Ohio State on defense since 2007

thePhilipJFry's picture
December 11, 2013 at 4:28p
29 Comments

Stats man, stats.

This is what opponents have done on offense against Ohio State from 2007-2013 (per cfbstats.com)

  rating yards att comp int td td/int comp % ypa ypc carries rushing yards rushing td total td td/play plays
2013 129.6 3374 494 299 14  26  1.86  0.61  6.83  3.1  430  1334  8 34 0.037 924
2012 116.84 2922 457 267 14 15 1.07 0.58 6.39 3.55 392 1393 14 29 0.034 849
2011 126.75 2366 352 214 13 18 1.38 0.61 6.72 3.84 479 1840 13 31 0.037 831
2010 98.58 2152 385 207 19 9 0.47 0.54 5.59 3.1 404 1253 9 18 0.023 789
2009 95.75 2230 416 226 24 10 0.42 0.54 5.36 2.88 410 1180 8 18 0.022 826
2008 105.23 2386 440 253 15 12 0.80 0.58 5.42 3.53 406 1433 7 19 0.022 846
2007 98.74 1952 406 216 11 13 1.18 0.53 4.81 2.53 426 1077 3 16 0.019 832

Is Ohio State's defense broken and if so when did it break?

Broken is a strong word, but the defense is not up to its 2007-2010 standard.  Total touchdowns allowed shows 2007-2010 allowing 16-19 touchdowns per year.  2011-2013 saw 29-34 touchdowns per year.  If you think a defense should try to limit those touchdown thingies, Ohio State got much worse in 2011 and stayed there ever since.

Did the Tom Herman/Urban Meyer spread offense cause this?  Fast tempo leading to the defense out on the field more, leading to more touchdowns?

No.  While there is no argument from me that this could contribute to the defense allowing more touchdowns, this trend clearly started in 2011.  Jim Bollman was in charge of the Bauserman/Miller offense that was decidedly not up tempo.  In terms of plays faced, 2013 is the only year that stands out, 924 plays is significantly more plays than any other Buckeye defense faced.  2012 is probably deceptively small here as it contains 12 games while all others contain 13.  It is also why 2012 is the only defense in the past 3 seasons that gave up fewer than 30 touchdowns.  So the Herman/Meyer shiny new offense is putting the defense on the field against more plays.  If you look to touchdowns per play you see 2007-2010 living comfortably in 0.019-0.023 range, 2011-2013 is in the 0.034-0.037 range.  This is a step function change, it occurred in 2011, Herman and Meyer have solid alibis.  You should also note that the td/play stat doesn't get worse in 2012-13 as the number of plays faced per game increases.

So more touchdowns in 2011-2013, how did the team across the field do that?

Relative to the 2007-2010 defenses in terms of yards per carry (ypc), the 2011 defense was bad against the run, 2012 was ok-ish, and the 2013 defense was right in line with a good 2010 unit.  Rush defense has been getting better the past three years.  While the run defense got better, teams started throwing more.  More attempts, more completions, more touchdowns . . . same number of interceptions.  Completion percentage is noticeably higher, td/int ratio is higher, qb rating is higher, and the yards per attempt (ypa) is 1.35 higher in 2011-2013 than it was in 2007-2010. 
 

What about Withers defenses at North Carolina?

  rating  yards att comp int td td/int comp % ypa ypc carries rushing yards rushing td total td td/play plays
2011 unc 130.06 3137 455 277 14 24 1.71 0.61 6.89 3.56 452 1611 12 36 0.040 907
2010 unc 122.82 2768 431 259 19 23 1.21 0.60 6.42 3.71 440 1633 10 33 0.038 871
2009 unc 105.3 2262 396 232 19 10 0.53 0.59 5.71 2.83 439 1243 12 22 0.026 835
2008  unc 116.59 2938 466 287 20 15 0.75 0.62 6.30 3.74 484 1812 15 30 0.032 950

Other than 2009, that looks a whole lot like the 2011-2013 Ohio State defenses, possibly worse if rush defense is your thing.

So fire coach . . .

Not the intent of this post.  This is just the facts man, then my attempt to say what happened and when it happened.  This post is really just to see what the stats look like.  I threw Withers UNC defenses in because he was the defensive coordinator there and I wanted to see what they looked like when he was the man in charge.

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