I'll spoil the ending of the story for you early; the numbers don't make the Georgia game feel much better. It still hurts, and it's not a pretty sight. Still, there are some things to see in the pretty charts and graphs, so here we go.
First up, let's take a look at the basic box score numbers in comparison to the rest of the season. Remember, pink is bad. Prepare for bad.
- Completion Percentage! Aagh! Ok, so UT's passing game was better than their running game against Georgia. When you rush for 1 net yard, that's not exactly hard to do. But the reality is that the 43.3% completion rate is second-worst on the season - barely beating out the UCLA game. More on that in a bit.
- QB Rating - Not So Shabby! With such a low completion percentage, this number is pretty decent. The reason for this pleasant surprise is that Stephens has still not thrown an INT. Digest that.
- Running Game! Running Game! Wherefore Art Thou, Running Game? The more I look at the numbers, the more I believe the Georgia linemen when they say they read our offense. (That's the difference in film study between the majors and 1-AA, Clawson. Remember that.) You'll see this later on, too.
- Wheee! Pass-Whacky! 2:1 Pass-Run Ratio. Not exactly Clawson-esque. Chalk that up to the second-half desperation, where the running game nearly disappeared. You can blame the clock rules for that. Well, that and the multi-score deficit. That didn't help much, either.
Let's dig a little deeper into the offense now:
- Three sacks, no INTs, no hurries*, again. The (*) is on account of the data source; NCAA.com has still not updated the game data, so I don't have the hurry data for this one. However, the three sacks all came early in the game, suggesting to me that Stephens quickly learned to get rid of the ball. But hey, no INTS is still good. Even when Stephens forced the ball, his velocity made it hard to intercept. A bonus for us.
- Wide receivers must love this guy. Stephens is more WR-dependent than Crompton was. I think it's largely due to his love of the deep ball. That's fine, so long as the protection holds. Once Stephens discovers the tight ends in the middle of the field, however, the passing game will likely take off.
- Go long, baby! Even with only 13 completions, this was the second-best weekend in terms of overall passing yardage. The kid's got a 300-yard game in him. I just know it.
- The RBs don't get many throws from Stephens, but perhaps they should. I don't know this for sure, but I think Clawson is keeping the RBs in for protection. If Stephens is getting the ball out quicker, Clawson should consider throwing to the RBs more. They can catch, even if it's not for long gains.
The WRs don't catch enough. All of them hover near 50%, which is partly a function of Crompton's "horseshoes-and-handgrenades" approach to passing. But this weekend didn't help much. Some quick completion rates:
- Gerald Jones: 4 / 6
- Lucas Taylor: 4 / 8
- Denarius Moore: 1 / 5 (!!!)
- Josh Briscoe: 0 / 1
- Austin Rogers: 0 / 1
50% on the year won't work. This counts sacks, but that's still a lost pass and it's still too low.
And now for the through-game passing trend:
This neatly divides into 3 acts of 10 pass attempts each:
- Act I: Hey! These Guys Are Fast! In the first 10 attempts, Nick Stephens learns that the UGA pass rush is faster than the UNI pass rush. Fortunately, the lesson is learned and no more sacks occur.
- Act II: Yeah, I Can Throw Against UGA! Despite zero rushing attack, Stephens manages a respectable slightly-above-50% rate throughout the next 10 passes with no consecutive incompletions.
- Act III: Ummm..Not So Easy When It's Pass-Whacky! Once UT was in desperation mode, UGA settled back into a full pass defense. From here onward, completions became rather scarce (as did UT's hopes).
- Curtain Call: No INTS! So woo! for that.
If you want to compare the UGA game to others, here is the link. There's not a whole lot to say, so I didn't reproduce the old graphs here.
Now for the charts!
I'll tackle these from the top down (FYI, the red line indicates a QB change):
- UT continues to hemorrhage offensive plays. Seriously, how far can the bleeding continue? Between the tipped-off running game of no account and the 3rd-down-ole defense, UT's offense was practically absent.
- Trend Broken! We now no longer show a trend of decreasing pass calls - a trend that initially had us throwing zero passes against Alabama. Sure, it was desperation, but at least we seem to have found a lower bound on the pass-run ratio.
- Again, not a shabby QB Rating. Keep in mind that in the NCAAs, a 120 QB rating is not exactly All-American. But it's better than the abyss we found ourselves in before. Considering that this was Nick's second start (and that against UGA), this is quite acceptable.
- We need to average at least 5.5 yards per play to be competitive. That disappearing act of a running game held the average down, obviously. But if the offense can ever get both the pass game and the run game within the realm of functional, most of the offensive woes will vanish. 5.5 ypp (yards per play) isn't a whole lot, especially if the passing game can stay above 7 ypp.
- What a wild, erratic offense. The last chart in particular is an exercise in randomness. Stay tuned for more on that.
The worst for last!
Wanna see something freaky? Watch what happens when you take out the best rush that UT had on Saturday:
Normally, this trick gives a better feel of the average rush by eliminating a strong influential rush that's exceedingly long. Even though UT's longest rush was 7 yards (woo for Hardesty), removing it drops UT's rush average to negative yardage. I never thought I'd see the day when removing a sack would be more appropriate than removing a rush.