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StatTiger

Notes on offensive consistency

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  • From 1990-2008 Auburn is 87-1 in games the Tigers score at least 30 points during regulation. From 2009-2016 Auburn is 51-4, which is a strong indicator of poor defensive play. Thankfully, this season Auburn is putting up defensive numbers we have not witnessed since the 2008 season.
 
  • The statistical goal is to score on 33% of your offensive possessions. From 1992-2008 Auburn compiled a record of 95-6-1 (.936) when doing so. Under Gus Malzahn Auburn is 54-7 (.885), when scoring on at least 33% of its offensive possessions. Again, the additional losses have more to do with an inadequate defense than offense.
 
  • Staying on the theme of scoring on 33% of their possessions, the Tigers from 1992-2008, scored on 33% of their possessions, which included 24.1% touchdowns. Under Gus Malzahn, the Auburn offense has scored on 42.8% of their offensive possessions, including a TD percentage of 32.0%.
 
  • How frequently has Auburn scored on 33% of their possessions during a game? From 1992-2008, Auburn did it 49.5% of the time. Under  Malzahn the Auburn offense has done it 70.9% of the time. Bottom line, his offense has given Auburn a far great opportunity of winning than prior to his arrival. What Auburn has lacked until this season under Malzahn was a defense capable of winning football games.
 
  • For those focusing on the third quarter, Bobby Petrino's offense has scored 77 points in the first period, 100 points during the second quarter and 61 points during the third quarter. Is this a lull or defect in his offense this season? No. The bottom line is scoring enough points to win the game, regardless of what quarters the points arrive. During Auburn's previous 10 conference games prior to the Mississippi State game, Auburn averaged 21 points per game. If someone told me prior to the MSU game Auburn would score 38 on the road against Mississippi State, I would have taken it in a heart beat. I have no doubt if the score was 35-28 at halftime, Malzahn-Rhett Lashlee would have continued being aggressive on offense during the second-half. 

 

The Mississippi State Game:

 

  • For those focusing on the second half of the Mississippi State game, it is important to remember the context of the game. Malzahn's No. 1 priority as head coach is to make sure the team wins, period. Leading 35-0 at halftime the mission was basically accomplished (Since 1981, Auburn is now 95-0, when leading by 17 or more points at halftime). The lead came primarily from a pass offense that generated five impact plays. Once the lead was there, it should have been expected to see a conservative approach.
 
  • Regardless of the conservative approach, which is basically the "identity" of this current offense, the second half still came down to execution. It also came down to the offense being on the field seven times during the first-half and only four times during the second half.
 
  • The first possession of the second half produced a first down, but stalled after White was sacked on 3rd down.
 
  • The second possession also netted a first down, but the drive ended after Pettway was ruled to have fumbled the ball.
 
  • The third drive began inside the Auburn 2-yard line. There was no way Lashlee was going to pass the ball in this situation with a 35-7 lead.
 
  • The fourth and final drive of the game resulted in a score and included a vertical pass of 19 yards to extend the drive.

 

So how do we define a lull or offensive drought?

  • Statistically speaking, the goal is to score on 33% of your possessions during a game. Auburn scored on 45.4 percent against Mississippi State so mission accomplished.
 
  • I define an offensive drought as Auburn failing to score on at least four consecutive possessions. That never occurred during the Mississippi State game.
 
  • From 1992-2016 Auburn has averaged 8.6 offensive droughts per season. The 1998 team had the most with 15 followed by the 2008 team that suffered 13. It breaks down to an average of 9.4 droughts per season without Gus Malzahn and 6.4 per season with Malzahn. The 2016 Auburn offense currently has three this season and they occurred against Clemson and Texas A&M.
 
  • From 1998-2008 Auburn has suffered 24 offensive droughts of at least 10 consecutive possessions without a score. Under  Malzahn (seven seasons), Auburn has suffered only six of those droughts, with the last one occurring during the 2014 season. The longest drought during the past two seasons was seven consecutive possessions without a score.

 

Final Thoughts:

  • Through half the regular season over 74 percent of the total yardage gained on offense has been compiled by an underclassmen. This is a young offense still working towards establishing their identity as a unit. I thought they did an exceptional job of overcoming the interception on their first possession to bounce back with 28 points and 335 yards of offense during the first-half of the MSU game.
 
  • Red zone offense and first down play selection have been my two primary concerns offensively.
 
  • Auburn has been very efficient and successful throwing the ball beyond 10 yards of the line of scrimmage, but has not been aggressive in calling more of them. There has been a slight increase since Rhett Lashlee took over the offense and,  hopefully, that trend will continue.
 
  • For the season Auburn has scored on 41.1 percent of its possessions, slightly down from the 44.9 percent during the 2013 season.
 
  • The running game is better than 2015, but it won't be explosive because of the style of RB's Auburn has this season. The Tigers' major explosive plays will have to come from the passing game. We witnessed the ability during the first half of the MSU game, but Malzahn was content with a 35-0 lead. Like it or not, his job is to win games and "style" points only matters when you are battling to be in the "top-4" of the polls. For now, I just want to see an offense that is consistent and executes well. This defense is good enough to hold everyone Auburn faces to under 30 points. From 2001-2008,Auburn won 37% of its games when held to 20 points or less. From 2009-2016 Auburn has won only 19% under the same situation.
 
  • I'm certainly not advocating sitting on a 14-point lead at halftime, but a 35-0 lead is a totally different situation. I have no doubt the Auburn coaches would have liked to see better execution from the second half, but I'm sure they were very pleased with how the offense & defense performed to build their 35-0 lead. It will be a good learning point for some of the young players that likely were not giving it 100% during the second-half after building a huge lead by halftime. It is nice to learn such a valuable lesson during a 24 point victory on the road in conference play. It is also nice to know a Gus Malzahn offense is 49-1, when leading by at least 10 at halftime. The lone defeat was to Florida State. 

 

Thoughts?
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Fair points and I agree and have harped that Gus just needs to win period.  So mission accomplished.  I would like to have seen the O score at least another TD or more in the 2nd half before going 100% conservative.

 

wde

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11 minutes ago, AUIH1 said:

Fair points and I agree and have harped that Gus just needs to win period.  So mission accomplished.  I would like to have seen the O score at least another TD or more in the 2nd half before going 100% conservative.

 

wde

We did score a TD but a holding penalty cancelled it. That play is a prime example of youthful players letting up. If JF3 sprints to the end zone, Jalen Harris doesn't have to resort to grabbing the defenders jersey on the edge. Because the QB strolled in, Harris was forced to hold the edge longer than he should have.

My only gripe from the second-half was not playing JF3 the entire second-half. How often will Auburn hold a 35-0 lead against a SEC opponent on the road? Wasted opportunity to get him some valuable reps. Of course it has been a long time since Auburn has held this kind of lead against a SEC team. Added to the lack of snaps against MSU, JF3 took 39 combined snaps against ASU and ULM but attempted ONE pass. Sean White SHOULD be the starter but it would be nice to see the #2 guy get some valuable playing time when the opportunity is there.

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Excellent points...particularly surrounding the 4 drives of 2nd half. IMO if any unit showed complacency in 2nd half it was the defense. But like you mentioned even though this was a win, there are still lessons to be learned about execution. Good read and on point as usual.

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4 minutes ago, StatTiger said:

We did score a TD but a holding penalty cancelled it. That play is a prime example of youthful players letting up. If JF3 sprints to the end zone, Jalen Harris doesn't have to resort to grabbing the defenders jersey on the edge. Because the QB strolled in, Harris was forced to hold the edge longer than he should have.

My only gripe from the second-half was not playing JF3 the entire second-half. How often will Auburn hold a 35-0 lead against a SEC opponent on the road? Wasted opportunity to get him some valuable reps. Of course it has been a long time since Auburn has held this kind of lead against a SEC team. Added to the lack of snaps against MSU, JF3 took 39 combined snaps against ASU and ULM but attempted ONE pass. Sean White SHOULD be the starter but it would be nice to see the #2 guy get some valuable playing time when the opportunity is there.

I hear you, but I wanted to see Sean at QB with the foot on the gas in the 3rd quarter for one for scoring drive before giving it up to JF3.  Also, knowing Gus' problems in the 3rd quarter with the O made we want to see the hammer down.  I understand that it was 35-0.

wde

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I know we as Auburn fans would love to see the team win in a blowout,but we may need to give moo state a little credit for our woes in the 2nd half.They were being embarrassed on their own field and may have just dug a little deeper and played a little  harder in the 2nd half.It's  also hard for team to keep their edge and intensity with a big lead.

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Just curious (and I understand your perspective here, but it is what it is), could you come up with Gus's W-L record while head coach at Auburn and break it up by 1st half only wins-losses and then entire game wins-losses.  Don't know if you have that kind of data and hopefully my question makes sense.  So I asking what Gus's record would be if the game was over at halftime, vs. what his overall record is for the entire game.  I could probably go game by game and figure it out, but I'm thinking you have a nice database to work from to make it easier.

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2 hours ago, StatTiger said:

My only gripe from the second-half was not playing JF3 the entire second-half. How often will Auburn hold a 35-0 lead against a SEC opponent on the road? Wasted opportunity to get him some valuable reps. Of course it has been a long time since Auburn has held this kind of lead against a SEC team. Added to the lack of snaps against MSU, JF3 took 39 combined snaps against ASU and ULM but attempted ONE pass. Sean White SHOULD be the starter but it would be nice to see the #2 guy get some valuable playing time when the opportunity is there

That was my gripe as well.  Thought it was a good opportunity to give JFIII a chance to run the O again not a SEC d.   We are one play from him having to take the reigns.  

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14 minutes ago, oracle79 said:

Just curious (and I understand your perspective here, but it is what it is), could you come up with Gus's W-L record while head coach at Auburn and break it up by 1st half only wins-losses and then entire game wins-losses.  Don't know if you have that kind of data and hopefully my question makes sense.  So I asking what Gus's record would be if the game was over at halftime, vs. what his overall record is for the entire game.  I could probably go game by game and figure it out, but I'm thinking you have a nice database to work from to make it easier.

At Auburn as HFC, Malzahn is...

24-4 when leading at halftime.

3-1 when tied.

4-10 when trailing at halftime.

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33 minutes ago, StatTiger said:

At Auburn as HFC, Malzahn is...

24-4 when leading at halftime.

3-1 when tied.

4-10 when trailing at halftime.

I did not realize it was that bad when trailing at the half.  

wde

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17 hours ago, StatTiger said:

At Auburn as HFC, Malzahn is...

24-4 when leading at halftime.

3-1 when tied.

4-10 when trailing at halftime.

Thanks Stat!  We're better when tied than i thought, but I figured you could pretty much turn off the TV if we were trailing.

 

Edited by oracle79
Bad Addition on my part.

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21 minutes ago, AUIH1 said:

I did not realize it was that bad when trailing at the half.  

wde

Dye was .302

Bowden was .391

Tuberville was .275

Chizik was .294

Malzahn is .286

 The last 3 coaches faced more ranked opponents.

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Great points as always. On the other hand, coming out in more of an attack mode might have allowed some throws to Stove, Craig, and other young guys. Gus has a tendency to go run heavy and very vanilla with big leads which is fine, but I like to see the young guys get some opportunities. Love the road win, though. 

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11 hours ago, StatTiger said:

Dye was .302

Bowden was .391

Tuberville was .275

Chizik was .294

Malzahn is .286

 The last 3 coaches faced more ranked opponents.

Thanks Stat.  You are the man.

 

wde

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14 hours ago, AUIH1 said:

I did not realize it was that bad when trailing at the half.  

wde

If there is one thing I have never liked about Gus it's that he can't adjust to save his life. The one exception was the 2010 Iron Bowl, and I'm inclined to believe the "knew our plays" theory because of the dramatic turn.

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We should also remember that every defensive coordinator makes defensive adjustments at halftime to try to counter what the opponent's offense is having success with. And any offensive coordinator *should* be anticipating the defensive adjustments and plan for attacking the weaknesses that the defensive adjustments open up. CGM seems to just run the same plays in the 3rd quarter that he ran in the first half, so it doesn't really surprise me when there is a "lull" in the 3rd. He can be really obstinate sometimes in adjusting his offense to counter defensive adjustments. But reality bites.

I haven't really analyzed the Miss State game. The second half was boring, but a win is a win. I too wish he had put JFIII in the game sooner. The Auburn D was not going to let Mooo U score 35+ points.

 

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26 minutes ago, AURex said:

CGM seems to just run the same plays in the 3rd quarter that he ran in the first half, so it doesn't really surprise me when there is a "lull" in the 3rd.

Truth.

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On October 10, 2016 at 5:53 PM, kd4au said:

I know we as Auburn fans would love to see the team win in a blowout,but we may need to give moo state a little credit for our woes in the 2nd half.They were being embarrassed on their own field and may have just dug a little deeper and played a little  harder in the 2nd half.It's  also hard for team to keep their edge and intensity with a big lead.

Or were we just playing too conservatively, which in turn made us more "softer" than we normally would? If we had kept up our intensity, they'd not have sniffed double digits at least. 

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It's all about anticipating and adjusting to the adjustments your opponent makes to your adjustments.  Easy peasy.

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On 10/10/2016 at 3:35 PM, AUIH1 said:

I hear you, but I wanted to see Sean at QB with the foot on the gas in the 3rd quarter for one for scoring drive before giving it up to JF3.  Also, knowing Gus' problems in the 3rd quarter with the O made we want to see the hammer down.  I understand that it was 35-0.

wde

Me too.  With a 35 of lead at the half why not let JF111 run some zone read (not just the handoff version) and mix in some short passes. With our D there wouldn't have been much of a threat of losing and we would have gained a lot of new information (as Gus would say).  I saw it as a wasted opportunity and that was my only disappointment in the game. 

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