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Topic: Best P5 Rush Defenses since 2000

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FearlessF

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Re: Best P5 Rush Defenses since 2000
« Reply #14 on: October 22, 2021, 11:07:55 AM »
if you can

many college QBs just aren't that good
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betarhoalphadelta

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Re: Best P5 Rush Defenses since 2000
« Reply #15 on: October 22, 2021, 12:04:27 PM »
This is all true but when you are looking at strengths and weaknesses, those are relative terms.  If I'm the OC at Ohio State and we are playing some hopeless MAC school we could probably beat them by passing every down or by running every down but I'd still want to know which they are relatively worse at defending. 

Conversely, if I were the OC at the hopeless MAC school playing Ohio State I'm realistically going to lose no matter what I do but I'd still want to know whether I'm like to have more success running or passing.  I agree to an extent, but not completely.  It is to your advantage to take with the defense gives you.  If they want to stack nine guys in the box every down to force you to pass then ok, PASS! 
Agreed, but I'd argue that NEARLY every one of the original defenses that OAM highlighted was at a talent level relative to their typical competition that it was similar to a hopeless MAC school lining up against them, most weeks. 

Many of them had strong rush defenses because they also had offenses that put up tons of points and teams were playing catch-up. 

My response to OAM was basically the same as yours--if the defense sells out against the run you SHOULD throw the ball, and if it sits in coverage to snuff out your pass game you SHOULD run the ball. 

But if the defense is so good that you can't do either, well you're screwed.

I recall that this was one of the issues that Purdue ran into as the B1G started going more spread-heavy and started recruiting to shut down passing offenses. In the 2005-2008 period, late Tiller era with Curtis Painter as QB, Purdue was just absolutely shredding our non-con patsies and middling B1G teams. But every time we got up against a big boy defense, they just walked their DBs up in press man coverage and defended us one on one, and we had no answer. We couldn't run because they weren't selling out against the pass. We couldn't pass because we didn't have the talent to defeat their DBs one on one. So, we took a lot of Ls against those big boy teams. 

Most of those defenses on his list are that good, so it becomes a moot point. You're not going to be successful doing anything against them, no matter what you think they are "giving you".

Cincydawg

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Re: Best P5 Rush Defenses since 2000
« Reply #16 on: October 22, 2021, 12:16:17 PM »
This is why I prefer ball control offenses, generally, they enable better defensive performance.

medinabuckeye1

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Re: Best P5 Rush Defenses since 2000
« Reply #17 on: October 22, 2021, 03:40:06 PM »
Agreed, but I'd argue that NEARLY every one of the original defenses that OAM highlighted was at a talent level relative to their typical competition that it was similar to a hopeless MAC school lining up against them, most weeks.

Many of them had strong rush defenses because they also had offenses that put up tons of points and teams were playing catch-up.

My response to OAM was basically the same as yours--if the defense sells out against the run you SHOULD throw the ball, and if it sits in coverage to snuff out your pass game you SHOULD run the ball.

But if the defense is so good that you can't do either, well you're screwed.

I recall that this was one of the issues that Purdue ran into as the B1G started going more spread-heavy and started recruiting to shut down passing offenses. In the 2005-2008 period, late Tiller era with Curtis Painter as QB, Purdue was just absolutely shredding our non-con patsies and middling B1G teams. But every time we got up against a big boy defense, they just walked their DBs up in press man coverage and defended us one on one, and we had no answer. We couldn't run because they weren't selling out against the pass. We couldn't pass because we didn't have the talent to defeat their DBs one on one. So, we took a lot of Ls against those big boy teams.

Most of those defenses on his list are that good, so it becomes a moot point. You're not going to be successful doing anything against them, no matter what you think they are "giving you".
To kinda buttress your point, according to ESPN, in 2006 Michigan gave up 516 rushing yards on 278 attempts but get this:  187 of those 516 yards (36%) were against one team and came on just 29 attempts (6.4 ypc).  If you back those out, the remainder is 329 yards on 249 attempts (1.3 ypc).  So yeah, most of their opponents were completely hopeless.  

Even the Buckeyes (the team that had 187 yards on 29 attempts) weren't able to consistently rush against them and didn't try all that much.  Antonio Pittman and Chris Wells each had a 50+ yard rushing TD in that game but those two runs alone accounted for 108 of tOSU's 187 rushing yards.  On the other 27 attempts the Buckeyes managed just 79 yards (2.9 ypc).  Those two long TD's accounted for well over half of tOSU's rushing total that night and an astounding 21% of the TOTAL rushing yards given up by Michigan all season.  

The Buckeyes' response was to not try to rush all that much.  They only had 29 attempts compared to 41 passes and remember that sacks and QB scrambles count as rushes.  Troy Smith had four carries for 12 yards and I frankly think that all four were called pass plays so in terms of called plays I think the Buckeyes had 25 runs and 45 passes.  

On top of that, Ohio State only trailed from the end of Michigan's first possession until the end of Ohio State's first possession (Michigan got the ball first and both teams scored on their first possession).  Then the game was tied until Ohio State scored their second TD with 12:22 to go in the second quarter.  For the rest of the game Ohio State was protecting leads of:
  • 7 from 42:22-36:01
  • 14 from 36:01-32:33
  • 7 from 32:33-30:20
  • 14 from 30:20-27:12
  • 7 from 27:12-23:25
  • 4 from 23:25-23:04
  • 11 from 23:04-14:41
  • 4 from 14:41-5:38
  • 11 from 5:38-2:16
  • 3 for the rest of the game 3 rushes for 16 yards

Preserving the lead and keeping the clock spinning was at least somewhat of a consideration for the Buckeyes (especially considering that remember this was Tressel) whereas none of Michigan's previous opponents had been in that position.  


Still, Michigan's 2006 Rush defense was amazing.  Compared to the rest of the league they were:
  • Best in ypc by almost a full yard 1.9 for M vs 2.8 for #2 PSU.  To get an idea of how big of a difference this is, #2 PSU was closer to #6 IA (3.6) and almost as close to #7 MSU (3.8) as they were to #1 M.  
  • Best in yards per game by giving less than half of #2.  M gave up 43 ypg while #2 PSU gave up 87.8.  Once again #2 PSU was about as close to #6/7 IA and MSU as they were to #1 M.  
  • Best in rush TD's allowed with just five.  
In passing they were pretty good but not great even by the standards of just the league that year:
  • Statistically tied with PSU and tOSU behind UW in ypa at 5.7.  UW was #1 at 4.7.  
  • 7th in YPG at 211.1.  
  • 6th in passing TD's allowed with 15.  
  • 4th in passer rating allowed.  
  • 1st in sacks but it was close.  M had 42, PSU was #2 with 38, tOSU was #3 with 37.  


All-in-all, Michigan's pass defense was good but it wasn't all-time great like their rush defense.  I still say that unless you are just god awful at passing I'd rather take my chances against Michigan's pretty good 2006 pass defense than against their all-time great 2006 rush defense.  

betarhoalphadelta

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Re: Best P5 Rush Defenses since 2000
« Reply #18 on: October 22, 2021, 03:46:57 PM »
Great analysis!

I would say one other thing... If you are the "hopeless" team in that scenario, I would think that the better option is to do your thing, regardless of what the defense is giving you.

If you're Wisconsin in that scenario against 2006 Michigan and they try to load the box, run the damn ball to set up play-action. It might not work, but it's your bread and butter. If you get away from your core competency, you're more likely to end up with turnovers than touchdowns...

If you're Purdue in that scenario against 2006 Michigan and they try to take the pass away to force you into the teeth of their run defense, keep on passing. You know you don't have a rushing attack that can beat their DL, so even if they're dropping 7-8 in coverage every play, you're probably better off trying to throw against it than going off script and suddenly being a running team. Passing gives you a chance because it's your thing.

If you're Ohio State and you're not hopeless, you can start thinking about taking what the defense gives you.

medinabuckeye1

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Re: Best P5 Rush Defenses since 2000
« Reply #19 on: October 22, 2021, 04:09:28 PM »
Great analysis!

I would say one other thing... If you are the "hopeless" team in that scenario, I would think that the better option is to do your thing, regardless of what the defense is giving you.

If you're Wisconsin in that scenario against 2006 Michigan and they try to load the box, run the damn ball to set up play-action. It might not work, but it's your bread and butter. If you get away from your core competency, you're more likely to end up with turnovers than touchdowns...

If you're Purdue in that scenario against 2006 Michigan and they try to take the pass away to force you into the teeth of their run defense, keep on passing. You know you don't have a rushing attack that can beat their DL, so even if they're dropping 7-8 in coverage every play, you're probably better off trying to throw against it than going off script and suddenly being a running team. Passing gives you a chance because it's your thing.

If you're Ohio State and you're not hopeless, you can start thinking about taking what the defense gives you.
Thank you.  

I conditionally agree.  I think it depends on how strongly "your thing" is your thing.  I mean, if you are an overly-sterotypical Wisconsin team that is phenomenal at rushing and basically clueless at passing or an overly-sterotypical Tiller-era Purdue team that is phenomenal at passing and basically clueless at rushing then you are stuck.  You have to do "your thing" no matter what the defense does both because it is your strength and because your weakness is REALLY weak.  OTOH, most teams, even most Wisconsin teams and most Tiller-era Purdue teams aren't THAT slanted to one thing or another.  

Similarly it depends on how big of a difference there is between the opponent's rushing and passing defenses.  If your opponent is a close #1 in the league against the rush and say #3 against the pass well that isn't THAT big of a difference.  Both a good but neither is all-time great.  

In my view the difference between Michigan's all-time great 2006 rushing defense and their "pretty good" 2006 passing defense was HUMONGOUS.  If you are a more typical mediocre team that is mediocre at both passing and rushing then it is just silly to bash your head against the brick wall that is Michigan's all-time great 2006 rushing defense when you would have at least a chance of success against their "pretty good" 2006 passing defense.  

OrangeAfroMan

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Re: Best P5 Rush Defenses since 2000
« Reply #20 on: October 23, 2021, 05:50:30 AM »
To kinda buttress your point, according to ESPN, in 2006 Michigan gave up 516 rushing yards on 278 attempts but get this:  187 of those 516 yards (36%) were against one team and came on just 29 attempts (6.4 ypc).  If you back those out, the remainder is 329 yards on 249 attempts (1.3 ypc).  So yeah, most of their opponents were completely hopeless. 

Even the Buckeyes (the team that had 187 yards on 29 attempts) weren't able to consistently rush against them and didn't try all that much.  Antonio Pittman and Chris Wells each had a 50+ yard rushing TD in that game but those two runs alone accounted for 108 of tOSU's 187 rushing yards.  On the other 27 attempts the Buckeyes managed just 79 yards (2.9 ypc).  Those two long TD's accounted for well over half of tOSU's rushing total that night and an astounding 21% of the TOTAL rushing yards given up by Michigan all season. 

The Buckeyes' response was to not try to rush all that much.  They only had 29 attempts compared to 41 passes and remember that sacks and QB scrambles count as rushes.  Troy Smith had four carries for 12 yards and I frankly think that all four were called pass plays so in terms of called plays I think the Buckeyes had 25 runs and 45 passes. 

Thank you for the deep dive.
The bold is where you're agreeing with me, though.  You can't have long, breakaway rushing TDs if you give up on the run.  That's the point. 
You call running plays every so often, knowing most will get stonewalled, but also knowing that the only way to get a fluke long gain or TD is by calling running plays.

Anyway, my overall point is to not purposely abandon the run or the pass, as becoming one-dimensional does the defense a massive favor.  You're just handing over one of their major goals going into the game.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2021, 06:03:16 AM by OrangeAfroMan »
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Cincydawg

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Re: Best P5 Rush Defenses since 2000
« Reply #21 on: October 23, 2021, 06:34:13 AM »
I idly wonder in recent history which P5 CFB contest had the most unbalanced run:pass ratio, to either side.  My guess is some teams are very pass happy, maybe 9:1?  Teams that are run happy tend to throw passes every so often, I'm thinking GaTech under the former coach, or Army, et al.

I'm guessing around 9:1 either way.

OrangeAfroMan

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Re: Best P5 Rush Defenses since 2000
« Reply #22 on: October 23, 2021, 11:11:55 AM »
Of the 1700-2000 different teams across all eras I've created for Whoa Nellie, none have had a pass-run ratio anywhere near 9:1.  A few dozen have had the opposite - running the ball over 90% of the time (option teams, obviously).
Pass-heavy teams tend to top out at around 65-70%.

This is part of why a "balanced" team shouldn't be looked at as a 50/50 ratio of pass to run....its nowhere near the mean or median. 
When teams are up 30 points entering the 4th quarter, they're running the ball, even if they're coached by June Jones or Mike Leach.
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Cincydawg

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Re: Best P5 Rush Defenses since 2000
« Reply #23 on: October 23, 2021, 07:00:38 PM »
I can see that, 9 passes for each running play would be hard to do, in part because a sack is the latter, but mostly nobody calls that many passes.


 

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