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Charting the Tide, Offensive Review | That Orange Team

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Where's this Stewart been all season?

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Bill Connelly invented all of this; check out his college football analytics blog, Football Study Hall.

But first, a few words about #13

Simply put, ArDarius Stewart has not had a good year. We saw a brief glimpse of that talent he brings as a wide receiver last year before an injury robbed him of the balance of the season, and I think I speak for everyone when I say I was looking forward to what he could do with increased targets this year. Well, when he wasn’t running to the wrong spot — or, perhaps, when Jake Coker wasn’t throwing to the wrong spot — he wasn’t catching the ball. If it wasn’t an outright drop, it was alligator arms, or a failure to high point, or any of a number of deficiencies in catching technique that blowhards like me gleefully hurled in his direction from the comfort of their couch or recliner.[1] It got to the point where I was calling for him to be de-emphasized in the offense until he could figure out how to play wide receiver again.

1 | Or reclining couch, which is how I roll. … … Tide.

None of that matters now, because Stewart was a damned assassin Saturday, and when you pull that routine against this opponent you will be remembered fondly in Tuscaloosa regardless of what else you did during your time there. Stewart was targeted four times on traditional passes in this game.[2] He caught all four; all four were successful, and picked up a total of 85 yards, nearly a quarter of the Tide’s offensive production on the day. The two 15 yarders were effective if otherwise unremarkable — a screen he took 18 yards after the catch and a 12 yard crossing route[3] that accrued a few yards after contact.

2 | He also got a jet sweep that only picked up three yards, and an ill-fated backwards pass that was totally blown up.

3 | On a third and 11! What a concept!

Those final two receptions, however? They were of the contorting, ridiculously athletic variety that saw Stewart go up and get high balls with what appeared to be about an 85 inch vertical leap.[4] The first was a 26-yarder on second and 14 that set the Tide up with a first and goal from the 8 yard line, a possession that would end in a field goal attempt from the 2.[5] The second was right after Coker was sacked, a 29-yarder on second and 12 that featured Stewart bobbling but then corralling the ball just before he returned to the turf. A heavy dose of Derrick Henry and a similar catch from Calvin Ridley later, and the Tide had a 19-14 lead that would not be relinquished.

4 | Not serious. Maybe.

5 | Which was a terrible call that could have cost the Tide the game, but that’s another article for another time.

All told, that’s three catches on longer yardage downs, extending drives that scored 13 points in a game won by just five. You do the math.

Confused?

  • Air Yards — The down-the-field or vertical yardage gained on a pass play as a result of the quarterback’s throw (i.e., prior to the receiver’s involvement), as measured from the line of scrimmage. So for forward passes thrown behind the line of scrimmage, the Air Yardage would be negative. This metric is also tracked on incomplete passes — underthrown balls are measured from where the ball lands, and overthrown balls from where the intended receiver is. Balls tipped at the line or thrown away are not measured. The companion statistic on completed passes is yards after catch — the sum of Air Yards and yards after catch on a completed pass equals the yardage gained on the play.
  • Catch Rate — The number of balls caught over the number of targets for an individual, or how often a receiver makes the catch when targeted.
  • Disruptive Plays — A sum of sacks, stuffs (tackles for loss on a ballcarrier, as opposed to a QB on a pass play), blocked kicks/punts, passes defensed/broken up, interceptions, and forced fumbles. Think of these as things that got you multiple helmet stickers when you were playing peewee.
  • Distance Splits — Aside from the quarterback performance chart (which is in terms of Air Yards), all distances refer to the yardage to go for that particular down, not how much yardage would be required for a successful play (see Success Rate).
  • Percent of Total for Rushing and Passing Splits by Down — These numbers refer to the percentage of first down plays that were a rush, second down plays that were a pass, and so on, NOT the percentage of rushes that were on first down. For example, the sum of first down pass frequency and first down rush frequency will be 100%, but the sum of first, second, third, and fourth down rush frequencies will be well in excess of 100%.
  • Garbage Time — Defined as when a game is not within 28 points in the first quarter, 24 points in the second quarter, 21 points in the third quarter, or 16 points in the fourth.
  • Pass Direction — One the quarterback performance chart, the pass directions (left, middle, right) refer to the third of the field the ball was thrown to, as defined by the hash marks, relative to the direction the offense is moving (i.e., from the quarterback's perspective). 'Left' throws are to the leftmost third, 'middle' throws are to the area between the hashes, and so on.
  • Run Directions — See the figure below. Defensive letter gap terminology is on the top in blue, and offensive hole terminology is on the bottom in green. Rushes are coded as 'Left Tackle' if they head through the left B and C gaps / the 3 and 5 holes, and so on.
  • RunDirection

  • Success Rate — A 'successful' play is defined as gaining 50% of required yardage on first down, 70% of required yardage on second down, and all of the required yardage on third and fourth downs — required yardage is another term for the distance required for a first down on a given play. Success rate is simply how often a team is successful.
  • Target — The intended receiver on a pass play. All pass plays have intended receivers, with the exception of passes that were tipped at the line, thrown away, or otherwise thrown in such a manner as to render identification of an intended receiver impossible.
  • YAC — Passing Yards After Catch, the amount of yardage gained by the receiver after catching a pass. YAC + Air Yards = Passing Yards.
  • iPPPIsolated Points Per Play, the amount of Net Equivalent Points gained per successful play. This is the best explosiveness metric the advanced stats community currently has; read more about it here.
  • Line Yards — The number of rushing yards on every run attributable to the offensive line’s efforts. Read more about it here.
  • Highlight Yards — The number of rushing yards on every run attributable to the running back’s efforts. Line Yards + Highlight Yards = Rushing Yards. Read more about it here.
  • Opportunity Rate — The percentage of carries where the back has an opportunity to accrue Highlight Yards; read more about it here.
  • Running Back Rating (RBR) — An overall quality metric for running backs, this is the product of Opportunity Rate and Highlight Yards per Opportunity.
Overall Offensive Performance

Quarter Breakdown
Metric 1st 2nd 3rd 4th
VS.
VILES
2015
Season
VS.
VILES
2015
Season
VS.
VILES
2015
Season
VS.
VILES
2015
Season
Plays 16 153 16 141 16 108 22 74
S. Rate 50.0% 46.4% 37.5% 44.7% 37.5% 40.7% 45.5% 39.2%
iPPP 1.2 1.1 0.7 1.0 1.2 1.4 1.3 1.1
Pass % 53.3% 44.7% 57.1% 55.8% 40.0% 46.2% 47.6% 47.9%
P. S. Rate 50.0% 44.8% 37.5% 41.6% 66.7% 40.8% 50.0% 32.4%
P. iPPP 1.2 1.3 0.8 1.5 1.5 1.7 1.7 1.3
Rush % 46.7% 55.3% 42.9% 44.2% 60.0% 53.8% 52.4% 52.1%
R. S. Rate 57.1% 49.4% 50.0% 50.8% 22.2% 42.1% 45.5% 48.6%
R. iPPP 1.2 0.9 0.5 0.6 0.7 1.2 0.9 1.0

Observations

No garbage time in this one — all 70 of the Tide’s offensive plays were competitive snaps. Much like the Texas A&M game, the Tide’s strongest quarter was the first; two mediocre quarters followed, before the Tide picked it back up in the fourth just enough to pull out the win. There was a notable shift toward the run in the second half, likely as a result of better success with that in the first half than the pass. Those big pass plays down the stretch really bumped up the iPPP, and in turn the overall success of the offense, which likely also benefited from a tiring Viles defense.

Formation / Playcall Breakdown
Call Plays Percent of Total Success Rate iPPP
VS.
VILES
VS.
VILES
2015
Season
VS.
VILES
2015
Season
VS.
VILES
2015
Season
Shotgun 38 54.3% 54.8% 47.4% 44.8% 1.3 1.2
Pistol 15 21.4% 25.2% 40.0% 43.3% 0.7 1.0
Under Center 17 24.3% 20.0% 35.3% 40.0% 1.1 1.1
No Huddle 50 71.4% 64.1% 48.0% 44.9% 1.2 1.1
Huddled 20 28.6% 35.9% 30.0% 40.9% 0.9 1.2
Play Action 12 17.1% 13.0% 41.7% 46.8% 1.3 1.9

Observations

The QB alignment breakdown against the Viles more or less followed seasonal averages, with every other play coming out of the Shotgun and the balance split evenly between Pistol and Under Center. Shotgun plays were by far the most effective in this one, though for the season it remains just a few points ahead of the other options. The Tide operated out of the no-huddle on over 70% of their snaps against the Viles, and unlike in previous weeks there was no question as to whether or not it was the more effective look. Play action passes were available this week, but not to the same level of explosiveness the Tide is accustomed to on the season.

Personnel Breakdown
Group Plays Percent of Total Success Rate iPPP
VS.
VILES
VS.
VILES
2015
Season
VS.
VILES
2015
Season
VS.
VILES
2015
Season
11 34 48.6% 42.6% 38.2% 41.6% 1.2 1.3
10 17 24.3% 24.7% 58.8% 46.2% 1.1 1.2
12 13 18.6% 15.4% 46.2% 42.5% 1.1 1.0
21 3 4.3% 6.8% 0.0% 46.9% --- 0.9
00 2 2.9% 1.7% 50.0% 25.0% 0.5 0.6

Observations

The offensive identity, at least with respect to preferred personnel groupings, is pretty clear at this point — mostly single back sets, with some 21 and 00 personnel thrown in to keep things interesting. 10 personnel was the big winner this week; the Tide were successful on nearly 60% of their attempts with four wide receivers on the field, and at a pretty decent iPPP as well.

Down and Distance Matrix
Distance Metric Down
1st 2nd 3rd 4th
VS.
VILES
2015
Season
VS.
VILES
2015
Season
VS.
VILES
2015
Season
VS.
VILES
2015
Season
Short
(0-3 Yds)
Plays 0 6 1 19 3 23 0 4
S. Rate --- 66.7% 0.0% 73.7% 66.7% 52.2% --- 75.0%
iPPP --- 0.2 --- 0.9 0.6 0.5 --- 1.8
Medium
(4-6 Yds)
Plays 0 5 9 41 4 21 0 3
S. Rate --- 40.0% 66.7% 63.4% 50.0% 42.9% --- 33.3%
iPPP --- 0.5 0.9 0.7 1.2 1.0 --- 0.9
Long
(7-10 Yds)
Plays 28 194 7 68 1 20 0 2
S. Rate 42.9% 45.4% 28.6% 39.7% 0.0% 20.0% --- 0.0%
iPPP 1.0 1.2 0.7 1.6 --- 1.4 --- ---
Very Long
(11+ Yds)
Plays 3 12 8 31 5 26 0 0
S. Rate 33.3% 25.0% 50.0% 32.3% 20.0% 15.4% --- ---
iPPP 2.7 1.9 2.0 1.9 1.4 1.3 --- ---

Observations

Overall the Tide did, for them, an average job on third downs, accruing only five successful conversions out of 13 attempts, or 38% overall. A big part of that was roughly twice as many third-and-very-longs as usual, which they only convert about 15% of the time. The Viles were less successful than your typical Tide opponent on very long yardage, however, allowing higher iPPPs and success rates regardless of down. This was slightly offset with reduced success on downs with 7-10 yards to go, however, instead making most of their hay when they could get into the medium yardage on second and third downs.

Offensive Line Performance

Rush Splits by Down, Distance, and Direction
Metric Attempts Rush % S. Rate iPPP LY/Att.
VS.
VILES
VS.
VILES
2015
Season
VS.
VILES
2015
Season
VS.
VILES
2015
Season
VS.
VILES
2015
Season
All Carries 31 50.8% 51.2% 45.2% 53.8% 0.4 0.5 3.4 3.1
1st Down 17 62.1% 54.9% 41.2% 40.2% 1.1 0.8 3.1 2.8
2nd Down 11 54.5% 55.8% 45.5% 53.9% 0.7 1.0 3.7 3.6
3rd Down 3 23.1% 36.4% 66.7% 40.7% 0.6 0.6 4.2 2.8
Short
(0-3 Yds.)
3 75.0% 78.8% 66.7% 63.9% 0.6 0.8 2.8 2.2
Medium
(4-6 Yds.)
5 38.5% 51.4% 60.0% 70.6% 0.7 0.6 3.5 3.5
Long
(7-10 Yds.)
20 66.7% 49.1% 45.0% 42.4% 1.0 1.1 3.5 3.4
Very Long
(11+ Yds.)
3 21.4% 38.8% 0.0% 0.0% --- --- 3.3 2.6
Left
End
3 9.7% 15.6% 100.0% 51.5% 1.4 1.1 6.7 4.0
Left
Tackle
5 16.1% 12.3% 20.0% 46.2% 1.7 1.0 2.5 2.9
Middle 13 41.9% 46.7% 53.8% 44.4% 0.6 0.9 3.3 2.8
Right
Tackle
4 12.9% 11.8% 25.0% 36.0% 0.5 0.5 4.9 2.9
Right
End
6 19.4% 13.7% 33.3% 51.7% 0.7 0.7 2.0 3.5

Observations

This would be an example of when the numbers don’t really line up with what the eyeballs are saying. Aside from the success rate, the overall rushing numbers pretty much line up with seasonal averages, but you sure wouldn’t have expected that watching the game. Blocking issues were apparent throughout, in particular when Jalen Reeves-Maybin and Derek Barnett were involved. Credit the opponent for being prepared for the Tide’s offense, but numerous times it appeared as though a rusher was allowed into the backfield unchecked, and in a manner that suggests it wasn’t intentional.

The mental error penalties are a problem that is not going away, as the Tide added another three false starts in this one in what was not a particularly loud stadium for most of the game. They allowed five sacks, and there were at least two other plays where Coker chucking it toward a running back’s feet at the very last moment was the only thing preventing a sack. Hopefully some of this is due to injuries, as Cam Robinson in particular was visibly slower on Saturday. If not, LSU is going to be… interesting.

Running Back Performance

Advanced RB Splits
Metric Attempts Opp. Rate Hlt. Yds. / Opp. RBR
VS.
VILES
VS.
VILES
2015
Season
VS.
VILES
2015
Season
VS.
VILES
2015
Season
All Carries 31 46.7% 46.3% 3.2 4.4 1.5 2.0
1st Down 17 41.2% 39.6% 4.1 3.5 1.7 1.4
2nd Down 11 60.0% 56.8% 2.5 5.2 1.5 2.9
3rd Down 3 33.3% 38.5% 1.5 2.4 0.5 0.9
Short
(0-3 Yds.)
3 50.0% 46.4% 1.5 7.0 0.8 3.2
Medium
(4-6 Yds.)
5 60.0% 57.6% 2.5 2.1 1.5 1.2
Long
(7-10 Yds.)
20 45.0% 45.8% 3.7 4.9 1.7 2.2
Very Long
(11+ Yds.)
3 33.3% 33.3% 3.0 2.2 1.0 0.7
Left
End
3 100.0% 60.6% 6.7 4.8 6.7 2.9
Left
Tackle
5 20.0% 32.0% 7.0 10.0 1.4 3.2
Middle 13 50.0% 44.0% 1.7 4.6 0.8 2.0
Right
Tackle
4 50.0% 36.0% 2.3 1.3 1.1 0.5
Right
End
6 33.3% 58.6% 1.8 2.2 0.6 1.3

Observations

Despite some of those issues, however, the left side of that line was money again in this one, as the Tide backs did quite a bit of damage running in that direction, particularly around the left end. The Viles have a stout interior of the defensive line, however, and despite the return of Ryan Kelly at center, there wasn’t a whole lot up the middle for the Tide backs. The opportunity rate appears high, but those were mostly five or six yard runs, which are fantastic to have but aren’t going to get it done when you’re offsetting them with negative plays. Most of the highlight yards in that direction came on a single run, a 12-yarder from Henry on the first drive of the third quarter, where an ankle tackle by a Vile defender saved a touchdown.

Individual RB Stats
Player Atts. S. Rate Opp. Rate HLT Yds. /
Opp.
RBR LY/Att.
VS.
VILES
VS.
VILES
2015 VS.
VILES
2015 VS.
VILES
2015 VS.
VILES
2015 VS.
VILES
2015
Henry, Derrick 28 42.9% 45.8% 44.4% 47.3% 3.5 5.1 1.6 2.4 3.6 3.3
Drake, Kenyan 3 66.7% 49.0% 66.7% 47.1% 1.5 2.0 1.0 1.0 2.1 2.9

Observations

Kenyan Drake did not receive much work in this one, getting stuffed on his first carry but following that up with two tough seven yarders that were more yards after contact than anything. Henry was his usual workhorse self, piling up 28 carries for 143 yards, including six carries in excess of 10 yards. He was pretty great when not running into a mass of orange defenders,[6] but quality tackling from the linebackers and secondary prevented him from breaking any really big runs, which depressed his RBR a good bit from his seasonal average.

6 | I have two stuffs in here credited to “the entire Viles defense”.

Quarterback Performance

Map of Quarterbacking Excellence
Air Yards Metric Left Middle Right Totals
8 8 14 30
Behind
L.O.S
Comp. % 1/1 (100.0%) 3/3 (100.0%) 3/3 (100.0%) 7
S. Rate 0.0% 33.3% 33.3%
iPPP --- 0.5 1.4
0-5
Yards
Comp. % 2/3 (66.7%) 1/2 (50.0%) 2/3 (66.7%) 8
S. Rate 66.7% 50.0% 33.3%
iPPP 0.6 1.0 0.6
6-10
Yards
Comp. % 2/3 (66.7%) 0/0 (---) 0/2 (0.0%) 5
S. Rate 66.7% --- 0.0%
iPPP 1.3 --- ---
11-15
Yards
Comp. % 1/1 (100.0%) 2/2 (100.0%) 2/2 (100.0%) 5
S. Rate 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
iPPP 1.5 1.4 2.0
16+ Yards
Comp. % 0/0 (---) 1/1 (100.0%) 2/4 (50.0%) 5
S. Rate --- 100.0% 50.0%
iPPP --- 2.9 1.8

Observations

You’ll see in a minute Coker really threw one bad ball all afternoon, which is a vast improvement from where he was earlier this season. As Gary Danielson cheerfully reminded everyone viewing at home approximately every other play, the opponent kept one safety deep to prevent any play-action bombs to Ridley. While there were no completions over 30 yards, Coker was 8 for 10 on balls thrown in excess of 10 yards, with one incompletion coming via a mauling from the Viles secondary, and the other the one interception, a great play by the defender more than anything else. He largely made good decisions given how often he had someone in his face, with maybe one of the sacks preventable by a throwaway.

Incompletions Breakdown
Type Count Percent of Total
VS.
VILES
VS.
VILES
2015
Season
Misfires 1 3.1% 15.0%
Defensive Wins 6 18.8% 14.1%
Drops 0 0.0% 4.8%
Offensive Errors 0 0.0% 0.9%
Penalties 3 9.4% 1.8%

Observations

Only one misfire on the afternoon, with the majority of incompletions coming as the result of good defensive plays or penalties robbing the Tide of a completion. The most egregious of the latter was a chop block that wasn’t actually a chop block, as it’s really hard to engage a defender in a block while you’re actively moving away from them. You can quibble about whether or not the four pass breakups were on Coker or the defender, but in general he placed the ball quite well on Saturday.

Pass Splits by Down and Distance
Metric Attempts Pass % S. Rate iPPP
VS.
VILES
VS.
VILES
2015
Season
VS.
VILES
2015
Season
VS.
VILES
2015
Season
All Passes 32 49.2% 48.8% 50.0% 41.0% 1.4 1.5
1st 11 37.9% 45.1% 54.5% 50.0% 1.2 1.6
2nd 10 45.5% 63.6% 70.0% 42.6% 1.6 1.5
3rd 10 76.9% 44.2% 30.0% 26.8% 1.3 1.1
Short
(0-3 Yds.)
1 25.0% 21.2% 0.0% 45.5% --- 0.5
Medium
(4-6 Yds.)
8 61.5% 48.6% 62.5% 38.2% 1.1 0.9
Long
(7-10 Yds.)
11 33.3% 50.9% 45.5% 41.4% 0.9 1.6
Very Long
(11+ Yds.)
11 78.6% 61.2% 54.5% 41.5% 2.0 1.7

Observations

And here you see the fruit of those well-placed balls, as the Tide passing offense as a whole eclipsed their seasonal average for success rate at a comparable level of explosiveness. Ton of damage on second down, which is also the down the Tide passes on the most. Aside from one errant attempt on short yardage, the Tide eclipsed their seasonal success rate on every down and distance, though as noted the opponent’s defense kept things from getting out of hand.

Receiver Performance

Individual WR Stats
Player Targets Catch Rate YAC/Catch Pts./Target
VS.
VILES
VS.
VILES
2015
Season
VS.
VILES
2015
Season
VS.
VILES
2015
Season
Ridley, Calvin 13 53.8% 69.8% 5.3 6.6 0.6 0.8
Howard, O.J. 7 100.0% 77.4% 4.0 6.2 0.7 0.7
Stewart, ArDarius 6 100.0% 52.9% 4.7 5.1 1.4 0.5
Mullaney, Richard 3 33.3% 60.7% 0.0 3.0 0.4 0.6
Drake, Kenyan 1 100.0% 77.8% 7.0 15.1 0.2 0.9

Observations

Ridley was unfortunately the target on all four of the defensed passes and on the play that was called back due to holding, but otherwise caught everything that was thrown at him and co-led in receiving yards with Stewart. O.J. Howard, who was at one point in his career maligned for seeming to drop every other ball that was thrown to him, caught all seven of his targets, and is right there with Drake for the highest catch rate on the team. Mullaney did not receive much work, but caught one ball and was the beneficiary of a mauling from the Viles secondary that picked up 10 yards for the Tide.

ROLL TIDE