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The Inherent Problem With the Offense

Colorado_helmet_medium          VS.       Eastern_washington_medium

I promised you yesterday that I would analyze CU and EWU's plays on first down and show you how many times the Buffs went backwards. Not one or two yard gains but backwards. Yesterday, I estimated on 8 first down opportunities that we had negative yards due to penalty or poor execution. Well, the total was 9. EWU had 4 total plays that they went backwards on. Here is a chart that I put together showing the first down plays and the associated yards gained.



Time of Game Play type Yards Time of Game Play type Yards
Qtr1 Rush 1 Qtr1 Rush 8
Qtr1 Pass 3 Qtr1 Rush -3
Qtr1 Pass 3 Qtr1 Pass 9
Qtr1 Pass 5 Qtr1 Penalty -5
Qtr1 Pass 6 Qtr1 Rush 1
Qtr1 Pass 0 Qtr1 Rush -1
Qtr2 Pass 0 Qtr2 Pass 0
Qtr2 Pass 6 Qtr2 Pass 9
Qtr2 Pass 8 Qtr2 Rush 9
Qtr2 Pass 8 Qtr2 Penalty -10
Qtr2 Rush 2 Qtr2 Rush 4
Qtr2 Pass 8 Qtr2 Rush -2
Qtr2 Rush 3 Qtr2 Pass 0
Qtr2 Pass 4 Qtr2 Pass 10
Qtr3 Pass 2 Qtr2 Rush 7
Qtr3 Rush 2 Qtr3 Rush 3
Qtr3 Penalty -10 Qtr3 Pass 11
Qtr3 Rush 0 Qtr3 Pass 0
Qtr3 Pass 0 Qtr3 Rush 3
Qtr4 Penalty -5 Qtr3 Rush -7
Qtr4 Pass 0 Qtr3 Rush -1
Qtr4 Pass -2 Qtr4 Pass 37
Qtr4 Pass 0 Qtr4 Rush 2
Qtr4 Pass 12 Qtr4 Pass -2
Qtr4 Rush 4 Qtr4 Rush 0
Qtr4 Penalty -15 Qtr4 Rush 0
Qtr4 Pass 0 Qtr4 Rush -3
Qtr4 Rush 6 Qtr4 Pass 13
Qtr4 Pass 5 Qtr4 Rush 2
Qtr4 Pass 9
Qtr4 Pass 15
Qtr4 INT 0
Negative Pass Plays 1 Negative Pass Plays 2
Negative Run Plays 0 Negative Run Plays 5
Negative Penalty Plays 3 Negative Penalty Plays 2
% of Negative Plays 12.5% % of Negative Plays 31.0%
Stand Deviation 5.753 Stand Deviation 8.56761
Stdev w/o Penalties 4.048 Stdev w/o Penalties 8.30885
Playcalling on First Down Playcalling on First Down
Run 7 21.9% Run          17 58.6%
Pass 21 65.6% Pass          10 34.5%
Penalty 3 9.4% Penalty            2 6.9%
Interception 1 3.1% Interception 0.0%


I know, not the best looking chart but it serves its purpose. Like I said yesterday EWU showed us how the run the spread offense. The goal of the spread offense is to get mismatches and one-on-one coverage on the perimeter all the while trying to spread the defense out to create running lanes. It is a quick hitter offense that is designed to get the ball in playmakers hands to make a play one-on-one. Look at the bottom of this chart. EWU had 4 plays, 3 of them penalties on first down that resulted in a 2nd and long which was 12.5% of their first down plays meaning 77.5% of the time they were moving forward on were still in manageable 2nd down position. You can see that in the first half EWU didn't have one negative play and only two incomplete passes on first down. That is efficient and that is why they were winning 21 - 7 at half time. Remember this is an FCS team against a FBS team. That is a heck of a consistent offense. On the flip side, our new spread offense managed to go backwards 9 times with only 2 as a result of penalty. The main concern was the rushing attack went backwards 5 times. Overall the Buffs went backwards 31.0% of the time on first down meaning we were fighting long yardage situations way too much yesterday. The Buffs ran the ball 17 total times on first down meaning that 29% of the time, the Buffs went backwards when they attempted to run the ball. Yes, overall the Buffs had some big plays sprinkled in on first down but if you take out the 34 yard pass completion to Scotty McKnight, the Buffs averaged 2 yards per play on first down...let me say that again, 2 yards per play on first down. I don't think that will get it done against the next couple of opponents.

How consistent were the Buffs? Going back to my nerdery and calculating standard deviation which is the variance around the average, the stat says that the Buffs averaged 2 yards per first down play and based on the 29 separate instances of plays, the Buffs were just as likely to go back 8 yards as they were to go forward 8 yards. Basically this means the Buffs were very hit and miss and not consistently controlling first down. EWU's deviation was 5 and 4 without the three penalties so they proved much more consistent when they had the ball.

Moral of the story...the Buffs' competition is rapidly going to get better, stronger and faster. Second and long situations will yield nothing against WVU, FSU and Texas. The Buffs need to figure out the running game and get some variability in their playcalling or else we are going to see Cody throw more interceptions trying to make plays.