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Option Advanced Stats Report: UNC

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Finally, some heavy A-back usage

Georgia Tech v North Carolina Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Despite some familiar statistical themes from earlier in the season, this game had a few firsts for the Tech offense this year. The A-backs got involved in a larger capacity and had big highlight yard numbers, the two primary B-backs had vastly different days, and the QBs put up disappointing numbers.

The performance overall was down from last week, unsurprisingly. It’s difficult to sustain those types of numbers, even against poorly rated run defenses. Tech struggled with the interior of the UNC’s defensive line, and the Tar Heels made the necessary adjustments to the speed option that Bud Foster did not. The resultant play type breakdown looks like this:

Data by Play

Play Count YPC Success Rate Stuff Rate Opportunity Rate Highlight Yards Per Opp
Play Count YPC Success Rate Stuff Rate Opportunity Rate Highlight Yards Per Opp
Triple 17 6.4 41.2% 17.6% 41.2% 7.8
Zone Dive 4 2.3 25.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0
Midline 3 8.0 100.0% 0.0% 66.7% 3.3
Counter Speed 1 4.0 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0
Trap 2 1.5 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0
Backside G/T Pull AB Counter 3 13.7 33.3% 0.0% 33.3% 28.0
Toss 10 6.0 60.0% 10.0% 50.0% 4.0
QB Follow 12 4.5 41.7% 16.7% 33.3% 4.6
QB Draw 1 -3.0 0.0% 100.0% 0.0% 0
Speed Option 16 7.7 56.3% 6.3% 50.0% 7.4
Playside G Pull AB Counter 3 12.3 66.7% 0.0% 66.7% 10.0
QB Sweep 1 3.0 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0

Looking at the volume plays, Speed option was down a bit but still successful, but Triple’s numbers were way down. The success rate for Triple runs dropped by over 20% from the previous week. Part of that is due to interior struggles, as the Dive success rate on Triples dropped off while Keeps and Pitches maintained a 50% success rate on those plays. The good news was on tosses: 60% success across 10 tosses is a huge improvement for this team. The toss hasn’t been particularly successful for a while, and to see it re-emerge is a huge boon to this team.

The Zone Dive was abysmal, and it showed in the B-back numbers. B-backs only generated 54 highlight yards this game, with Jerry Howard accumulating most of them on one play.

The offense simply worked better as it moved outward, and the keep/pitch data showed it:

Data for Option Keeps

Play Count YPC Success Rate Stuff Rate Opportunity Rate Highlight Yards Per Opp
Play Count YPC Success Rate Stuff Rate Opportunity Rate Highlight Yards Per Opp
Triple 6 10.8 50.0% 33.3% 50.0% 16.0
Midline 1 4.0 100.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0
Speed Option 7 5.9 42.9% 0.0% 57.1% 2.9

Data for Pitches

Play Count YPC Success Rate Stuff Rate Opportunity Rate Highlight Yards Per Opp
Play Count YPC Success Rate Stuff Rate Opportunity Rate Highlight Yards Per Opp
Triple 2 7.0 50.0% 0.0% 50.0% 4.0
Counter Speed 1 4.0 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0
Speed Option 4 16.5 50.0% 0.0% 75.0% 15.7

The dive data is bad. You’ll just have to take my word on that one.

Don’t pay too much attention to the Highlight Yards per Opportunity here, as there was some skewing due to one big Speed Option pitch to Howard and TaQuon Marshall’s big gain on an early Triple Keep. The Opportunity rates are the bigger story here.

Last week, CPJ repeatedly called speed options where the CB was the read man. Foster always had the CB stay outside, so Tobias Oliver kept keeping the ball. This week, UNC was more willing to fire the CB inside at Oliver, and he didn’t always pitch. When he did, it paid off to the tune of a ludicrous 75% opportunity rate. It could have been higher:

In both plays above, the pitch could have easily gone the 5 yards or more required for another opportunity. Now, it’s impossible to know what Oliver’s coach-imposed rules were here, but he pitched at other times in the game and Lynch seemed like he was looking for the ball in the first image. If Oliver gets the green light/makes the right reads, there is a lot of room for improvement.

Data by Player

Player Carries YPC Success Rate Stuff Rate Opportunity Rate Highlight Yards Per Opp Total Highlight Season Total vs FBS
Player Carries YPC Success Rate Stuff Rate Opportunity Rate Highlight Yards Per Opp Total Highlight Season Total vs FBS
Oliver 28 4.3 46.4% 14.3% 35.7% 3.2 32 301
Marshall 8 7.6 37.5% 37.5% 25.0% 23.5 47 295.5
Mason 12 3.0 25.0% 0.0% 16.7% 1.0 2 200
Howard 10 9.5 50.0% 10.0% 60.0% 9.0 54 156.5
Searcy 2 19.0 50.0% 0.0% 50.0% 28.0 28 136
Cottrell 9 10.1 77.8% 0.0% 77.8% 5.7 40 77.5
Lynch 5 4.4 40.0% 0.0% 20.0% 4.0 4 37

Time for everyone’s favorite QB controversy. Oliver retains the season lead in highlight yards despite Marshall running up a higher total in this game. Oliver’s rate stats were superior, but overall, neither QB put up great numbers.

Overall, the B-backs were lackluster, thanks in large part to poor blocking. Jerry Howard was the game’s highlight yards champ, mostly due to one big run. Mason had arguably his worst game of the year, but he remains third on the highlight yards leaderboard.

The big news was that the A-backs finally got involved. With the middle clogged up, the Jackets took to the edge. Cottrell more than doubled his season total for highlight yards, and the A-backs as a whole nearly beat the QBs for the highest highlight yards total for a position group in this game (the QBs narrowly won, 79-72). With teams likely to continue to key on the interior, continued strong performances on the edge will be required to sustain success.

Questions? QB-related comments? Anything you’d like to see covered in the future? Let us know!