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Charting the Tide, Offensive Review | Ole Miss Rebels

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Did anything good happen in this game on offense for the Tide? Actually, yes!

Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

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

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

Formation / Playcall Breakdown
Call Plays Percent of Total Success Rate iPPP
VS.
OLE
MISS
VS.
OLE
MISS
2015
Season
VS.
OLE
MISS
2015
Season
VS.
OLE
MISS
2015
Season
Shotgun 63 72.4% 60.8% 39.7% 41.8% 1.1 1.4
Pistol 14 16.1% 22.7% 28.6% 51.2% 0.8 1.0
Under Center 10 11.5% 16.6% 40.0% 40.0% 1.2 1.0
No Huddle 53 60.9% 61.3% 43.4% 46.8% 1.1 1.2
Huddled 34 39.1% 38.7% 29.4% 38.6% 1.1 1.3
Play Action 7 8.0% 12.7% 42.9% 39.1% 1.5 1.8

Observations

There were numerous irritating things about this game, but during the charting process the lack of Pistol looks was particularly infuriating. This smacked of last year, when the Tide abused the early portion of their schedule out of this alignment, only to effectively abandon it down the stretch. I thought we were past this, Lane.

Then I ran the numbers on it, and it became immediately apparent why it wasn’t being used — Ole Miss was eating it up. Shotgun wasn’t tremendously better, but it was better, both in terms of efficiency and explosiveness. The Pistol is primarily a rushing formation, and as we’ll see later that wasn’t working so well against the Rebels.

Personnel Breakdown
Group Plays Percent of Total Success Rate iPPP
VS.
OLE
MISS
VS.
OLE
MISS
2015
Season
VS.
OLE
MISS
2015
Season
VS.
OLE
MISS
2015
Season
11 42 48.3% 39.7% 35.7% 40.8% 1.2 1.6
10 23 26.4% 25.7% 34.8% 43.5% 1.1 1.4
21 9 10.3% 9.5% 55.6% 64.7% 1.3 0.9
12 5 5.7% 8.9% 40.0% 43.8% 0.8 0.9
20 3 3.4% 11.2% 33.3% 45.0% 1.1 0.8

Observations

The Tide ran a lot of plays in this one, as they operated out of the hurry-up for a significant portion of the second half attempting to close the gap with the Rebels. The personnel breakdown was largely consistent with seasonal trends, albeit with a bit more emphasis on 11 personnel. Note that success rates and iPPPs were down across the board, indicative of the quality of Ole Miss’ defensive effort on the evening. We’ve only got 17 non-garbage time plays to look at for 21 personnel so far, but there seems to be a consistent and significant gap in success rate between the group and the other common ones for the Tide. Based on that, look for that personnel grouping in goal-line and other short-yardage situations.

Quarter Breakdown
Metric 1st 2nd 3rd 4th
VS.
OLE
MISS
2015
Season
VS.
OLE
MISS
2015
Season
VS.
OLE
MISS
2015
Season
VS.
OLE
MISS
2015
Season
Plays 22 58 24 59 19 42 22 22
S. Rate 36.4% 32.8% 33.3% 47.5% 42.1% 54.8% 40.9% 40.9%
iPPP 1.1 1.2 1.1 1.3 1.2 1.4 1.1 1.1
Pass % 40.9% 50.0% 62.5% 62.7% 57.9% 52.4% 66.7% 66.7%
P. S. Rate 33.3% 32.1% 33.3% 40.5% 36.4% 40.9% 28.6% 28.6%
P. iPPP 1.9 1.5 1.2 1.8 1.0 1.3 1.1 1.1
Rush % 59.1% 50.0% 37.5% 37.3% 42.1% 47.6% 33.3% 33.3%
R. S. Rate 38.5% 35.7% 33.3% 59.1% 50.0% 70.0% 71.4% 71.4%
R. iPPP 0.6 0.8 0.9 0.6 1.4 1.4 1.1 1.1

Observations

As noted in yesterday’s defensive review piece, the Tide offense actually spent one drive of the fourth quarter in garbage time after Ole Miss pushed the lead to 19 early in the quarter. Offensive performance in terms of explosiveness was relatively consistent throughout the game — the Tide ripped off the occasional long run or decent pass, but Ole Miss largely limited any truly explosive plays from happening.[1] Overall success rate increased in the second half, apparently as a result of increased efficiency on the ground. Part of that was surely the fatigue factor with a defense that spent over 35 minutes of game time on the field.

1 | The Tide notched five plays that gained in excess of 20 yards, but keep in mind that’s over 100 some odd plays in the game.

Down and Distance Matrix
Distance Metric Down
1st 2nd 3rd 4th
VS.
OLE
MISS
2015
Season
VS.
OLE
MISS
2015
Season
VS.
OLE
MISS
2015
Season
VS.
OLE
MISS
2015
Season
Short
(0-3 Yds)
Plays 2 4 4 7 4 6 1 2
S. Rate 0.0% 50.0% 75.0% 85.7% 75.0% 83.3% 0.0% 50.0%
iPPP --- 0.2 0.6 0.5 0.6 0.4 --- 4.2
Medium
(4-6 Yds)
Plays 1 4 4 10 4 8 0 2
S. Rate 0.0% 25.0% 75.0% 90.0% 50.0% 37.5% --- 50.0%
iPPP --- 0.3 0.7 0.5 1.2 1.1 --- 0.9
Long
(7-10 Yds)
Plays 33 74 20 34 5 9 2 2
S. Rate 21.2% 40.5% 50.0% 38.2% 60.0% 33.3% 0.0% 0.0%
iPPP 1.3 1.5 1.3 1.6 1.2 1.2 --- ---
Very Long
(11+ Yds)
Plays 0 4 4 8 3 7 0 0
S. Rate --- 25.0% 50.0% 50.0% 0.0% 0.0% --- ---
iPPP --- 1.8 1.6 1.9 --- --- --- ---

Observations

One bright spot for the Tide was performance on third down, which was improved compared to the first two games. The Tide went 11/20 on the down against the Rebels, buoyed by several third-and-long completions to O.J. Howard and Richard Mullaney. First down, unfortunately, was a total nightmare: a 21.2% success rate on plays of the 1st and 10 variety, which isn’t going to get it done. The Tide was consistently behind schedule all game, which necessitated the third down performance just to stay in the game.

Offensive Line Performance

Rush Splits by Down, Distance, and Direction
Metric Attempts Rush % S. Rate iPPP LY/Att.
VS.
OLE
MISS
VS.
OLE
MISS
2015
Season
VS.
OLE
MISS
2015
Season
VS.
OLE
MISS
2015
Season
VS.
OLE
MISS
2015
Season
All Carries 32 43.0% 43.3% 53.1% 61.8% 0.5 0.6 2.9 3.1
1st Down 20 62.9% 49.4% 25.0% 34.2% 1.1 0.9 2.0 2.3
2nd Down 9 37.5% 46.6% 66.7% 77.3% 0.8 1.0 5.2 4.7
3rd Down 3 18.8% 24.1% 66.7% 57.1% 0.6 0.4 2.3 1.7
Short
(0-3 Yds.)
6 63.6% 78.9% 50.0% 76.9% 0.7 0.8 2.0 2.5
Medium
(4-6 Yds.)
4 44.4% 58.3% 75.0% 71.4% 0.7 0.5 4.4 3.4
Long
(7-10 Yds.)
22 44.1% 38.8% 31.8% 38.5% 1.1 1.4 2.9 3.4
Very Long
(11+ Yds.)
0 0.0% 15.8% --- 0.0% --- --- --- -1.5
Left
End
4 12.5% 14.7% 50.0% 40.0% 1.9 1.4 5.1 2.9
Left
Tackle
3 9.4% 11.8% 66.7% 62.5% 0.6 1.5 4.0 3.5
Middle 17 53.1% 50.0% 35.3% 55.9% 0.7 0.8 2.5 3.2
Right
Tackle
2 6.3% 7.4% 0.0% 20.0% --- 0.5 0.8 1.8
Right
End
6 18.8% 16.2% 50.0% 54.5% 0.8 0.7 2.6 3.4

Observations

For those of you complaining this week about how our beloved OC didn’t #RTDBL, well — he did, it just didn’t work very well. The Tide went to the ground on 63% of first down plays, but as noted on the last chart first down wasn’t very kind to the Tide in this one. Once you get behind schedule on second and third down, passing is basically required to have any chance of getting another set of downs. 25% success rate on first down is putrid, and if you want to look beyond the turnovers for reasons the Tide didn’t win this one, I’d start there.

Success rate on short yardage was still ok, but well below what the Tide had been accomplishing, which is indicative of the quality of Ole Miss’ defensive line. Success rate on runs up the middle was predictably low with big bodies Robert Nkemdiche and Woodrow Hamilton plugging up the works, although the Tide did find some success around the left side.

Running Back Performance

Advanced RB Splits
Metric Attempts Opp. Rate Hlt. Yds. / Opp. RBR
VS.
OLE
MISS
VS.
OLE
MISS
2015
Season
VS.
OLE
MISS
2015
Season
VS.
OLE
MISS
2015
Season
All Carries 32 43.3% 45.2% 3.7 5.9 1.6 2.6
1st Down 20 27.8% 30.3% 5.7 5.0 1.6 1.5
2nd Down 9 77.8% 76.2% 2.5 5.1 1.9 3.9
3rd Down 3 33.3% 14.3% 2.0 2.0 0.7 0.3
Short
(0-3 Yds.)
6 50.0% 50.0% 2.3 8.8 1.1 4.4
Medium
(4-6 Yds.)
4 50.0% 53.8% 1.8 1.4 0.9 0.7
Long
(7-10 Yds.)
22 40.9% 43.6% 4.4 7.0 1.8 3.1
Very Long
(11+ Yds.)
0 --- 0.0% --- --- --- ---
Left
End
4 75.0% 50.0% 9.2 7.0 6.9 3.5
Left
Tackle
3 33.3% 28.6% 7.0 28.0 2.3 8.0
Middle 17 40.0% 48.3% 1.3 4.4 0.5 2.1
Right
Tackle
2 0.0% 20.0% --- 0.5 --- 0.1
Right
End
6 50.0% 54.5% 2.0 1.8 1.0 1.0

Observations

Echoing the previous chart, all of the Tide’s explosive rushing plays happened over the left side behind big Cam Robinson and Ross Pierschbacher. Runs behind the struggling Alphonse Taylor and Dominick Jackson were significantly less successful, although the right end runs were in line with seasonal averages at least. Runs up the middle were very poor bets, with the backs putting up an RBR less than a quarter of their seasonal average.

Individual RB Stats
Player Atts. S. Rate Opp. Rate HLT Yds. /
Opp.
RBR LY/Att.
VS.
OLE
MISS
VS.
OLE
MISS
2015
Season
VS.
OLE
MISS
2015
Season
VS.
OLE
MISS
2015
Season
VS.
OLE
MISS
2015
Season
VS.
OLE
MISS
2015
Season
Henry, Derrick 21 42.9% 55.6% 52.6% 48.7% 4.4 7.5 2.3 3.7 3.6 3.4
Drake, Kenyan 10 40.0% 45.5% 30.0% 40.9% 1.3 2.3 0.4 1.0 2.2 2.9

Observations

Derrick Henry, while not as dominant as he had been through two games, was significantly more effective than I had anticipated when previewing this game. He even hit the second level a bit more often then usual, which is amazing considering the quality of this defensive front. Kenyan Drake had a bit rougher go of it, as between-the-tackles running is not really his forte and the speed of Ole Miss’ linebackers and secondary made runs around the edge a bit harder to pull off.

Quarterback Performance

Map of Quarterbacking Excellence
Air Yards Metric Left Middle Right Totals
17 9 22 48
Behind
L.O.S
Comp. % 0/0 (---) 5/5 (100.0%) 3/4 (75.0%) 9
S. Rate --- 20.0% 50.0%
iPPP --- 2.5 1.1
0-5
Yards
Comp. % 3/4 (75.0%) 3/3 (100.0%) 4/6 (66.7%) 13
S. Rate 25.0% 33.3% 50.0%
iPPP 1.1 1.0 0.8
6-10
Yards
Comp. % 1/3 (33.3%) 0/0 (---) 1/3 (33.3%) 6
S. Rate 0.0% --- 33.3%
iPPP --- --- 1.0
11-15
Yards
Comp. % 2/3 (66.7%) 0/1 (0.0%) 2/3 (66.7%) 7
S. Rate 66.7% 0.0% 66.7%
iPPP 1.4 --- 0.9
16+ Yards
Comp. % 2/7 (28.6%) 0/0 (---) 1/6 (16.7%) 13
S. Rate 28.6% --- 16.7%
iPPP 1.6 --- 1.7

Observations

The Tide ran four of those jet sweep pass deals that are really just glorified handoffs, and this time none of them worked. The only successful play thrown behind the line of scrimmage to the middle of the field was a little swing pass to Howard from the left hash in the first quarter, which went for 30 yards. Accuracy close to the line was good overall, but anything beyond that was extremely dicey. Deep throws were horrendous in this one, with Cooper Bateman and Jake Coker combining to go 3/13 for two interceptions and at least one other ball that should have been intercepted. All four completions in the 11-15 yard row were all third down attempts thrown exactly 11 yards.

Incompletions Breakdown
Type Count Percent of Total
VS.
OLE
MISS
VS.
OLE
MISS
2015
Season
Misfires 11 22.4% 19.8%
Defensive Wins 8 16.3% 14.9%
Drops 3 6.1% 5.0%
Offensive Errors 0 0.0% 1.0%
Penalties 0 0.0% 1.0%

Observations

At some point I need to run these numbers on the 2013 and 2014 seasons for context, because I feel like the accuracy out of these two quarterbacks is pretty poor. The increased rate on defensive wins is understandable given the quality of Ole Miss’ secondary, but the misfire rate is beginning to look kind of high. What this chart is saying at this point is the Tide quarterbacks only complete about 58% of their passes in non-garbage time, which needs to go up, and quickly.

Pass Splits by Down and Distance
Metric Attempts Pass % S. Rate iPPP
VS.
OLE
MISS
VS.
OLE
MISS
2015
Season
VS.
OLE
MISS
2015
Season
VS.
OLE
MISS
2015
Season
All Passes 49 57.0% 56.7% 32.7% 36.6% 1.2 1.6
1st 13 37.1% 50.6% 7.7% 41.9% 1.8 1.9
2nd 20 62.5% 75.9% 45.0% 35.5% 1.3 1.4
3rd 13 81.3% 53.4% 46.2% 31.8% 1.1 1.1
Short
(0-3 Yds.)
4 36.4% 21.1% 50.0% 50.0% 0.4 0.4
Medium
(4-6 Yds.)
5 55.6% 41.7% 40.0% 40.0% 1.2 1.0
Long
(7-10 Yds.)
33 55.9% 61.2% 30.3% 36.6% 1.3 1.7
Very Long
(11+ Yds.)
7 100.0% 84.2% 28.6% 31.3% 1.6 1.9

Observations

As noted during the rushing discussion, passing was required in the later downs due to the lack of first down success rate, and that’s reflected in the Tide passing over 80% of the time on third down. Success rates were actually higher than normal on 2nd and 3rd down, at comparable levels of explosiveness to seasonal trends, which is encouraging. With Ole Miss locking down on any first down plays however, the overall success rate was lower, with the iPPP being 25% lower than the 2015 average.

Receiver Performance

Individual WR Stats
Player Targets Catch Rate YAC/Catch Pts./Target
VS.
OLE
MISS
VS.
OLE
MISS
2015
Season
VS.
OLE
MISS
2015
Season
VS.
OLE
MISS
2015
Season
Mullaney, Richard 14 35.7% 50.0% 2.4 3.8 0.4 0.6
Stewart, ArDarius 10 70.0% 50.7% 3.4 4.4 0.5 0.3
Ridley, Calvin 7 71.4% 66.7% 2.4 2.2 0.4 0.3
Howard, O.J. 6 50.0% 66.7% 10.7 9.5 0.6 1.0
Henry, Derrick 6 83.3% 77.8% 10.0 9.9 0.6 0.6

Observations

It was abundantly clear, particularly with the loss of Robert Foster for the year, that Richard Mullaney is the Tide’s go-to receiver in crunch time. Including the one garbage time drive, Mullaney was targeted 17 times in this game, with over half of those targets coming on third and fourth downs. His catch rate wasn’t very good, although that was hardly his fault as several balls were completely uncatchable, with several others forced into tight coverage when they shouldn’t have been. The one drop on the Tide’s final drive was excruciatingly bad, but unfortunately those kinds of things happen, even to veteran receivers like Mullaney. He seems to have a knack for finding open space right near the first down line, however — very reminiscent of former Tide receiver Kevin Norwood in that regard.

ArDarius Stewart continues to struggle, but in general had a better game this week, hauling in 7 of his 10 targets in non-garbage time. Calvin Ridley flashed more of his explosiveness, and this time when the game counted, as he looks to be the primary beneficiary of Foster’s injury. Howard caught everything it was possible for him to catch in this game, as the three misses were all horribly thrown balls. Henry continues to do good things catching the ball out of the backfield.

ROLL TIDE