Saturday, August 21, 2010

2010 - The Year of the Defense

Earlier this year, we saw an article in the Dallas Morning News discussing how the Longhorn defense will be bigger and badder than even this year, in spite of the losses to the NFL of Earl Thomas and others. I don't disagree with the premise of that article. However, I submit to you that overall, the Big 12 will look better defensively this year, for three reasons: 1) offensive philosophies of Tommy Tuberville vs Mike Leach will reduce Texas Tech points and yards by 25% at least; 2) continued defensive maturation to battling spread offenses; and most importantly, 3) the degeneration of the field general in the Big 12. here's some tidbits of information for you:

  • Coming into the 2008 season, returning Big 12 quarterbacks had collectively 18 years of college starting experience. This year, it's eight.
  • For 8 of the Big 12 schools in 2008, their starting quarterback that year ended up being the career leader in passing yards for the school. The exceptions in that year were: Cash Machine U, Nebraska (Joe Ganz finished second); Baylor and Colorado, where Cody Hawkins is presently the third most prolific passer in terms of yards (let that sink in for a minute).
  • In 2010, how many of the starting QBs could end up with most yards in school history at the end of their careers? According to my review of career yards to date and class of the starting QB, there are three possibilities: a) Landry Jones; b) Jerrod Johnson; c) Robert Griffin; d) Garrett Gilbert, if he passes for 4,000+ yards/yr for the next three years.
  • The incoming starters for 2008 had collectively passes for 36,010 yards 272 TDs and 123 interceptions the previous year.
  • In 2010, those same figures are 19,506 yards, 138 TDs and 75 interceptions.
With the departures of Reesing, Bradford, Daniels, Harrell and McCoy over the last two years, the conference lost salty quarterbacks that stepped in as freshmen with almost immediate success. These quarterbacks allowed their coaches to be more aggressive offensively due to their low failure rates. Fast forward to 2010, you don't have near the pedigree of quarterbacks and they have less experience,and you're going to see more conservative play calling to minimize turnovers.

So, let's pronounce this the year of the defense now, and get it over with. In some ways, the Big 12 has wanted to be like the SEC, now here's our chance. Break out the jorts and the fried food people, it's time to party.

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