Friday, August 27, 2010

Expectations of Murray: Stat Nerd Edition

If you can't tell by the title, this is going to be a journey through the potential pitfalls that looking at nothing but stats create. Since fantasy football has turned me into a stat whore, I rather enjoy wasting my time in the office trying to find out if Reggie Wayne is better at night in open air stadiums in December while wearing sleeves or at home during the day when playing an AFC South opponent in the rain. If you read this site with any regularity, you know Tesla and I feel stats are somewhat interesting, so on with the madness.

After talking with DT about his AM post, I thought it would be a great idea to try and wrap my head around what Aaron and the team might look like this year. In order to do that, I ran with the list Dawgola provided in the afforementioned post and manipulated it to reflect what a full season would like had they actually started every game.

In order to do that, I had to find out the breakouts of playcalls as well as what percentage of the offense each playcall represented. In other words, I had to find what percentage a team called a run or pass, and what percentage of the offensive yards with which they were associated. Here are some of the more surprising numbers:
  • On average, 60.53% of the playcalls were dedicated to the run, while that only accounted for about 47.24% of the total offense.
  • In 2006, Arkansas ran the ball 65% of the time, which accounted for 60% of the offense.
  • In 2007, South Carolina passed 50% of the time which accounted for 71% of their offensive total, while rushing half the time only accounted for 29% of their yards. Talk aboout TERRIBLE running game.
  • Last year for Kentucky was the year of the QB , wait not really. Quarterbacks passed 32% of the time and only accounted for about 39% of total yards. At least they knew Randall Cobb was their best player.
After I found out the numbers for all seven teams with freshman QB's I had to scale their stats up based on their % of the snaps relative to the number of offensive plays and the percentage associated with passing plays. For example:
  • Jarrett Lee attempted 269 passes in 2008, while his team totaled 391 while passing the ball about 38% of the time. So his snap were equivalent to 26.1% of the total 38% of passing downs, so I would scale his attempts up by a factor of 1.4535 in order to get him to a full season. Speaking of Jarrett Lee, he know's a little about this:

After I completed all of this, I averaged all totals together and came to a freshman index that I used to get Murray's averages for this year based on the projected averages of all other freshman QB's in the SEC since 2004. Here is what I came up with:
  • 161/298/2035/16 TD/14 INT, 24.8 Att/G, 54% Comp., 6.83 Yards per Att., 169.59 YPG
I thought it would also be a good idea to look at the past five years in Georgia football to come up with an average to see if these number would jive when compared to UGA's scheme. Here's what I found:
  • On average UGA runs the ball 55% of the time, while passing 45% of the time. This was almost exactly the national average of all football teams, which I also took the liberty to calculate.
  • The 55% of runs accounts for 42% of total offense, on average.
  • If you weren't already aware, Matt Stafford had a GREAT year in 2008 when his 48% of the playcalls comprised 65% of UGA's offense. I'm not sure, but I'd venture a guess that is a record for QB's.
I took these numbers and also projected Murray's stats for this year and then, based on rushing totals relative to passing I projected those as well.
  • 188/335/2608/20 TD/11 INT, 27.94 Att/G., 56% Comp., 7.78 YPA, 217.37 YPG
  • 417/1869, 34.78 Att/G., 4.48 YPC, 155.81 YPG
I also thought it was necessary to look at Stafford's totals and give a stat line based on his projected stats for his first year at the helm. Here is a look at those:
  • 180/342/2232/9 TD/17 INT, 28.48 Att/G., 53% Comp., 6.83 YPA, 186.02 YPG
  • 425/1542, 35.49 Att/G., 3.62 YPC, 128.5 YPG
Just to complete the rushing list, I'll also give you the line for Aaron based on freshman QB's.
  • 457/1822, 38.07 Att/G., 3.99 YPC, 151.85 YPG
If you'd like to take a look at my math feel free to do that here. In looking over these, I think some stick out as what I think would be accurate, while others seem to be way out of proportion.
  1. There is no way that we are only going to rush for 3.62 yards a carry in any situation. If we do, we'll end up at about 6-6 at best; our running backs aren't anywhere near that pedestrian.
  2. 2600 yards looks to be quite a tall order for Aaron as well. While it's possible I highly doubt he'll need that many for us to be effective. 22-2300 should do the trick if the running game is as good as we think.
  3. I think somewhere around 2200 yard mark should be very good for both Aaron and the running back corps.
  4. If any of these three situations came true, offensively we would rank 10th, 7th, and 10th in conference, respectively.
In my opinion, ideally Aaron passes around 28 times a game and we run around 38 times a game. With the quality of our running backs, I don't think its a stretch for them to average a little over 5 yards a carry, which will get us over 2300 hundred yard mark. I think that combined with the average projected freshman quarterback numbers from above would be a good benchmark for this season.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments.

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