Loaded for a Run, Statistically Speaking

By Jason Priestas on May 3, 2010 at 7:52 am
With less than 40 days until the bible drops, Phil Steele has slowed from his pace of dropping statistical breakdowns on the masses to concentrate on getting the thing out the door. Though the pace has slowed a bit, the quality has not suffered as one of his more recent posts takes a look at teams' returning offensive firepower.
Rank Team Conf Yards Ret
1 Boise State WAC 99.25%
2 Washington Pac-10 99.13%
3 North Carolina ACC 98.41%
4 Virginia Tech ACC 98.38%
5 Air Force MW 98.21%
6 Texas Tech Big 12 96.53%
7 Ohio State Big Ten 95.17%
8 Nebraska Big 12 94.90%
9 North Texas SUN 94.12%
10 Tulsa CUSA 93.29%
The Buckeyes check in 7th as you would expect from a team returning everyone save for Ray Small and Jake Ballard among those that contributed at least 100 yards of total offense in 2009. From a fan perspective, that is exciting stuff. It's hard not to let the mind wander to the fireworks a mature Pryor will help create, surrounded by capable and experienced teammates. But then you remember 2008, when the offense was returning a staggering 98% of its total yards from the previous season (Rob Schoenhoft being responsible for the bulk of that 2%). That unit, of course, got off to a rough start when star running back Beanie Wells went down with an injury in the opener. Two weeks later there was a new freshman quarterback, operating with just 60% of the playbook and the Buckeyes offense would take turns shining and sputtering the rest of the year. As that season so clearly shows, anything can happen, but the 99.25% of returning yards are a big reason why so many are high on Boise State heading into this fall. The Broncos lose only the services of TE/FB Richie Brockel and his 75 receiving yards from 2009 and will likely make a preseason appearance in the top three of both polls. Other notables from a Buckeye perspective:
  • #14 Indiana - 92.30%
  • #20 Wisconsin - 90.43%
  • #23 Alabama - 89.59% (It's not too early to look ahead is it?)
  • #25 Iowa - 88.13%
  • #38 Michigan State - 83.35%
  • #50 Michigan - 76.28%
  • #85 Penn State - 54.15%
  • #113 Florida - 34.17% /Nelson Muntz'd
Steele also recently took a look at opponent winning percentages from 2009 in trying to illustrate what goes into crafting strength of schedule rankings. The Buckeyes check in 57th in this metric, with their 2010 opponents finishing .526 last season. The Wolverines are 27th, but benefit from most teams on their schedule earning automatics against them, so that's pretty much a six game swing or so.

The Pups are Gone

Though the 2010 NFL draft wasn't a typical Ohio State affair with no players taken before the fourth round and only four selected overall, that group as well as the sizable contingent that signed signed contracts with clubs is starting to get to know their new towns. In Philadelphia, most everyone is thinking Kurt Coleman will have to make an impact on special teams before he can try to earn time in the secondary. He did get a number -- 42 -- that would please Douglas Adams, so there's that. Thad Gibson is earning the canned kindness that coaches generally shower on new draft picks, but this Post Gazette article is worth linking if only to reprint the beautiful (and mostly accurate) opener:
Linebacker U? Penn State deservedly holds the title. The Steelers issue post-graduate degrees, and three more will enroll this weekend.
We'll give the Steelers theirs, but I think the Linebacker U part is still up for debate.