Oklahoma State Football: Beyond the Box Score 2007

2007 was a year of emergence and disappearance in Stillwater.  The offense was supposed to dominate with Bobby Reid throwing to Adarius Bowman and handing off to Dontrell Savage, while a relatively young defense was supposed to struggle a bit.  A few injuries, collapses and tirades later, Zac Robinson was throwing to Dez Bryant and handing to Kendall Hunter.  The good news was that the emerging offensive threats were both good and younger than their predecessors.  The bad news was...the defense still stunk.

It's BTBS Day once again...time to figure out how good the offense really was, how bad the defense really was, and what's possibly changed for 2008.

Quick Stats Overview

(I mentioned during my '+' Concept post a couple weeks ago that a lot of the defensive averages were over 100...well, I've adjusted all those.  The national average on every one of these stats is now exactly 100.0.  Just so you know.)

Total Offense

OffEqPts+ (all plays): 150.77
OffS&P+ (all plays): 132.30
OffS&P+ (close games only): 141.12

Rushing Offense

OffRunEqPts+ (all): 147.82
OffRunS&P+ (all): 136.00
OffRunS&P+ (close):140.64

Passing Offense

OffPassEqPts+ (all): 139.88
OffPassS&P+ (all): 133.23
OffPassS&P+ (close):149.58

Total Defense

DefEqPts+ (all): 89.74
DefS&P+ (all): 90.88
DefS&P+ (close): 100.22

Rushing Defense

DefEqRunPts+ (all): 93.02
DefRunS&P+ (all): 100.28
DefRunS&P+ (close): 107.39

Passing Defense

DefEqPassPts+ (all): 65.50
DefPassS&P+ (all): 72.71
DefPassS&P+ (close): 75.96

Game-By-Game EqPts Scores

9/1: Georgia 30.9, Oklahoma State 16.4
9/8: Oklahoma State 33.5, Florida Atlantic 1.3
9/14: Troy 37.3, Oklahoma State 20.8
9/22: Oklahoma State 55.2, Texas Tech 46.2
9/29: Oklahoma State 37.1, Sam Houston State 9.3
10/13: Oklahoma State 47.3, Nebraska 15.6
10/20: Kansas State 36.4, Oklahoma State 32.1
11/3: Texas 38.0, Oklahoma State 32.2
11/10: Kansas 37.6, Oklahoma State 28.2
11/16: Oklahoma State 45.2, Baylor 11.7
11/23: Oklahoma 48.3, Oklahoma State 13.8
12/31: Oklahoma State 42.8, Indiana 27.8

Offense

Predicting when OSU was going to explode and when they were going to implode was tough to do last year.  Their EqPts+ performances ranged from 78.8 to 241.9.  Two of their worst EqPts+ performances of the season were against Georgia (83.4) and Oklahoma (81.0), which is somewhat predictable--OSU's biggest strength is its pure speed, and teams who could match that speed were able to dominate.  However, their very worst was against Texas A&M (78.8)...who was not known for their speed.  Meanwhile, their best performances were unpredictable as well.  They lit up Texas Tech so badly (241.9) that Mike Leach prompted his DC's resignation after the game.  They also put up a decent performance against a good Kansas defense (184.7...albeit a lot of their good plays came while playing from behind).  They also kept up with a reasonably fast Texas defense (178.0) and roughed up Indiana (170.9) real nice.  They ended up swinging an okay 109.4 against Troy, though the game was out of reach so fast that most of the stats were meaningless.  In all, their averages were obviously quite good, but the up and down nature of their performance held them back.

Situational Stats

Situationally, where was OSU most (and least) impressive?

Rushing: 54.9% / 0.41 PPP / 0.963 S&P
Passing: 42.6% / 0.47 PPP / 0.891 S&P

Rushing (Close): 55.1% / 0.38 PPP / 0.931 S&P
Passing (Close): 44.1% / 0.51 PPP / 0.947 S&P

1st Downs: 53.9% / 0.42 PPP / 0.956 S&P
2nd Downs: 45.5% / 0.39 PPP / 0.847 S&P
3rd Downs: 50.5% / 0.43 PPP / 0.938 S&P

Q1: 52.6% / 0.42 PPP / 0.949 S&P
Q2: 53.7% / 0.51 PPP / 1.050 S&P
Q3: 49.6% / 0.32 PPP / 0.819 S&P
Q4: 40.8% / 0.43 PPP / 0.834 S&P

Passing Downs: 33.3% / 0.32 PPP / 0.649 S&P
Non-Passing Downs: 56.6% / 0.47 PPP / 1.040 S&P

It seems that when the course of the game had not yet been dictated (1st downs, 1st half), OSU was a superb outstanding team.  When the game had been defined, and when OSU had a better idea of what they needed from the offense, the offense was average to above-average.  Keeping Zac Robinson out of uncomfortable situations seems key for OSU--that, and scoring a lot early.

Zac Robinson vs Bobby Reid

I'm not going to lie--while watching the OSU v. Troy game, I thought Mike Gundy was a flaming idiot for replacing Bobby Reid with Zac Robinson as starting QB.  Robinson was okay, but Reid's potential was so much higher.  Well...I was wrong.

OSU Offense with Reid at QB

Rushing: 51.3% / 0.15 PPP / 0.660 S&P
Passing: 40.0% / 0.16 PPP / 0.556 S&P
TOTAL: 45.6% / 0.15 PPP / 0.607 S&P

Just no explosiveness whatsoever.

OSU Offense with Robinson at QB

Rushing: 56.4% / 0.39 PPP / 0.954 S&P
Passing: 44.8% / 0.57 PPP / 1.014 S&P
TOTAL: 51.7% / 0.46 PPP / 0.978 S&P

OSU's offense was about 50% better with Robinson behind center.  Now...part of this is a sample size thing--Reid only started two games, and one of them was against Georgia.  So looking at OSU's '+' performances for each QB...

Reid as starter: 115.0 EqPts+, 115.2 S&P+
Robinson as starter: 145.6 EqPts+, 126.1 S&P+

Not 50% better, but better nonetheless.

Adarius Bowman vs Dez Bryant

Heading into 2007, I remained a bit astonished that Adarius Bowman hadn't gone pro after 2006.  Of course, it turned out that his speed was a bit of an issue, not to mention some off-the-field issues, but he just looked like an NFL receiver.  By the end of the year, Bowman was hurt and Bryant had become a potential all-conference go-to WR.  How did they stack up?

Bowman: 80.3% / 1.17 PPP / 1.972 S&P
Bryant: 88.1% / 1.22 PPP / 2.101 S&P

Now...they used Bowman more in short routes at times, so that would explain the lower success rate.  But Bryant was every bit as explosive.  What about during close situations, when the game was somewhat on the line?

Bowman: 79.6% / 1.15 PPP / 1.941 S&P
Bryant: 88.9% / 1.34 PPP / 2.230 S&P

Take this for whatever it's worth, but it's a good sign for OSU in 2008.

Kendall Hunter vs Dontrell Savage

Savage was hobbled for parts of 2007, allowing freshman Kendall Hunter to get some playing time.  With Keith Toston (1.082 S&P) coming off of ACL surgery, Hunter appears to be ready for a showdown for #1 with JUCO transfer Beau Johnson (though Toston still has a shot).

ALL CARRIES

Savage: 40.7% / 0.60 PPP / 1.011 S&P
Hunter: 50.0% / 0.66 PPP / 1.163 S&P

CLOSE GAMES ONLY

Savage: 47.8% / 0.72 PPP / 1.195 S&P
Hunter: 42.9% / 0.75 PPP / 1.181 S&P

It's pretty clear that whoever is in OSU's backfield is going to be pretty successful, and Hunter's got the tools to be just as good as Savage.

It should also be mentioned that the Offensive Line (3.56 line yards per carry) returns mostly intact.  The 2008 OSU offense should be every bit as good as the 2007 version, unless departed Offensive Coordinator Larry Fedora really made that much of a difference.

Defense

The OSU defense had its moments--completely wiping out what turned out to be a decent Florida Atlantic offense (181.7 DefEqPts+), humiliating Nebraska  (131.5 DefEqPts+) in every facet of the game (offense, defense, special teams, ankle-taping, post-game meal, etc.), thumping Baylor (114.4 DefEqPts+) worse than most teams--but for the most part they established the same level of consistent mediocrity that afflicted Nebraska in '07 (though they were better than NU).  Looking at DefEqPts+, they landed between 81 and 99 in 9 of 13 games, with especially poor performances coming against Kansas State (81.3) and Oklahoma (81.1).  As you'll see below, their woes came mostly against the pass.  Their situational stats paint the same picture.

Situational Stats

Rushing: 45.0% / 0.34 PPP / 0.793 S&P
Passing: 46.9% / 0.41 PPP / 0.877 S&P

Rushing (close): 44.2% / 0.37 PPP / 0.814 S&P
Passing (close): 51.5% / 0.47 PPP / 0.989 S&P

1st Downs: 48.2% / 0.44 PPP / 0.919 S&P
2nd Downs: 50.0% / 0.46 PPP / 0.964 S&P
3rd Downs: 45.5% / 0.33 PPP / 0.782 S&P

Q1: 39.8% / 0.27 PPP / 0.672 S&P
Q2: 50.0% / 0.51 PPP /
1.013 S&P
Q3: 61.4% / 0.49 PPP /
1.107 S&P
Q4: 52.3% / 0.56 PPP /
1.079 S&P

Passing Downs: 37.9% / 0.32 PPP / 0.702 S&P
Non-Passing Downs: 52.1% / 0.47 PPP / 0.987 S&P

Two things stand out to me in these stats.

1) I haven't been doing this a tremendously long time by any means, but I don't think I've EVER seen such weird by-quarter stats.  How is a team that good in the first 15 minutes of the game and that atrocious in the final 45?  Good gameplanning and horrible in-game adjustments?  Worst conditioning ever?  That's all I can come up with.

2) A 37.9% success rate on passing downs is entirely too high.  This appears to have been a defense with some significant amount of discipline problems.

Remember how I said yesterday that this a defense that returns most of its secondary and loses a good portion of its D-Line experience?  I'd be a lot more confident in Oklahoma State if the opposite were the case.  However...none of the guys they lost are altogether irreplaceable.  Nathan Peterson and Marque Fountain (9 combined sacks) were good, but not amazing.  Donovan Woods, Jeremy Nethon, Chris Collins, and Rodrick Johnson were serviceable, but not much more than that.

Summary

Really, the key to Oklahoma State's 2008 season isn't any of my numbers, it's PS#'s.  Phil Steele followers will know that PS#'s are Steele's coordinated recruit rankings.  OSU has begun to put together quite a few strong PS#'s over the last couple of years.  WR Dez Bryant?  PS#5 (i.e. the #5 WR of his class).  New RB Beau Johnson?  PS#7.  DE Richetti Jones?  PS#9.  CB Perrish Cox?  PS#12.  WR William Cole?  PS#25.  Ugo Chinasa?  PS#31.  DE Derek Burton?  PS#38.  Mike Gundy has pulled together a deep amount of not only strong athletes but pretty highly-touted guys.  It's time those guys start producing.  And if the defensive guys on that list step up, OSU might not be able to win string a bunch of wins together and take the South, but they can win any individual game on the schedule...against Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, whoever.  But without some new playmakers on the line and some competition in the secondary, a third straight 7-6 season seems ready to enter the books.

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