Hunt & Peck O

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Hunt & Peck O

Postby T-Dog 4 on Mon Oct 16, 2017 11:17 am

We’ve talked a lot on this board about how we seem to be surviving primarily on our half time adjustments and the guts of this special group of young men. My question is why does it take us an entire half every single week to make adjustments? I get the fact that play-calling is more art than science in that we have to see what the opponent’s D is giving us and respond. However, we pretty much know how teams who have defended us successfully have done it: stacking the box, taking away the FB, etc. I just cannot believe that as smart and experienced as our coaches are, that we are ever really surprised at how people defend us? I know we always want to run first and see whether the other team can stop our strengths, but we’ve also shown that we can throw the ball effectively and have some real bonafide playmakers at wide out/TE. Granted this “strategy” has worked so far, but it just seems like a dangerous (and highly predictable) strategy to go with every single week....isn’t it just a matter of time before this thinking puts us in a hole too deep to climb out of in the 2nd half? Why not adjust earlier? Why not start off with something different to get the opponent on their heels?
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Re: Hunt & Peck O

Postby 19TERRIER19 on Mon Oct 16, 2017 1:02 pm

Very fair assessments and questions. There are some multi-layered answers that I will contribute some but I would like to see others thoughts.
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Re: Hunt & Peck O

Postby youngterrier on Mon Oct 16, 2017 3:28 pm

I think we're over-reading things. Perfect games in which teams are shut out and we blow out the competition are rare.

Even the best offensive teams will only score about 50% of the time, and the best defenses will let the other team score about 20-25% of the time. It's infuriating to watch in the anecdote, but when you look at the macroscopic data it's just part of the game.

My hot take is that if we had the opportunity to play VMI, ETSU or Chattanooga early in the year and beat them handily, people would have a different perception of this team. We've played all of the best teams in the Socon this year and we've not had a chance to blow people out, so people think we're weak.
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Re: Hunt & Peck O

Postby Atldog7 on Mon Oct 16, 2017 3:36 pm

Fair point YT. Speaking of playmakers at TE, though, I wonder if there is a reason we have not gone to Gouger much this year (if at all). I believe he was our leading receiver last year although that is not saying much. Short of the throw to Garrison Moore this week, this is the least we have looked for the TE that I can recall. I realize we have great receivers and I love that we are utilizing them more but just like this week, the TE can be a devastating weapon out of the option when other teams stack the box. Perhaps other teams are game-planning for Gouger but I have not heard his name called very much this season.
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Re: Hunt & Peck O

Postby youngterrier on Mon Oct 16, 2017 3:40 pm

I think it's a number of factors: our wide outs and Blake Morgan have stepped up catching the ball and our passing game in terms of who got the ball last year was kind of random. I can see why Gouger hasn't gotten any receptions.
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Re: Hunt & Peck O

Postby Terrier13 on Mon Oct 16, 2017 3:55 pm

Eh... you can't tell me Gardner-Webb is some sort of powerhouse though. If you look at teams that win a lot of one possession games, there's certainly a large component of luck involved (most teams don't go 5-0 in one possession games without a little luck involved) and a reversion to mean should be expected. Hopefully we can pull things together and make games against VMI, UTC, and ETSU less stressful affairs because if we continue to put ourselves in one possession games late, eventually our luck is gonna run out.
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Re: Hunt & Peck O

Postby T-Dog 4 on Mon Oct 16, 2017 4:11 pm

YT, as our resident stats guru, I’m curious...what do the numbers show in terms of points we’ve scored in the 1st half vs. 2nd half? I hear you and completely agree that quality opponents have a lot to do with it, as do poor execution, turnovers, penalties, etc. I’m not suggesting that we should have blown anyone out or that we are immune from any of the mistakes just mentioned, but rather questioning why we seem to wait until halftime to make these game-changing adjustments? Is it tactical or something else?
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Re: Hunt & Peck O

Postby youngterrier on Mon Oct 16, 2017 7:21 pm

Well, my general thesis with any team, no matter who they are or how good they are is that there's a general baseline of expectations we can have about offensive or defensive performance. Play-to-play is a poor metric of judging how good a team is, as is quarter to quarter or half to half.

Every play is different, and though time is important when making playcalling the clock itself doesn't impact how players play on the field unless there's a hurry up. Other factors like the score can effect many things like motivation, and I think a lot of times when teams come out flat that's what fans talk about when saying they don't play a full game. If you'll notice, though, the "play a full game" criticism is kind of cliche.

Statistically, it's more likely that the bad plays/series happen because statistically they'll just happen. The timing component is only relevant to the outcome of the game. Take two of the Citadel's games this year for instance. Against Samford, they only scored twice on multiple possessions, but could have scored more (field goals), had they opted to. They were inefficient because of the timing of their inefficiency put them in a hole where they needed more points. On the flip side, Samford looked like a world beater, scoring 5 Touchdowns on the first five possessions...and no more for the rest of the game. Though I'm sure they took the foot off the gas a little after being up that much, I don't think they forgot to play football in those final 3 quarters. In statistical terms, they 'regressed" to the mean. Whenever you see a comeback or a hot shooter in basketball after a long, cold night, that's what it is.

Against us, the Citadel hit their average of scoring against comparable competition (two scores) in the first half. It was impressive, but they "regressed" to "who they were" just as we did in the second half.

I'll admit that the Gardner Webb game was our worst game (we made their good QB look better than he's been on average passing), but the difference was two turnovers that were effectively a 14 point swing. It could have easily been 34-17, but that's football. The difference between football and other sports is that one bad play can change the outcome of the game in a more-weighted way than others.

As for our particular problems, I'm worried about three things: on defense we don't get off the field when we need to, we're not getting enough pressure in the front 7, and though we don't turn the ball over a lot, when we do it's at opportune times.

Now, for our overall performance, one stat that jumps off the page is that we average 10.3 possessions a game and 4.5 scoring possessions a game. The latter stat is pretty average on first glance, but the former is a full possession less than the rest of the conference. Our offensive efficiency (ability to score points per possession per game, I kind of made up that category but it's helpful to understand offense) is third in the conference at 43.55% behind Western Carolina (46.67%) and Furman (51.47%). Meanwhile, our defense is about the median in terms of letting teams score on them, at about 30%.

So what does this tell us about our team? It tells us that we're effective scoring the ball, but not effective enough to run up the score (like Furman or Western). Our defense is solid in terms of limiting yardage and getting stops, but we haven't been solid enough in terms of getting teams off the field. If they were, we would probably have the ball for another possession or two per game. The offense can help what it does when it has the ball, but the total amount of possessions we have is (counter-intuitively) based upon how the defense plays.

Now, before I wrap up this little essay, don't get the wrong impression. Our defense is still solid as is our offense. Unlike other teams in the conference, we haven't played the worst offensive and defensive teams (statistically) on our schedule yet. We've played the toughest schedule easily. Though our OOC competition was lackluster, there's a good explanation why we didn't play GW as well as we should have and yet the score could have been worse (already given). With PC, we still won by 24 points, and PC is better than they have been recently; they also play a gameplan that eats clocks and suppresses the score.

These close games are a convergence on various factor. The Socon is tough, we made a couple bad mistakes in a couple games, yet we still managed to pull it off. So I'm not worried about us as I think we'll win the Socon (at least a tie). I fully expect us to blow out the last three teams on the schedule. We're going to see some regression to the mean in those games, and if we don't we're not the team we think we are.
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Re: Hunt & Peck O

Postby walliver on Wed Oct 18, 2017 11:54 am

Hunt and Peck has been a problem for years. Georgia Tech often has offensive problems for a series or two and then makes adjustments. Often it seems that our adjustments don't kick in until late in the 3d quarter.

It is unlikely we hold Samford to 2 scores, and it is essential our offense put up points in the first half, and more importantly avoid 3-and-outs. I watched the Samford-Citadel game and the Citadel kept going 3-and-out and their exhausted defense gave up 35 first half points. It wasn't pretty.
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Re: Hunt & Peck O

Postby T-Dog 4 on Wed Oct 18, 2017 2:05 pm

^+1. Philosophically, I feel like we are often just too quick to rationalize this pattern by saying things like “they just play the option well, hats off to them, they game-planned us well, or they’ve just got our number,” instead of changing. Everyone in the stadium knows what we are trying to do and knows we plan to pound FB up the gut until we can’t...so why not mix it up some earlier in the game? It has been said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting a different result. I recognize that statement may have a somewhat limited application in this setting, but it does capture a lot of the frustration we feel as invested fans.
Last edited by T-Dog 4 on Wed Oct 18, 2017 8:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Hunt & Peck O

Postby boulder3m on Wed Oct 18, 2017 7:33 pm

Amen, Brother T-Dog4! Tell it all. My frustration is the insanity of not changing when something is obvious. Whether it is changing gaps, etc. or the offensive philosophy, we need to figure it out in the booth and make the changes MUCH faster.
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