SEC Running Back Success Rates | Week Four

For those of you who are new to this, the Running Back Success Rate is a measure of how "successful" each of a running back's rushing attempts are. A "successful" run is one that :

Gains at least 40% of the yardage needed to move the chains on 1st down
Gains at least 60% of the yardage needed to move the chains on 2nd down
Gains at least 100% of the yardage needed to move the chains on 3rd and 4th down

WEEK FOUR

Player Team Total ATT Successful ATT Success Rate Gained AVG
Trent Richardson Alabama 17 10 59% 126 7.4
Eddie Lacy Alabama 13 7 54% 61 4.7
Jalston Fowler* Alabama 4 3 75% 11 2.8
Ronnie Wingo, Jr. Arkansas 11 4 36% 35 3.2
Michael Dyer Auburn 14 8 57% 68 4.9
Onterio McCaleb Auburn 4 2 50% 17 4.3
Michael Ford LSU 12 7 58% 82 6.8
Spencer Ware LSU 23 13 57% 92 4.0
Vick Ballard Miss. State 17 9 53% 68 4.0
Jeff Demps Florida 10 6 60% 157 15.7
Chris Rainey Florida 15 11 73% 105 7.0
Isaiah Crowell Georgia 30 9 30% 147 4.9
Josh Clemons Kentucky 3 1 33% 7 2.3
Marcus Lattimore South Carolina 20 9 45% 77 3.9
Zac Stacy Vanderbilt 7 2 29% 18 2.6

Isaiah Crowell took the "workhorse" crown from Marcus Lattimore this week with 30 total carries, and he also gives us another fine example of why this is a useful metric. 147 yards and a 4.9 ypc are a pretty solid day for a college running back, but looking closer we see only a 30% success rate.  The biggest majority of his yardage came on five 10+ yard runs covering a total of 87 yards.  Meanwhile, eleven of his rushes resulted in gains of less than two yards, and another five attempts resulted in negative yardage.  Crowell's performance this week is the perfect example of a "boom or bust" back, and that was against Ole Miss's defense.  If he's going to live up to his recruiting hype he's going to have to start showing greater consistency from down to down.

Conversely, Florida had a banner day running the ball with Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps, the leaders in Success Rate % (both #1 and #2), Total Yards, and YPC average.  They have yet to see a run defense with a pulse, but what's honestly scary to me is that each one is the opposite of Crowell, breaking off multiple 10+ yard runs while also consistently setting up the offense with good down and distance.  Demps' 60% success rate includes four 10+ yard runs of 20(TD),30, 10, and 84(TD) yards with only one negative play.  Meanwhile, Rainey's stellar 73% included four 10+ yard runs of 27, 11, 10, and 19 with only one negative play.   Again, take those numbers with a grain of salt due to their schedule so far, but these are the best running backs we've faced yet and I hope our front seven is up to the challenge of keeping them in check.

As for our own backs, Trent Richardson had another solid performance with a 59% success rate and a 7.4 ypc average, including three 10+ yard rushes of 21, 31, and 25 yards with two negative plays.

CUMULATIVE

Player Team Games Total ATT Successful ATT Success Rate Gained AVG
Trent Richardson Alabama 4 67 39 58% 441 6.6
Eddie Lacy Alabama 4 41 26 63% 365 8.9
Jalston Fowler* Alabama 3 11 9 82% 100 9.1
Blake Sims Alabama 2 9 5 56% 24 2.7
Ronnie Wingo, Jr. Arkansas 4 54 27 50% 260 4.8
Michael Dyer Auburn 4 62 36 58% 426 6.9
Onterio McCaleb Auburn 4 34 15 44% 163 4.8
Michael Ford LSU 4 52 28 54% 300 5.8
Spencer Ware LSU 4 77 44 57% 318 4.1
Enrique Davis Ole Miss 1 12 3 25% 33 2.3
Vick Ballard Miss. State 4 58 35 60% 407 7.0
Jeff Demps Florida 4 34 16 47% 320 9.4
Chris Rainey Florida 4 63 41 65% 411 6.5
Isaiah Crowell Georgia 4 77 29 38% 411 5.3
Josh Clemons Kentucky 4 40 10 25% 200 5.0
Raymond Sanders Kentucky 2 21 10 48% 97 4.6
Marcus Lattimore South Carolina 4 107 63 59% 611 5.7
Tauren Poole Tennessee 3 54 21 39% 217 4.0
Zac Stacy Vanderbilt 4 36 15 42% 280 7.8

With four weeks under our belts, most everyone is starting to average out to where we can expect their numbers to generally hover around the rest of the season.

As far as the overall season numbers go, Marcus Lattimore is still the workhorse of the conference with total attempts, successful attempts, and rushing yards far outgaining the rest of the group, and he's still averaging a very solid 5.7 ypc average and 59% success rate.  Though his carries dropped against Vandy to a more manageable 20 attempts, SC fans should be happy to see his burden lightened as much as possible.

Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps are the new leaders in success rate % and ypc average, respectively, but here's hoping those numbers will take a nose dive after this week.

Vick Ballard continues to trend downward after hugely inflated numbers in week one against Memphis, and I kind of wonder just how low he'll get before he bottoms out. 

As for our own backs, Richardson is hovering at 58%, which is a very respectable number and one that I hope he can either improve on or at least maintain, while Eddie Lacy continues to hover at over 63%.  Once we get into the heart of the conference schedule and the majority of Lacy's carries aren't junk time rushes, it will be interesting to see if he can maintain that level.

As a housekeeping note, Enrique Davis has only played in one game due to injury, and to be honest I really have no desire to try and keep track of which running back is carrying the load from week to week at Ole Miss because who cares?  Likewise, Kentucky seems to be playing a similar running back by committee in trying to find any sort of spark for their offense, so I'm keeping up with Clemons and Sanders as long as they are getting touches, but not going back to chart any new additions to the rotation 'cause, again, who cares?

* yes, Jalston Fowler still leads in a couple of categories, but again we are dismissing those results given the garbage time against terrible defenses nature of those rushing attempts.  His lone significant rushing attempt of the season gained zero yards at the goal line this week against Arkansas, so use that for some perspective.

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