FanPost

Play-by-Play of 3rd Down vs UAB

(This is an extension of some research done by Hooper.)

I'll pull a Joel and go ahead and put my impressions here first, in case you just want to skip the data: I don't fault Jim Chaney's 3rd-down playcalling or Matt Simm's 3rd down decision-making for our woes. Heck, I don't even fault the O-Line or the Wide Receivers, though both played a larger roll. Rather I blame our complete ineptitude to put ourselves in 3rd down and less than 10. Look at it: 4, 3, 15, 6, 12, 18, 15, 12, 15, 6, 1, 10, 6, 19, 6. That's an average of 9.2 yards to go on 3rd down, and quite frankly you're just not going to convert a lot of those. As it was we only converted 2 late, to give us a 13% third down conversion, though if we factor in "3rd downs we had a good shot of making (3rd and 6 or less) we were 2/7. It seemed to me like we had playcalls to attempt to convert most of those 3rd downs, but a mixture of good downfield coverage (I guess), a tenativeness for Simms to not attempt to make a pass into too much coverage when we were ahead (I hope), and the failures either of being just a yard or two short, our receivers dropping the ball, or our O-Line getting beat for pressure to Simms.

12:00 1st Quarter, 3rd down and 4, UAB 18, 0-0.

How we got there: Tauren Poole rushes for loss of 2 on 2nd down.

Play Call: Pass, Shotgun w/ 2 wide, 2 TE set. Looked like a combo curl/flats route, Simms found Rivera quickly for a gain of 3. UAB rushed 3 with a delayed LB coming late. Simms might have had a longer route develop, but it looks like a bad play call to beat a 7-man zone. Matt Simms QB sneaks next play to convert 4th and 1.

5:00 1st Quarter, 3rd down and 3, UT 37, 7-0.

How we got there: Tauren Poole rushes for gaines of 4 & 3 on 1st and Second down.

Play Call: Pass, Shotgun with 3 wide, 1 TE set. Simms throws towards Hunter on an out-route past the sticks, had plenty of time but good coverage. Pass was high and wide, where Hunter could almost make a play on it, but again very good coverage. Looked like we ran a slant with the solo receiver, a wheel with the RB, and the TE blocked. Punt on 4th down.

13:50 2nd Quarter, 3rd down and 15, UAB 30, 14-7.

How we got there: two incompletions by Simms and a false start on 3rd and 10 after a TO. This was the pass that was just too high to Stocker on 1st down.

Play Call: Pass, Shotgun with 3 wide, 1 TE set. 2 WRs ran deep routes and Justin Hunter ran a 12 yard or so out route. He was covered but had a step at the sideline, but the pass was too high anyways. Lincoln hits 47-yard FG on 4th down.

8:00 2nd Quarter, 3rd down and 6, UT 37, 17-7.

How we got there: had 3rd down and 1 after Oku's running, called a TO, then had a false start.

Play Call: 1st attempt was from the I-formation, power-run look. Then went One-back, 2 WRs and 2 TEs. Looked like a really bad attempt at a screen play, as the TEs both blocked and the WRs didn't run deep and Simms went to Oku on a swing pass that he'd have been killed on if the pass wasn't high. UT punts.

5:30 2nd Quarter, 3rd down and 12, UT 9, 17-7.

How we got there: A run of 7 yards and a sack for 9 yards.

Play call: Ace formation, 2 TE, 2 WR. Both TEs pass block but UAB only rushes 3. Downfield is probably cluttered to infinity and beyond and Simms throws a flat route to Oku at the LOS. Oku gains 8 but is swarmed by 4 Blazers. UT Punts.

2:30 2nd Quarter, 3rd down and 18, UT 25, 17-7.

How we got there: D. Rodgers end-around dropped for -8, Oku runs for no gain.

Play Call: Shotgun, 3 WRs, 2 Backs. Simms has time, UAB rushes 4. Simms finds Moore on a deep curl not beyond the sticks, gain of 16. Moore had sat on the 1st down line but had to come back to the ball to prevent a UAB defender from getting there first. UT Punts, Intercepts UAB on next play for a TD.

12:45 3rd Quarter, 3rd down and 15, UAB 37, 23-7.

How we got there: 2 incompletions sandwiching a false start. Good Field Position because of punt return + penalty.

Play Call: Shotgun, 3 WRs, 2 Backs. UAB brings 7+ on the Rush, Simms avoids it well rolling out to his right, throws to Justin Hunter on the Deep Comeback and he might have had the 1st down if Hunter hung onto a good pass. Coverage was good. Looked like he might have had a WR in the middle of the field, but considering the pressure and the roll-out can understand the Tunnel-Vision. UT Punts. A gain of about 10 would have meant a FG attempt.

7:10 3rd Quarter, 3rd down and 12, UAB 49, 23-15.

How we got there: a loss of 2 on a run by OKU and an incomplete pass by Simms that should have been PI on UAB on the deep pass to Moore.

Play Call: Shotgun, 3 WRs, 2 Backs. UAB rushes 4 and gets pressure but Simms steps up and throws a beautiful pass about 20 yards downfield to Zach Rodgers who straight-up drops the ball. Looks like they called a deep-in against Cover-2 which would have been the perfect call, and was. Tennessee Punts.

1:00 3rd Quarter, 3rd down and 15, UT 31, 23-15.

How we got there: a sack on first down and an incompletion on second down.

Play Call: Shotgun, 3 WRs, 1 TE. Tennessee sends the 3 WRs on streaks, or long routes of some sort intended to get the 1st down. UAB drops into coverage and Simms gives it to Oku on a flat, dump-out route so he can pick up 6. Tennessee punts.

12:50 4th Quarter, 3rd down and 6, UT 32, 23-15.

How we got there: Gain of 1 run on first down and a pass for 3 on 2nd Down.

Play Call: Shotgun, 3 WRs, 1 TE. Vols run routes to get the first down but UAB rushes 6 and Tennessee losses a 1-on-1 battle somewhere, as we had 6 protecting. Simms is sacked for a loss of 9 as the pressure comes right up the middle. UT Punts. Play call didn't look good for a 6-man rush, as we'd have had room in the secondary somewhere if Simms had some time. Still, gotta pick up the 1-on-1 rush better than that.

4th Quarter, 3rd down and 1, UT 28, 23-23.

How we got there: Completions of 3 and 6 yards for the Vols.

Play Call: a run?! Say it ain't so! It was so, and Oku barely gets the yard needed to move the sticks out of a 2TE I-formation look. I thought it was short, and looking at the replay I still have my doubts. As it was Tennessee had it by about 1 chain length, if that.

4th Quarter, 3rd down and 10, UT 40, 23-23.

How we got there: Two incompletions after a pair of runs moved the ball again for the Vols.

Play Call: A screen to Oku is set up well, and looking at the replay I don't know how we don't pick up the first down. The defense was blitzing, we got 2 blockers out ahead of Oku but the blocking looked scared and Oku looked tenative in attacking the space and wound up only picking up 6 or 7. UT Punts.

At this point, by the way, ESPN3 crashed for me and I just don't have the energy to bring it back up. So the rest of this is just repeated from the ESPN Play-by-Play.

4th Quarter, 3rd down and 6, UT 41, 23-23.

How we got there: A rush of 4 by Simms and an incomplete pass.

Play Call: Pass, gain of 17 to Stocker.

4th Quarter, 3rd down and 19, UT 49, 23-23.

How we got there: incomplete pass, sack.

Play Call: Sack, end of Regular Time.

1 OT, 3rd down and 1, UAB 16, 23-23.

How we got there: Neal run for 3, Moore pass for 6. Another false start, though, and we were backed up 5 yards for a 3rd and 6 from the UAB 21.

Play Call: First time we lined up in an I-formation, showing the run, but ended up choosing to pass after the false start and the pass went to Hunter for a loss of 2. Lincoln punted, and on Tennessee's next offensive play Simms went up top to Denarius Moore for a 25-yard TD.

 

I don't fault Jim Chaney's 3rd-down playcalling or Matt Simm's 3rd down decision-making for our woes. Heck, I don't even fault the O-Line or the Wide Receivers, though both played a larger roll. Rather I blame our complete ineptitude to put ourselves in 3rd down and less than 10. Look at it: 4, 3, 15, 6, 12, 18, 15, 12, 15, 6, 1, 10, 6, 19, 6. That's an average of 9.2 yards to go on 3rd down, and quite frankly you're just not going to convert a lot of those. As it was we only converted 2 late, to give us a 13% third down conversion, though if we factor in "3rd downs we had a good shot of making (3rd and 6 or less) we were 2/7. It seemed to me like we had playcalls to attempt to convert most of those 3rd downs, but a mixture of good downfield coverage (I guess), a tenativeness for Simms to not attempt to make a pass into too much coverage when we were ahead (I hope), and the failures either of being just a yard or two short, our receivers dropping the ball, or our O-Line getting beat for pressure to Simms.

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