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Running Back Success Rates: Beanie Wells

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Rushing Receiving
G Rush Yds Y/G Avg TD Rec Yds Y/G Avg TD
2008 - Chris Wells 10 207 1197 119.7 5.8 8 8 47 4.7 5.9 0

 

Note: Once again, the official numbers and mine aren't in complete agreement. Against Purdue, Wells is listed as having rushed 22 times, yet 23 rushes show up in the play by play. Go figure.

When Beanie Wells went down in the season opener, many felt that tOSU was doomed to failure without him.  Wells was considered one of the best backs in the country and was a big (if not the biggest) part of the tOSU offense prior to the wholly necessary emergence of a playmaker like Terrelle Pryor.  In that game, Wells ran at a very impressive 68% success rate (against an FCS defense, though, so take that with a grain of salt), but upon his return there wasn't much success to speak of.  Wells had pretty significant success against both Minnesota and Michigan State (64% and 65%, respectively), but for the rest of the season he was only average at best or, in the case of the loss to Penn State, horrendous at worst (27% success rate, zero runs over ten yards, lowest yardage and ypc averages of the season).  To be fair, Penn State finished the season with the 8th ranked run defense, so they had that going for them, which was nice.  Wells eventually finished at a pedestrian 50% (excel spreadsheet), well below Big Ten rushing leader Shonn Greene's 57%. One of my criticisms of Greene was that he had a lot of big run outliers skewing his ypc average, but even though Shonn Green finished with a higher percentage of big run outliers (31% of his successful runs were for 10 yards or more, compared to Wells's 28%), the fact that Wells played in only 10 games and carried 99 fewer times makes him an even bigger "boom or bust" type.* 

 

Yards Carries YPC Avg. Success Rate
D. Brown 2083 D. Brown 367 S. Greene 6.03 S. Greene 57%
S. Greene 1850 S. Greene 307 C. Wells 5.78 D. Brown 54%
C. Wells 1197 C. Wells 208 D. Brown 5.68 C. Wells 50%

* Since my labeling of Shonn Greene as a boom or bust back threw a lot of Iowa fans into a tizzy, let me clarify: Under these circumstances, a "boom or bust" back isn't some showboat speedster always trying to break the big run. It's simply a back who's "successful" runs (as defined by this metric) are coming from big, ypc skewing gains instead of steady, drive extending gains.