The good folks over at SB Nation's Football Study Hall charted approximately 30,000 plays from college football's 2013 season to get a better idea of what college football looked like last year.
The result is every stat minded coach's wet dream.
A lot of the information in the original piece has been compiled in graphs, so it's a little tougher to see the nuances, but there are a handful of results that both SB Nation, and I found absolutely fascinating.
- 38% of snaps started on the left hash, 38% started on the right, and 24% of snaps occurred between the hashes.
- 49% of all plays took place without a huddle. 51% occurred after breaking a huddle.
- 56% of all snaps came from the shotgun. 26% came from under center, and 18% came from the pistol alignment.
- 66% of snaps took place with one running back in the backfield, 24% from two-back formations, 6% from empty backfield sets, and 4% with three backs or more.
- 66% of first down passes were thrown in front of the sticks. Second down passes weren't far beind (64%), and 49% of third down passes, and 32% of fourth down passes were short of first down markers.
- After breaking one tackle, your average gain is 8.2 yards yards after catch. Breaking two tackles resulted in an average gain of 13.6 yards after catch, three broken tackles equaled nearly 20 YAC (19.8), and four resulted in 21.6 YAC.
- On "standard downs" 26% of pass attempts were play action of some kind, On obvious passing downs, only 11% of all passes were of the play action variety.
-56% of sacks happened inside of the pocket. 24% were classified as coverage sacks and 15% came from an untouched rusher.
- Quarterbacks and much more likely to scramble on third and fourth downs with the sticks 4+ yards away.
- Passes behind the line of scrimmage have an 80% completion rate, passes thrown 1-5 yards downfield are in the 70% completion range (with a 2% interception risk), and completion rates of 7-9 yards "drop dramatically" with an interception percentage of 5%. Throws of 35-46 yards cap off at 36% completions and have an interception rate as high as 36%.
With those hand picked stats in mind, here are five of my personal observations:
1) Both the right and left hash marks shared 38% of 30,000 snaps? That's impressive.
2) 15% of sacks came from untouched rushers? If you were a team that struggled in pass protection, you may want to take a close look at how many times someone came untouched and re-evaluate how you set your protections because that seems very high.
3) 66% of snaps coming from the shotgun shows just how much the spread has truly taken over in college football
4) The difference between one broken tackle and four is over 13 yards. Dedicate practice time to tackling. The more broken tackles, the happier offensive coordinators are, and the more pissed defensive coaches become.
5) I don't understand why 49% of third down passes are behind the sticks. Further, one third of all fourth down passes are short of the sticks? As an offensive guy myself, I'm very curious to hear the rationale as to why both of those numbers are so high.