Friday, August 22, 2008

Rushing against good run defenses....

Some skeptics have pointed out that Navy under CPJ accumulated a lot of rushing yards against very poor run defenses. In an absolute sense this is true. Of course Navy usually still had even lower-rated talent than those teams' defenses, but that's another story.

Looking at the stats I found that Navy only played one BCS-level top-10 rush D since 2004. However, facing this offense tends to screw up your rush D stats. Navy played two other teams that would have placed in the top ten without the Navy game included, and you can also throw in one of GSU's opponents under Mike Sewak. Here are the four teams and their rush D ranks with and without the Navy/GSU games:

School Year Rank Sans Navy/GSU
Wake 2007 #15 #5
BC 2006 #26 #8
ND 2004 #4 #1
UGA 2004 #15 #5

Here is what these teams' defenses averaged per game against their other opponents, and what Navy/GSU averaged against them:

Others Navy/GS Delta
Rush YPG 90.1 290.0 +199.9
Rush YPC 2.82 4.64 +1.78
Scoring 19.5 21.3 +1.8
Rush TD's 0.65 2.0 +1.35

Navy/GSU averaged just over 21 first downs per game -- varying from 17 to 24. None of the games were early blowout losses so they didn't spend much time facing backups.

Not to give false impressions, there have been a few games that Navy didn't move the ball in. Most notably they got completely shut down and shut out by the #17 rush D of Rutgers in 2006.

But then, even great championship teams with explosive offenses are shut down on offense sometimes. GT beat VT 6-3 in 1990.

More importantly, GT will never face the talent and size disadvantages that Navy and GSU did in these games.

The point is that Paul Johnson and Mike Sewak have repeatedly taken 1AA level players up against top notch D1A run defenses and shoved the ball down their throats in 90's Nebraska fashion. True, the Navy and GSU defenses lost the games, though they were respectable for their talent levels. But the offensive numbers would've been solid for teams with top-20 talent levels.

In 2009, if not this year, GT is gonna start hanging 350-400 rushing yards and 4-5 rushing TD's on some good defensive teams. Rival fans think that's just ludicrous and that it can't happen, but the evidence is pretty plain that it will. It really doesn't take a rocket scientist to transpose Navy's offense to GT's talent levels, and you can tell in interviews that many opposing coaches already know it's coming. Sooner or later their fans will be sitting with their faces in their hands in mournful disbelief as their title hopes evaporate.

Paul Johnson, Mike Sewak and the GT offensive coaches run the ball like Mike Leach and Norm Chow sling it, and that dominant running game helps their defenses and passing games more, too.

These guys are the gurus of the modern triple option and they have a national cult following among HS and small college coaches -- who will be sending a lot of tapes their way.

Tech has the best running game coaches in the country and now they on the big stage with chips on their shoulders, armed with top-15 dual-threat QB's and Parade All American running backs.

Johnson's Jackets are gonna take us for a very fun ride.