QB Play: NOT the Major Problem w/the Offense (statistical support) | TigerDroppings.com

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OBUDan
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Member since Aug 2006
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QB Play: NOT the Major Problem w/the Offense (statistical support)


Alright, I've been a major advocate of this theory sense the season ended, and I will continue to do so.

There are several major reasons for why our offense was a walking disaster last season, but, despite what most believe, QB isn't the major problem.

Could our QB play have been improved? Almost certainly. I'm not claiming Jefferson is an All-American, but for as much clamoring as people make for a game manager they finally get one and everyone thinks he sucks.

So, here's how it lines out. For a simple comparison sake, I compared Jordan Jefferson to Matt Flynn. They play/played under the same OC and HC with some of the same talent (actually talent is a major reason for the downfall - more on this later). I wrote a http://www.tigerdroppings.com/rant/messagetopic.asp?p=17710326 on attrition (which I believe plays a major factor) 3 months ago, that I will tie into this as well.

So the comparison is a natural one being the relative closeness of their careers, playing the same system with the same coaches. The glaring differences are 2: a) talent on the offensive line and b) Flynn was a RS Senior whereas JJ was a true Sophomore.

Furthermore, quality of defenses are similar, with JJ's being slightly more difficult:

Average Total Defense faced in 2009 (YPG) Ranking: 51.5

Average Total Defense faced in 2009 (YPG) Yardage: 345.49

Average Total Defense faced in 2009 (Scoring) Ranking: 52

Average Total Defense faced in 2009 (Scoring) Pts.: 23.02

Average Total Defense faced in 2007 (YPG) Ranking: 46.84

Average Total Defense faced in 2007 (YPG) Total: 359.9

Average Total Defense faced in 2007 (Scoring) Ranking: 45.84

Average Total Defense faced in 2007 (Scoring) Pts.: 24.14


So here is my 4 part argument:

1) JJ's production stats are better on average than Flynn

Flynn: 6.71 Yards per attempt, 56.3 completion %, 125.8 rtg, 17.09 attempts/TD, 32.63 attempts/INT

Jefferson: 7.32 Yards per attempt, 61.5 completion percentage, 137.2 rtg, 17.4 attempts/TD, 42.3 attempts/INT

So here's the major points to glean from these statistics:

a) Jefferson is a more accurate passer.
b) The theory that Flynn's accuracy numbers dipped because he attempted longer passes is bunk (JJ's YPA is nearly a yard longer).
c) Jefferson turns the ball at a lesser rate.
d) They convert passing attempts to TDs a similar rate.

To me, this is evidence enough to suggest that there wasn't a sizable dip in QB play from 2007 and 2009, but others need more.

2) Rushing Game Downfall

In 2007 LSU gained 2,998 yards on the ground running at a 4.9 clip.

In 2009 LSU gained 1,596 yards on the ground running at a 3.7 clip.

So, in short, LSU's running game was half as productive in totality while also averaging over a yard less per rushing attempt.

The 1st major difference between Flynn and JJ is that Flynn had a tremendous rush game to bail him out of situations/forward the offense.

3) 3rd Down Statistics

Now, I've thrown the above arguments out before, and I usually get a response of "Well, Flynn just knew how to make plays when it counted" or something along those lines.

Well, to challenge this notion I began to review 3rd down conversions from both the 2007 and 2009 team. The results are fairly shocking, as you can see from my porous spreadsheet.



This post was edited on 4/20 at 7:20 pm



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OBUDan
LSU Fan
Chicago
Member since Aug 2006
40330 posts

re: QB Play: NOT the Major Problem w/the Offense (statistical support)


So in brief summary:

2007: 80/175, 45.7% total 3rd down conversions played by Flynn
2009: 58/145, 40.0% total 3rd down conversions played by Jefferson

Obviously a drop in both number of attempts and conversion rate. Not a huge difference though (we're talking 7 or 8 conversions).

2007: 39/58, 67.2% in conversions on 3rd and 4 or less
2009: 28/49, 57.14% in conversions on 3rd and 4 or less

Again a drop in both attempts and conversion rate. Once again, a bigger difference this time but still not major.

2007: 4/17, 23.50% in conversions on 3rd and 4 or less in passing attempts
2009: 5/14, 35.71% in conversions on 3rd and 4 or less in passing attempts

So Jefferson was actually better than Flynn in converting 3rd and short passing situations.

Now, the craziness:
2007: 35/41, 85% in conversions on 3rd and 4 or less in rushing attempts
2009: 23/35, 65.71% in conversions on 3rd and 4 or less in rushing attempts

Damn. A 20 percent drop in rushing conversions. That's truly unbelievable. Remember those 7-8 conversions I was talking about earlier? If we convert 8 more 3rd and 4 or less RUSHING ATTEMPTS this season, that's 7 or 8 extended drives and an 88% conversion rate (similar to 2007).

To go further:

2007: 41/117, 35.04% in conversions on 3rd and 5 or more.
2009: 30/96, 31.25% in conversions on 3rd and 5 or more.

Not a major change...

2007: 35/98, 35.70% in conversions on 3rd and 5 or more in passing attempts.
2009: 24/76, 31.57% in conversions on 3rd and 5 or more in passing attempts.

Again, not much difference between the two.

2007: 6/19, 31.50% in conversions on 3rd and 5 or more in rushing attempts.
2009: 6/20, 30.00% in conversions on 3rd and 5 or more in rushing attempts.

Totally negligible difference.

So, what do we glean from these statistics?

a) Flynn is better (albeit only slightly) than JJ in converting 3rd and 5 or more in passing attempts.
b) JJ is better than Flynn in converting 3rd and 4 or less in passing attempts.
c) LSU's run game in 2007 was only stopped on 3rd down and short 15% of the time. LSU's run game in 2009 was stopped on 3rd down and short 35% of the time.
d) LSU ran 771 total plays in 2009. In 2007 they ran 1054. Our opponents ran nearly 200 more plays than us last season. This is partially the fault of the defense. It also illustrates the inability of the offense to pick up 1st downs and keep drives alive.

To me, this plainly illustrates that the major drop off in the offense occurred in the rushing attack, not the passing attack.

The stats back up that JJ performed either better, just as well or slightly worse than Flynn from a purely performance standpoint. So why then should the downfall of the offense be blamed on "poor QB play?"

4) Attrition

You can refer to the other post linked above for the finer points, but this, in my opinion is the major reason for our downfall.

Last year's team had a Senior class from the 2005 recruiting class. OF that class you had Lyle Hitt and Ciron Black as OL starters. Both underachieved this season, and Hitt shouldn't have been on the field (coaching mistake).

From the 2006 class that should be redshirt juniors/true seniors you lost: Matt Allen, Steven Singleton, Zhamal Thomas, and Mark Snyder to attrition. Singleton and Thomas will be starters this year for rival SEC teams (South Carolina and Arkansas respectively). Snyder and Allen didn't work out, but that happens. The other two were lost for disciplinary reasons. Could a 6'3 296 lb(Singleton) and a 6'5, 343 lb. not have helped last season when we're playing a 6'6, 280 LG?

From the 2007 class that would be redshirt sophomores/true juniors you had Joseph Barksdale, Josh Dworaczyk & T-Bob Hebert starting. Of the 3, Barksdale was the only one who wasn't a "project" in terms of needing to add major body weight/strength to play. From that class we lost Ernest McCoy, 6'5 330 lbs., and Jarvis Jones, 6'7, 290 pounds, both of whom had shone out in practices.

Essentially we lost all the beefy, grind it out OL from 3 consecutive classes, so we ended up playing some players before they were ready (Dworacyzk and Hebert) and others due to lack of talented depth/poor coaching decisions (Hitt).

As a result, our run game went leaps and bounds backwards, becoming half as productive.

On the surface, it is easy to blame Crowton, Jefferson and the QB play for our struggles. I openly acknowledge that Crowton isn't a world beater OC and JJ isn't an All-American type of QB (yet).

But survey the data for yourself. What does it suggest to you?

To me, it says that we have a run game which was basically a non factor (there were quite a few of those 3rd and shorts that were 3rd and goal to go and ended in FGs). With a nonperforming run game more pressure is placed upon the QB to excel. JJ wasn't (and maybe still isn't) to the point of simply throwing his team on his back and completing 35/50 passes and winning games.

So essentially, last season we were a ball control/clock control offense that couldn't control the ball or the clock.

I expect the new beef up front and new backs this season to add an extra 1,000 yards on the LSU rushing attack, making LSU a capable offense once again.


eta: The lone downfall to the study is that these numbers are compiled purely off stat sheet review and there is no accounting for dropped passes and other variables.



This post was edited on 4/20 at 5:57 pm


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Common sence
LSU Fan
Gilbert ,Az
Member since Nov 2009
1013 posts

re: QB Play: NOT the Major Problem w/the Offense (statistical support)


It does not matter who the qb or the rb is if the oline can't block.





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MCSquared16
LSU Fan
Member since Jan 2009
1266 posts

re: QB Play: NOT the Major Problem w/the Offense (statistical support)


Good breakdown. I do think the competition each faced should be looked at as well, but I agree, we get this new line to mesh and let Ford, Ridley and Murphy tote the rock and we'll have a formidable ground attack imo.





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OBUDan
LSU Fan
Chicago
Member since Aug 2006
40330 posts

re: QB Play: NOT the Major Problem w/the Offense (statistical support)


quote:

It does not matter who the qb or the rb is if the oline can't block.



More or less.






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Prominentwon
McNeese State Fan
...that's where TOTS come from!
Member since Jan 2005
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re: QB Play: NOT the Major Problem w/the Offense (statistical support)


Nice breakdown as usual.


How long before this thread is hijacked by Nuts? I should start a QB thread to divert the attention.






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bmy
LSU Fan
Member since Oct 2007
22120 posts

re: QB Play: NOT the Major Problem w/the Offense (statistical support)


Good post. I would suggest looking at the rushing statistics after taking out sack yardage.. because that's where JJ hurt us.

This thread is basically a cause for optimism. I'm confident our offense will resemble 2007s much more than it will resemble 2009s. We need to get back to averaging 30PPG.



This post was edited on 4/20 at 6:09 pm


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AreJay
Member since Aug 2005
4128 posts

re: QB Play: NOT the Major Problem w/the Offense (statistical support)


quote:

1) JJ's production stats are better on average than Flynn


This is informative, but the problem is that we can get by with bad production from the QB spot and still win games against crappy teams. Not against good teams. If it exists, the variation is important. Flynn's stats were better vs good teams than Jeffersons have been.

Now why, well we dont know for sure, but partly cause Flynn was closest to 100% for the VT and Ohio St games (where he was good) and injured for most in between.



This post was edited on 4/20 at 6:11 pm


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aroussel3Tigers
LSU Fan
Member since Mar 2009
4885 posts

re: QB Play: NOT the Major Problem w/the Offense (statistical support)


Doesn't sacks factor in on rushing yardage? I'd say we lost a couple of football fields this past season.





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OBUDan
LSU Fan
Chicago
Member since Aug 2006
40330 posts

re: QB Play: NOT the Major Problem w/the Offense (statistical support)


quote:

I do think the competition each faced should be looked at as well,


Another factor which is difficult to estimate. Maybe I'll do some digging tonight and pull out the stats of the defenses they had to face.







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bmy
LSU Fan
Member since Oct 2007
22120 posts

re: QB Play: NOT the Major Problem w/the Offense (statistical support)


quote:


Another factor which is difficult to estimate. Maybe I'll do some digging tonight and pull out the stats of the defenses they had to face.



2007 LSU faced one of the hardest schedules of this decade. If not the hardest. 2009 LSU played a respectable schedule too though.



This post was edited on 4/20 at 6:14 pm


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OBUDan
LSU Fan
Chicago
Member since Aug 2006
40330 posts

re: QB Play: NOT the Major Problem w/the Offense (statistical support)


quote:

Good post. I would suggest looking at the rushing statistics after taking out sack yardage.. because that's where JJ hurt us.



Not that it refers directly to what you are speaking of, but all sacks were considered "failed passing attempts" in my breakdown.

One thing I should have mentioned is that Flynn did bring to the table a bit of a running attack which JJ doesn't.






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Lubricious
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Livin' the dream
Member since Sep 2007
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re: QB Play: NOT the Major Problem w/the Offense (statistical support)


This needs a sticky!





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OBUDan
LSU Fan
Chicago
Member since Aug 2006
40330 posts

re: QB Play: NOT the Major Problem w/the Offense (statistical support)


quote:

Flynn's stats were better vs good teams than Jeffersons have been.


Define good/better.

Flynn put up higher yardage totals but LSU typically ran more plays.
He also turned it over more (3 picks vs. Bama [who was actually horrible that year], couple picks against Arkansas?). Flynn also played spectacularly shitty in some games, but as you mentioned, he was battling injury all season.






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OBUDan
LSU Fan
Chicago
Member since Aug 2006
40330 posts

re: QB Play: NOT the Major Problem w/the Offense (statistical support)


quote:

Doesn't sacks factor in on rushing yardage? I'd say we lost a couple of football fields this past season.




JJ was sacked 34 times last season.
Flynn was sacked 26 times in 2007.

So JJ was sacked only 8 more times, even with a more porous offensive line.

Unfortunately, a lot of JJ's sacks were really, really ugly.






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pelicanpride
LSU Fan
Houston
Member since Oct 2007
375 posts

re: QB Play: NOT the Major Problem w/the Offense (statistical support)


Yay! Your post gives me reason to hope.

National championship, here we come!






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tigersandjets
LSU Fan
New Orleans
Member since May 2007
733 posts

re: QB Play: NOT the Major Problem w/the Offense (statistical support)


This is the post of the offseason, in my opinion. The time and effort it took to piece this together is impressive and appreciated.





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Choctaw
Navy Fan
Pumpin' Sunshine
Member since Jul 2007
49067 posts

re: QB Play: NOT the Major Problem w/the Offense (statistical support)


you should be a lawyer





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dgnx6
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Feb 2006
19447 posts

re: QB Play: NOT the Major Problem w/the Offense (statistical support)


I do agree that 07 was a hard schedule, but lets not take away the fact that lsu was the best team in the country that year.

In 09 lsu played the best two teams in the country and played very well(didnt get blown out) against them and both those teams could arguably been better than the 07 tigers.



This post was edited on 4/20 at 6:42 pm


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TheDoc
LSU Fan
doc is no more
Member since Dec 2005
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re: QB Play: NOT the Major Problem w/the Offense (statistical support)


wow

excellent work sir

















TIGRLEE in 3....2.....1.....






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