Thursday, November 17, 2011

Rants from an idle coach #2

Meaningless end of year breakdowns

Nothing gets me to chuckle more then when a coach rattles off his end of year statistics with no caveats. They take all their games and lump all the stats together. They spout this play averaged this and that play averaged that. They had this % here and that percentage there. We led the league in this and we were last in the league in that. What gets lost in all of it is that it is an average. An accumulation of ALL your games - those against horrible opponents and those against the people you have to beat to win your league and district.

I remember when I first starting coaching listening to Woody Hayes talk about designing an offense. He talked about you start with your schedule and rank all your opponents from one to ten in terms of toughness to beat. Then you base your offense on beating the top 3 or 4 teams. That's it. Once you are done there you just make sure you're sound against everything else.

This logic really makes sense when you analyze it. If you can beat the 3 or 4 best teams on your schedule - you should have enough to beat the rest providing you're sound. (He did say that he also threw in the rivalary game as that usually meant somebody's job.) You shouldn't need any more.

Now let's take that to the statistics we talked about above. They should also be filtered in their use in analysis. Don't include your game with "Sister Mary's School for the Armless and Blind." Filter out your top three or 4 opponents and see what your stats we're against those teams only. If you average 50% conversion rate on 3rd and short for the year but only 20% against top competition - the 50% is a meaningless number and you better come up with some answers.

The same filters can be used in any aspect of football. I was just reading in "War Room" where Bill Bellichek thought that a key component to designing an offense to win the super bowl meant to design it to play in "playoff weather" in the Northeast. To analyze and tweak his system - he needed filter out his stats for games played in what he considered "playoff weather." Only then could he get a true meaning of the success of his offensive design.

So when yuo analyze your offense at the end of the year (or defense for that matter) or are listening to a coach espouse the statistical merits of going to his offense, take out the "give me's." You will get the same results vs. those weak schools regardless of what you run. The key is how you do / did vs. the games you must win.

Hope these rants make you think a little.

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