This is in response to a statistical oversight by Team Speed Kills' Year2, in his recent investigation of How Much Is Tennessee's Offense Improving? He points out that Tennessee just ran up a lot of yards against WKU -- horrible competition, in every right, and adjusts Tennessee's offensive output accordingly, coming up with the number that Tennessee is only about 38 yards better on offense than they were last year, as opposed to about 110 yards.
However, I think there's a big flaw in his data collection, because it fails to accommodate for the one game that Tennessee piled up yardage last year: the UAB game. In that game, Tennessee had 548 yards of offense, by far it's best of the season. So, I took out that game from the 2008-2009 season, to see how the stats would compare when the best performances were taken out of the equation.
|2008 ADJUSTED STATS (NO UAB)|
|2009 ADJUSTED STATS (NO WKU)||CHANGE|
As is expected, without the UAB game from last year Tennessee's offense is much better than it was last year, as far as yards-per-game. 64 is a pretty significant difference, if not the difference of 108 yards per game that it was before we took out these performances.However, the lack of difference in YPP did jump out at me: not only are we getting more yardage per play, but we're also getting more plays. Another venture into stats (this time not adjusted for the weakest opponent so far) reveals this:
|PLAYS PER GAME:|
That last column is really the only important one: it shows average plays/game for Tennessee & opponents. We're getting 9 more plays per game than last year, so that's pretty awesome. That's reflected in the T.O.P, which is improved from last year thus far, and the cause of it is, not surprisingly, 3rd down conversions.
|3RD + 4TH DOWN CONVERSIONS|
Our 3rd & 4th down offense is much improved, while our 3rd & 4th down defense is better as well. Count the delta together, and that's a 9% shift in converting the chains. Really, I don't care how you dissect the numbers, the fact is that our offense is playing so, so much better than last year, through these first five games. Now let's prove it by beating Georgia.