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.