We Want Walker

DeWayne Walker for UCLA head coach.

Archive for the ‘Walker by the Numbers’ Category

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.


Posted in Walker by the Numbers | 3 Comments »

What does UCLA’s offense have to do with UCLA’s defense?

Posted by wewantwalker on December 13, 2007

It shouldn’t be too hard to imagine, but picture this.

For every second UCLA’s offense is off the field, thats another second the defense is on the field. 

That’s another play that the defense has to stop. That’s another few yards added onto the total. That’s another play that tires the defense.

It may not seem like too much, but when you look at the big picture, it adds up quickly.

UCLA is currently ranked 97th in time of possession. 97th. Out of 119. Too many people omit this fact when considering the efficacy of Dewayne Walker and his defense. But I’ll reemphasize: More time = more yards = more fatigue.  Not just for UCLA, but for ANY defense.  I, personally, can’t believe Walker kept his defense motivated when the offense was 106th in third down conversion percentage. 106th! I have to shake my head when people ignore these statistics.

They say that a quarterback makes his money on third down. Third down’s are crucial for any offense.

So what does that say about a defense that, time after time, holds its own on third down? Doesn’t a defense make its money on third down, too?

Cuz, I coulda sworn, UCLA is 3rd in the country in that exact statistic. 3rd out of 119.

There are those darn numbers again…

Posted in Walker by the Numbers | 1 Comment »

UCLA is 71st in Pass Defense and why that is awesome

Posted by wewantwalker on December 13, 2007

The numbers don’t lie. I keep saying it and I apologize that this time…

..they still don’t lie. Walker’s pass defense is legit.

“71? out 119? That sucks!” is what I expect most fans to be saying at this point.

Remember all those “excuses” in a previous post about being fatigued? about time of possession? about more plays? about a formidable rush defense that requires teams to throw it in the air (I don’t think I mentioned that last one, but pretend I did)

For the sake of argument, pretend those didn’t exist.

I introduce to you, the pass efficiency defense statistic. What the heck is that? Well, I didn’t really know either, but this Dave Harsh guy explains it pretty well:

First thing to grasp is how the pass “efficiency” defense is different from just pass defense. Pass defense is based solely on a team’s yardage totals. The pass defense ranking is figured for how many yards per game are allowed through opponents’ passing efforts. Pass efficiency defense takes not only their yardage, but pass completion percentages, both INT total and percentage of INTs thrown, TD total and rate, yards per attempt and yards per completion into account to then give an overall rating. Just like yardage, the lower your opponent’s pass efficiency number, the better you are doing. But unlike stopping just yardage, if the other guy is mistake-free and can score via aerial assault, you are likely going to lose. Really, you can survive a 50-yard pass play that only gets them to your 35, but there is no “recovery room” from an 11-yard scoring strike set up by 12 good runs. It is good when your opponents are less efficient, even if they get a few extra yards.

Okay, so I think I actually do have to use the fact that UCLA was passed on quite a bit to explain the excess yardage. BUT pound-for-pound it is the pass efficiency statistic that is more important in evaluating the efficacy of a pass defense.

UCLA ranks 26th, not 71st in that category. Quite a difference huh?

Posted in Walker by the Numbers | 9 Comments »

Walker: Recruiting Ranger

Posted by wewantwalker on December 13, 2007

There’s a reason why Sports Illustrated named Dewayne Walker the Pac-10 Recruiter of the Year. Walker personally signed 7 players, all of them elite or close to it, and almost all of them chose UCLA over competing scholarship offers from USC. That really didn’t happen much at UCLA during Dorrell’s tenure.

Pac-10 Recruiter of the Year, DeWayne Walker, UCLA: Not only is Walker one of the up-and-coming defensive coaches in America, he’s also one of the best recruiters out West. Walker was involved with seven of UCLA’s 10 signings in this year’s class. Those seven players have an average star rating of 3.57. The job he did with four-star running back Raymond Carter and four-star defensive tackle Brian Price, both Rivals100 players from Los Angeles Crenshaw, was amazing. Schools continued to try and steal both up until Signing Day. Walker, the Bruins’ defensive coordinator, also kept UCLA in it until the end with Donovan Warren (who picked Michigan). 

The funny thing is, that accolade was bestowed on Walker BEFORE this season.  According to rivals.com, DeWayne Walker was heavily involved with the recruitment of even more elite players.   

Those are all ELITE talents and are HIGHLY rated 4 star players. Again, those are others that might try to challenge Walker’s recruiting ability, but the numbers, again, speak for themselves. This class was practically guaranteed to be a top 5 class until questions about Dorrell’s job became a serious issue. Walker is no stooge, however, and understands the importance of keeping this top-flight class together:

“My main concern is staying on top of recruiting and collectively getting this team ready to win a game. It’

s all about the recruiting and getting ready for this bowl game. That’s enough to be worried about.” 

One current player, blue-chipper and Freshman All-American Brian Price, has such a strong connection to Walker that he stated he would leave if Walker was not retained.  Many of the recruits have also expressed the same exact sentiments.

The bottom line is that Walker is a key to UCLA’s future.  The recruits hold him, as well as recievers coach Eric Scott, in extremely high regards and respect him as a coach and as a man.

 The coolest thing about all this is that Walker has been a defensive coordinator for only TWO years and already has a such a great reputation amongst these recruits.  He’s already received the commitment of Marion Pollard, a top 100 player and elite defensive back prospect, for 2009.

 The sky is the limit for Walker. His recruiting record, specifically, has shown the ability to go toe-to-toe with Pete Carroll and the rest of the Pac-10.

 I’ve said it before and I’ll say it a million times more: DeWayne Walker is going to be a great head coach at the Division-I level.  Whether or not he does it at UCLA, however, is up to us.

Posted in Walker by the Numbers, Walker the Recruiter | Leave a Comment »

The Numbers Game

Posted by wewantwalker on December 10, 2007

Take a gander around the country and you’ll realize that every great college coach has the same characteristics.

1) He must be a great gameplanner and have a mastery of at least one side of the ball.
2) He’s got to keep his kids motivated.
3) He’s got to be able to recruit.
4) He must have the ability to accurately evaluate talent (hello Charlie Weis).

We’ll take on all of these eventually, but we’ll start with the first item: DeWayne Walker’s numbers are nothing short of astounding.

Let’s start with some pre-Walker numbers to put things into perspective. Here are UCLA’s defensive statistics under Karl Dorrell the two years before Walker took over the defense.

Total Defense: Yards Per Game, 2005

Rank Name Games Plays Yds Avg TDs Ydspgm Wins Losses Ties
113 UCLA 12 931 5617 6.03 53 468.08 10 2 0


Total Defense: Yards Per Game, 2004

Rank Name Games Plays Yds Avg TDs Ydspgm Wins Losses Ties
106 UCLA 12 898 5195 5.79 37 432.92 6 6 0

There are 119 teams in Division-I, so if you’re in triple digits, that’s pretty friggin’ bad.

Walker came in in 2006 as a defensive back coach from the Washington Redskins. He was inheriting a team that had just lost 5 players, including its entire linebacking corp and its all-conference strong safety.

The numbers speak for themselves.

Total Defense: Yards Per Game, 2006

Rank Name Games Plays Yds Avg TDs Ydspgm Wins Losses Ties
35 UCLA 13 840 4088 4.87 31 314.46 7 6 0

In ONE year, Walker took UCLA from 113 to 35. That’s 78 spots. That’s incredible.

Total Defense: Yards Per Game, 2007

Rank Name Games Plays Yds Avg TDs Ydspgm Wins Losses Ties
34 UCLA 12 911 4197 4.61 33 349.75 6 6 0

Even though the defense only went up one rank, I think this year’s statistics are still very impressive for several reasons. First of all, a lot of people attributed Walker’s early success to the fact that there was simply no film on him and his schemes were a complete mystery to everyone outside of UCLA. As a result, his defense was harder to scout and, therefore, harder to prepare for. Even with a whole year’s worth of film, Walker’s defense held up. Secondly, as bad as the UCLA offense was in 2006, it’s even worse in 2007.  Notice that even though UCLA still has one game left, the defense has seen 71 more downs than 2006. Walker’s defense has, quite simply, anchored the team.

The best example of this, lest we forget, is right here:

Of course, that was a special game, and it had Coach Walker’s fingerprints all over it.

Walker after the SC game

Coach Walker after the 2006 SC Game: “Yeah, I’m a badass.”

Which brings me to, perhaps, Walker’s most impressive statistic. Before the 2006 USC game, USC had scored over 20 points in 63 straight games. Walker held them to under 10.

How’s that for numbers?

I’ll put up some more number soon, but these numbers outline Coach Walker pretty well. The man knows his side of the ball. One can only imagine what he will do when he brings top talent to UCLA.

Did we mention he’s good at that? Next, we’ll take on Walker and the defensive players he’s recruited and evaluate Walker’s defensive recruiting class coming in next year. It happens to be one of the best in the country.

Posted in Walker by the Numbers | 4 Comments »