“Either we develop players really well, or those recruiting rankings are way off”
At Mississippi State’s campus Pro Day yesterday, Dan Mullen was asked about the guys participating in the Bulldogs Pro Day that weren’t necessarily highly recruited guys, some of whom have blossomed into potential first round picks, and NFL caliber players.
His response provided an alternative perspective that many may have never considered before around draft time.
“One of two things is happening. Either we develop players really well, or those recruiting rankings are way off. I don’t know, there’s probably a little bit of both in there.” Mullen noted.
As coaches, oftentimes when we look at programs that are winning at a high level without the four and five star recruits, we chalk it up to the coaching and support staffs really developing their players better than anyone else because most coaches say that the recruiting rankings don’t matter to them.
But as Mullen says, maybe the initial recruiting and star rankings are just way off…or maybe it’s a mix of both.
Video of the Day – Spring football begins in Lubbock
Thursday March 5, 2015
Video of the Day
Spring football begins in Lubbock
One statistic that virtually guarantees a winning season
Want to win games next season? Force more turnovers than your opponent. And in other news, water is wet, the sun is hot and that friggin’ dress was black and blue.
We all know that teams that can simultaneously force takeaways and limit giveaways are more likely to win games, but did you know just how powerful the turnover statistic is? So powerful that, at a certain point, the right turnover margin makes victory almost guaranteed. A year ago, SB Nation’s Bill Connelly revealed that teams that register a plus-four or greater turnover margin win more than 90 percent of the time, and often in a blowout. This makes sense.
But what about at a macro level? FootballScoop examined the last seven seasons of turnover margins and found that among the 53 teams that forced an average turnover margin of greater than one per game, 52 of them posted winning seasons. (Why seven seasons? That’s as far as back as the CFB Stats database goes.)
Fifty-two out of 53. Force a fraction more than one turnover per game than your opponent and your team has a 98.11% chance of a winning season.
Teams that master turnovers aren’t just winning, most of them are winning big. Fifty of them won eight or more games, 40 won nine or more games, 32 won 10 or more games, 27 of the 50 eligible teams (excluding independents Navy and Army and FBS transitional club UTSA) won or shared a conference or division championship, three went undefeated and two won national championships. The clubs listed below averaged 9.9 wins per season, and most of them took claimed some sort of hardware along the way.
Of the teams that forced 1.01-or-more turnovers per game than their opponents…..
98.11% had winning seasons
94.33% won at least 8 games
75.47% won at least 9 games
60.38% won at least 10 games
54% won at least a share of a conference or division championship
There are a number of examples of teams using an exceptional turnover margin to post historic seasons. Army’s only winning season since 1996, a 7-6 mark in 2010, can be explained third-best 1.23 turnover margin in 2010. Rice experienced a smattering of winning seasons in the 1990’s and early 2000’s, but the Owls’ 10-win season in 2008 was the programs first since 1949.They posted a 1.15 turnover margin that season. Buffalo’s only winning seasons over the past seven seasons, eight-win campaigns in 2008 and 2013, coincide with 1.43 and 1.15 turnover margins.
Even the lone outlier makes sense. A Baylor team led by first-year head coach Art Briles and quarterbacked by true freshman Robert Griffin III went 4-8 despite posting a fourth-best 1.33 turnover margin. Baylor has now completed five straight winning seasons and back-to-back Big 12 championships while posting an even 1.00 turnover margin in each season.
Every team in college football wants to force turnovers while preventing its own, and few prove capable. The 53 clubs listed below represent a notch above six percent of the total seasons played since 2008. But there is no surer bet on a Saturday and over the course of the fall to winning games and hosting a trophy than mastering the art of ball control.
2014 TO Margin Record Oregon* 1.53 13-2 Michigan State 1.46 11-2 TCU* 1.38 12-1 Georgia 1.23 10-3 Louisiana Tech^ 1.14 9-5 Arizona State 1.08 10-3 2013 TO Margin Record Houston 1.92 8-5 Louisville 1.31 12-1 Florida State*! 1.21 14-0 Oklahoma State 1.15 10-3 Buffalo 1.15 8-5 Missouri^ 1.14 12-2 Arizona State^ 1.07 10-4 2012 TO Margin Record Oregon 1.62 12-1 Boise State* 1.54 11-2 Kansas State* 1.54 11-2 Kent State^ 1.43 11-3 Mississippi State 1.23 8-5 LSU 1.23 10-3 UTSA 1.20 8-4 Fresno State* 1.15 9-4 Florida 1.15 11-2 Ohio 1.15 9-4 SMU 1.08 7-6 Northwestern 1.08 10-3 Louisiana Tech 1.08 9-3 2011 TO Margin Record Oklahoma State* 1.62 12-1 LSU* 1.43 13-1 Toledo^ 1.23 9-4 Houston^ 1.14 13-1 Wisconsin* 1.14 11-3 N.C. State 1.08 8-5 2010 TO Margin Record Virginia Tech^ 1.36 11-3 Tulsa^ 1.31 10-3 Army 1.23 7-6 Ohio State* 1.15 12-1 Maryland 1.15 9-4 Wisconsin* 1.08 11-2 2009 TO Margin Record Air Force 1.69 8-5 Rutgers 1.54 9-4 Boise State* 1.50 14-0 Alabama*! 1.36 14-0 Ohio State* 1.31 11-2 Arkansas 1.15 8-5 2008 TO Margin Record Oklahoma* 1.64 12-2 Florida*! 1.57 13-1 Buffalo^ 1.43 8-6 Baylor 1.33 4-8 Wake Forest 1.31 8-5 Ohio State* 1.23 10-3 California 1.15 9-4 Rice^ 1.15 10-3 Navy 1.15 8-5
* won or shared conference championship
^ won or shared division championship
! won national championship
Inside Scoop: Talking recruiting with Matt Dudek
Inside Scoop is back with Arizona’s director of on-campus recruiting Matt Dudek. The man behind Arizona’s recruiting efforts and social media branding, Dudek has been a frequent FootballScoop interview subject for some time now. This time around Scott and Matt discuss the lay of the land both in the Arizona program and the college football recruiting world at large.
A few of the topics:
– The over-the-top ridiculousness of Arizona’s Wildcat Olympics.
– How Rich Rodriguez emphasizes family in every aspect of the Wildcats’ program. The first thing visitors see upon entering the football offices is a photo of the entire staff with their families.
– “Something Coach Rodriguez asks in our recruiting meetings: does he play any other sports?” Why? It keeps a player in competition all year round versus devoting three months to games and nine months to workouts, and movements learned in basketball and baseball, for example, are things a kid won’t learn in football but prove useful on the gridiron nonetheless.
– How to rise in the recruiting industry, and more programs looking to hire women in recruiting and operations roles.
– Why Instagram is the most popular social media hangout of recruits, but Twitter is the preferred medium for recruiters.
Sark is adding a challenge to the end of spring practices to help finish games strong
Sark and his USC squad don’t take the field for another six months, but they’re already finding creative ways to simulate the end of games during spring practice.
After reflecting on their 2014 season and the tough losses that came in the final minutes, and realizing the impact that they had on the rest of the season, Sark and his staff decided something needed to be done.
“If we win those two games, we’re playing for a conference championship. You stop and think of the ramifications of that, of course we’re going to address that and get better.”
To remedy the situation, Sark and his staff decided to add a challenge at the end of practices to help simulate the final two minutes of regulation in the fall. In 2015, they’ll make sure their players are better prepared.
“We’re going to have a challenge at the end of every practice that will really exemplify the final two minutes of every game. We want to find who we can count on, and who those guys are that we can make plays in critical moments.”
“The defense came out today, and it was the best of five, the defense came out the first three plays and got off the field and won the game.” Sark noted.
“Hopefully, that idea of our ability to not only take the field and be excited and take the field at beginning of practice, but to also be our best at the most critical moment at the end of practice, and that’s something that we’re going to continue to work on.”