We Want Walker

DeWayne Walker for UCLA head coach.

The nitty gritty of statistics

Posted by wewantwalker on December 13, 2007

Bumped from the comments. This is from CalPolyBruinFan over at Bruin Roar. I could not have said it any better – WWW

I totally agree. Raw, cumulative numbers like “total offense”, “total defense”, “pass defense” can be very misleading. The efficiency numbers do a much better job of showing how well your team performs because it breaks the numbers down per play. There are some very good defenses out there that have poor passing defensive numbers because opponents start throwing the ball more when they fall behind in the game. Does that mean you have a bad defense? Of course not.

Take a look at Arizona State as an example. Their passing defense is similar to UCLA at 69th. But their overall defense, scoring defense, pass efficiency defense are all top 25. They rank near the top of the conference in total defense performance, but you wouldn’t realize that if you just looked at the pass defense number.

On the flip side of that is Notre Dame. They have the 3rd ranked pass defense in the country. Are you impressed by that? You shouldn’t. Nobody passed against them because they were so darn easy to run over! When you discover that they have a scoring defense of 96th in the nation, that tells a much better story then the total number of yards their defense gave up through the air.

Anywho, it is good to point out that statistics need to be taken in their entire context and not just cherry picked to prove some point. If you look at all of the statistics for UCLA’s defense this season you see a pretty darn good team. Not a great one, but a good one. And if the Bruins had even a hint of an offense you can bet those numbers would have been even better.

Do you know how many teams had a better scoring defense than UCLA (33rd) but had a worse scoring offense (90th)? Only two: Iowa and Vanderbilt. Neither one had a better record than the Bruin’s 6-6 mark this season. It is very hard to have a successful team with a very poor offense. Even if you look at total numbers it confirms that fact. Only a few teams like Auburn (total offense: 101, total defense: 8) are able to pull off a wining record… but even they finished at a less than stellar 8-4 this year.


3 Responses to “The nitty gritty of statistics”

  1. Cool man, thanks for the bump. I just wanted to get on your blog roll. =)

    Nifty site. I was planning on writing up some similar articles on our defense but I think you’ve done a pretty good job already. I have to say, I like coach Walker a lot as a DC but I’m not convinced he should be our head coach . I look forward to reading some future articles on why you think he is better than some of the other candidates being mentioned for the job.

  2. Blah said

    If we’re going to talk about #’s, why not look at an OC like Gus Malzahn who bests DeWayne Walkers rankings in each of the last two years?

  3. BruinMIM said

    Visting over from Bruinzone.

    Question — Would it not make more sense to hire a new head coach who is not only (a) experienced as a head coach, (b) has a winning record in the NCAAs and (c) is highly skilled on the offensive side of the ball? Right now, I think June Jones is an intriguing possiblity.

    — Jones is 74-40 at Hawaii.
    — Our local HS talent pool is MUCH deeper than is even possible in Hawaii.
    — He is known for developing quarterbacks.
    — He runs a crowd-pleasing offense that will likely generate more excitement for home games.
    — Our facilities are arguably better.
    — The cost of living may actually be less here than in Hawaii — and how many places can you say that about?
    — He has arguably as many NFL contacts as Walker from his own days as a head coach in the pros.

    As for numbers, well, this may be cherry-picking, but this jumped out at me:

    Hawaii 348.9 yds/game

    UCLA 349.8 yds/game

    Considering Hawaii’s high-octane offense, this would arguably result in more possessions for the opposing team. Given that fact, then, would the defenses not be comparable?

    Just a thought.


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