FanPost

Quantifying Baggage: Pre Dooley Starts and Games Played by Class

This year’s team has been struggling for sure. Sites like Rocky Top Talk exist almost solely to dissect and discuss what and why the team does what it does (alliteration FTW). When we talk about the struggles this year words and phrases like, lack of depth, inexperience, newness all get thrown around. One word I haven’t heard a lot but I think everyone has thought about at one point or another is baggage.

This team through no fault of their own has a lot of baggage, specifically the Seniors. They’ve been through a major coaching overhaul every single year of their college careers (2007-2008 I consider a coaching overhaul because it was an entirely new offensive staff). That’s a lot of change and a lot of transition.  Throughout that transition they’ve experienced some of the worst losses in the programs history, had numerous embarrassing off the field incidents, and seen a lot of their coaches teammates come and go. That has had to take an enormous mental, emotional and physical toll. Baggage. Lots of it.

I started to wonder how long it would take to clear the program of all of this baggage. Do some players have more baggage then others? How would we quantify that?

The past couple evenings and lunch breaks I’ve tried to wrap my head around this idea of baggage and how to measure it. The easiest way I found was to look at those periods of transition and look at who has been around and at the forefront of all the change and turmoil the past 3-4 years. The best way to cut the data was to look at starts and games played before this year. I’m essentially equating Pre Dooley starts and games played as ‘baggage’.

My source for this baggage statistic (BS ;-)) was the Football Roster on utsports.com. I looked at the baggage statistic and then grouped it by class, excluding freshmen, squad players and this year’s transfers because they wouldn’t have any experience before Dooley and if they somehow had, it would be minimal. The average columns are average starts or games played per player. The data accounts for 15 seniors, 15 juniors and 17 sophomores. So without further ado, the data…

Class

Total Starts

Average Starts

Senior

156

10.4

Junior

13

0.9

Sophomore

24

1.4

 

Class

Total Games Played

Average Games Played

Senior

429

28.6

Junior

146

9.7

Sophomore

150

8.8

 

The first thing I noticed is how little experience the current juniors have. Wow. No wonder the Vols are struggling this year.  Secondly, I realized after this Senior Class there really isn’t a whole lot of baggage. 12 of the 13 Pre Dooley starts in the Juinior Class are attributed to Art Evans. It's also important to note that a "game played" can be a generous stat. It could mean that a player was in on extra point team or extra point block.

As the team trudges through this year and into next, the vast majority of the returning experience will be during under Coach Dooley and this staff. I didn’t expect to see that, at least not to that extreme.

What does it all mean?

The main thing I take from these figures is that after this year. This team will be Dooley’s team. There will still be 2 classes worth of Fulmer and Kiffin recruits. But the vast majority of the game and starting experience will be Dooley led.  That makes me think that if Dooley is in fact the guy, we’ll find out sooner rather than later.

FanPosts are most often submitted by users. The views and opinions expressed in FanPosts do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions held by the editorial staff of Rocky Top Talk or SB Nation.

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