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Paradigm Shift Post Script - Week Two

How does Tennessee's stats painstakingly cultivated in a google doc cumulative performance look through two weeks of play? Signs point to a few key metrics spelling the difference between 2-0 and 0-2.

Sheriron says "Get hype for stats!"
Sheriron says "Get hype for stats!"
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Numbers Numbers, Math Math Math

Our team at the Paradigm Shift now has two weeks' worth of numbers to throw together, so let's take a look at how the Vols and their opponents are doing against one another.

Playcalling and Execution

Plays

  • Tennessee: 125 Total/72 Run/53 Pass
  • Opponents: 120 Total/74 Run/46 Pass

Explosive Play Rates

  • Tennessee: Total 9.6%/Run 11.1%/Pass 7.5%
  • Opponents: Total 6.7%/Run 8.1%/Pass 4.3%

Turnovers

  • Tennessee: three
  • Opponents: five

3rd/4th Down Conversion Rates

  • Tennessee: 32%
  • Opponents: 36%

Scoring Opportunities, Points per, and Rates

  • Tennessee: nine Scoring Opportunities/4.1 Points per Scoring Opportunity/38% Opportunity Rate
  • Opponents: eight Scoring Opportunities/2.9 Points per Scoring Opportunity/35% Opportunity Rate

In the abstract, the Vols have performed similarly to their opponents in most of these categories, but there are key differences in Explosiveness, Turnovers, and Points per Scoring Opportunity. Tennessee, to date, has done a better job than the other team of taking care of the ball, being explosive, and scoring in the red zone. Being better than the opposite sideline in those three areas is the biggest reason we are 2-0, but the Vols also have a more subtle advantage.

Field Position

In Volundore's excellent Monday Mathematical, he used one of my favorite statistical tools, standard deviation, to look at Tennessee's running game. But standard deviation is a flexible tool, and it can shed some light for us on another incremental advantage the Vols possess.

Average Field Position and Standard Deviation

  • Tennessee: own 35 yard line, 20 yard deviation
  • Opponents: own 26 yard line, 15 yard deviation

The properties of mean and standard deviation allow us to make some observations about the field position battles we have seen through these first two weeks. The average plus/minus the standard deviation tell us the range within which the Vols and their opponents have started roughly two out of every three drives.

Typical Drive Start Range

  • Tennessee: own 15 yard line - opponent 45 yard line
  • Opponents: own 11 yard line - own 41 yard line

Not only are the Vols typically starting their drives nine yards further downfield, they are getting deeper into enemy territory than they are allowing. Over the course of a game's worth of drives, that is an extra trip down the field for Tennessee. Maintaining and improving upon that advantage is big for the Vols.

Ohio and The Stretch

Injuries have begun creeping into the starting lineup for Tennessee, and after this Saturday we get to the main course of the schedule. For Tennessee to get to where they want to go, they must continue to build upon their advantages in turnovers, explosive plays, field position, and red zone scoring. Additionally, the Vols must become more consistent, both offensively and defensively, on 3rd and 4th down. As it stands, teams with the ability to move the ball efficiently with multi-play drives may be able to take advantage of Tennessee's less-than-optimal defense on late downs.