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Georgia Tech Football: Buster Faulkner By the Numbers

What kind of impact has Tech’s new OC had on his last four offenses?

NCAA Football: Georgia Tech at Georgia Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday, Georgia Tech hired Buster Faulkner as its new Offensive Coordinator. Ben offered a very detailed assessment of his past coaching stops that is well worth your time. Here, I wanted to offer some more summary metrics to try and quantify the impact that Faulkner has had in each of his most significant coaching roles.

We will take a look at PPA (an Expected Points metric from, overall success rate, run stuff rate allowed, and passing success rate. Each of these numbers tends to be moderately to highly correlated year over year, so they help us to see the real impact a coordinator might be making, instead of just looking at something like yards or points per game that can be misleading because of big changes in offensive pace or situation.

We have a database of 830 different offensive coordinator tenures beginning in the year 2000 that we can use to compare Faulkner’s impact. For each of these tenures, we look at the two years before the coordinator arrived to find a baseline of performance and then compare that to the metrics during the coordinator’s actual tenure to see the potential impact that the coordinator had. At UGA, we will use the same metrics for comparison, even though Faulkner has been in an Analyst role, not the actual Coordinator spot.

*Note - For Run Stuff rate, negative numbers are good, as it is better for the offense to allow a lower run stuff rate. Positive numbers are the goal for each of the other metrics.

Buster Faulkner Impact

Team Seasons Position PPA Impact PPA Impact Rank (out of 830 coordinator tenures) Success Rate Impact Run Stuff Rate Impact Passing Success Rate Impact
Team Seasons Position PPA Impact PPA Impact Rank (out of 830 coordinator tenures) Success Rate Impact Run Stuff Rate Impact Passing Success Rate Impact
Georgia 2020-2022 Offensive Analyst 0.02 406 0 -0.03 -0.02
Southern Mississippi 2019 Offensive Coordinator -0.01 514 -0.02 0.03 0.03
Arkansas State 2016-2018 Offensive Coordinator 0.01 436 -0.01 -0.02 0
Middle Tennessee 2012-2015 Offensive Coordinator 0.15 49 0.04 -0.04 0.04

Faulkner had an impressive impact during his tenure at Middle Tennessee State, which propelled him to a better G5 OC opportunity with Blake Anderson at Arkansas State. Since then, his tenures have had no discernible impact, as the offenses at his last three stops have maintained almost the exact same play by play output as before he took over. This is actually very similar to the pattern we saw when we did a similar analysis with Chip Long last year.

Georgia Tech’s recent offensive woes make it clear that a significant change is needed. As we’ve talked about during the coaching search, there are three primary inputs that are likely to change performance outcomes: talent acquisition, development, and deployment. Significant changes in talent level are unlikely for GT, at least in the short term. Faulkner has been lauded for his development work with Stetson Bennett, and his MTSU tenure demonstrated impressive quarterback development as well.

Brent Key has made a bug bet by turning over the keys of his offense to a coach who has never been a coordinator in the Power Five. He has one impressive offensive turnaround under his belt, but his last three stops have mostly been about status quo for each of those teams. Georgia Tech certainly cannot afford status quo on offense in this new era. Let’s hope that Faulkner’s MTSU development magic can re-appear as he arrives on the Flats.