are completed for the same distance), the more of them you complete (passing percentage), the more yardage you will pass for and, therefore, the higher YPA will be. On the other hand, if everyone completes the same percentage of their passes, the one whose average completion is longer will gain more yards and, again, have a higher YPA.

I did not think that the Hog defense was playing poorly as the game evolved. I was very concerned about the offensive execution. Still am. But, I really liked the LaTech QB. I wish he were our #2. I very much prefer his game.

One thing that concerns me is that last year we seemed to make every spread QB we faced look like an All-American. That LaTech QB did, too. How much of that was our D?

Still, the bottom line number is LaTech only scored 20 points & 14 of those were off turnovers (though not deep in our territory TO’s.) I guess I’m still unsure about the D. Maybe it’s markedly better than last year & maybe it’s not. I just can’t tell yet.