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July 10, 2009

The Relative Awfulness of the Oklahoma State Defense

Conventional wisdom says Oklahoma State had a rotten defense last year.  Just how bad was it?  I looked at OSU's final stats rankings and compared them with the defenses we saw last year.  None of these comparisons are good for the Pokes.
  • In total defense, OSU ranked 94 out of 120.  The only opponent we faced last year with worse numbers was Central Michigan (#105) who we scored 56 on.  
  • In rushing defense, OSU was a more respectable 52nd.  Of our opponents last year, only Auburn and Kentucky were worse at 55th and 57th respectively.
  • In scoring defense, they were 77th, ahead of only Central Michigan at 90th.
So, we should walk all over these guys right?  Those stats aren't bad, they're atrocious.  Georgia fans want Willie's head and he finished 22nd in total defense last year.  Imagine if we finished 94th.  It's simple then, Oklahoma State can't play defense.  Right?
Those defensive stats only show a confined, distinct measurement without context.  The actual picture is broader.  In factoring those terrible defensive stats, remember that OSU played the #2, #3, #4, #7, and #8 total offense last year.  They faced six of the top 10 scoring offenses.  They could have been Bama '92 and still given up big numbers just based on the offenses they played.  The best total offense we faced last year was UF at #15.  In fact, we only played two teams better than #50 last year, UF and Central Michigan.
So, those stats need a control.  How well did OSU's defense do when compared with their opponents' average yards gained?  Only three teams outperformed their season total offense average against the Pokes by more than 30 yards.  Texas Tech exceeded their average by 98 yards, Oregon by 80, and Texas A&M by 62.  Everyone else was right at or slightly below their season average.  Okie State held three other teams to more than 30 yards under their season average (Washington State, Houston, and Baylor).  In other words, the Pokes weren't awful last year.  They were just average.
All of this doesn't mean much because it is based on last year's numbers.  It's just that I've seen a bunch of folks assuming we will be able to score at will against OSU because of those awful rankings and it just isn't that simple.  
Bill Young is taking over the OSU defense this year after spending 2008 at Miami (who finished 26th in total defense last year and 56th in scoring defense).  Young is probably best known as John Cooper's defensive coordinator at Ohio State from 1988-1995.  He's confident is his crew, but with only six starters returning, the mediocrity of last year's play, and the installation of a new defensive scheme, I don't think the Pokes are going to be much improved from last year's average, but not awful, efforts on September 5th.  I still say we get our points, but it might not be quite as easy as some presume.



Andrew said...

Hey everyone, I'm trying to book a hotel in Oklahoma City the night before the game, and wondering if there is an "official" hotel in OKC where tons of UGA fans will be staying... I have searched the interwebs high and low and can't find anything. Any help is appreciated, thanks.

Anonymous said...

Damn Good Article. Why aren't you writing for the AJC?

Hunkering Hank said...

And, of course, the DAWGS will be breaking in a whole new offense...

MikeInValdosta said...

Excellent break down, Quinton. This is why we play the games.

Anonymous said...

I agree...great article! I'm an accountant so I like anything to do with stats/numbers. Just a heads up about how Vegas sees this game...early line shows us as a 3.5 point underdawg. I'm looking forward to an early season upset!

Anonymous said...

I believe it could be a double edge sword. The reason that the big 12 offenses are so good could be because the defenses are so bad but probably somewhere in the middle. Florida didn't seem to have trouble holding OU under 100 points.

JasonC said...

PWD did some travel stories a while back on Stillwater. Maybe you can check the archives or wait and I know PWD will do another one as the season draws near.

Unknown said...


I know nothing about OKC. I'm flying into Wichita and staying in Stillwater.

I know a little about Tulsa, but not much. Try or The DawgVent.

Unknown said...

Myself and several of my friends (all UGA alum/heavy tailgaters) are staying in OKC. Haven't really heard of where others are staying, but we're staying at the Hampton Inn in Bricktown;jsessionid=1QSRA2RVB1EUQCSGBJC4D4Q?moreDesc=true&ctyhocn=OKCBTHX
It's just been built, and a few of our group have points there. Last year, for a friend's wedding, we stayed at the Skirvin hotel which is right down the street and very nice. Both are in Bricktown, which is the best place to be in OKC (as far as my experiences go).

As far as the numbers go, I agree they needed to be taken in context. But there is also a tinge of circular logic that I'm sure we have all read about somewhere (SEC defense vs Big 12 offense). Do the great offenses of the Big 12 make the defenses subpar, or do the subpar defenses make the offenses look better? If you look at out of conference play, I think the answer is somewhat reasonably in between. Either way, I'm looking forward to being at this game, and think the Dawgs have at least an even chance to come away with an "upset". Let's not forget how similar the discussion posts looked last time we played Ok State.

skidawg1985 said...

UGA is not really breaking in a new offense. There are new players, but the offensive scheme remains the same. While there are game experience issues, it is not like learning a new system.

The OSU defense is learning a new system.

While it is easy to count starters returning, I think you also need to look at the playing time of the backups. The drop off might not be as great as one thinks.

rbubp said...

Those who are flying into Wichita, well, i live here, so I will pass along some thoughts. I'm going to assume you can all google addresses and hours:

Don't stay near the airport. It is dumpy and isolated. I recommend the Hotel at Old Town. Old Town is the best Wichita can do for an interesting part of town. It's a very nice hotel. Will run about $150 a night, i think, but the location cannot be beat for walking distance to food and after-5 wants.

If not there, the Wesley Hotel is an acceptable, sort of lower-end Marriot level hotel, and it is unbelievably cheap if you CALL for a rate (don't use online booking services--they add like $20/night the rate). Less than $60 in a good non-downtown location. Next to a Panera and a Walgreen's with several fast-food places caddy-corner.

Downtown, there's the Radisson. It won't be too expensive and it's very nice; the location is good but there is sparse after-5 restaurant and other retail near that spot. Good for in and out if you want a nice room at a very reasonable rate and are ok with driving to find food.

Things to do if you get in early--
with kids up to 15: Exploration Place is excellent. A science museum with a focus on interactive aviation exhibits and something for a variety of ages.

The Ulrich Museum of Art on the campus of Wichita State University. Modern & contemporary work; 100+ sculptures on campus. Campus sculpture tours available; free.

The Allen-Lambe House, original Frank Lloyd Wright design from 1919. An excellent example of prairie-style architecture. Must reserve in advance and book a tour.

Botanica, the botanical gardens, has a butterfly garden for younger kids and is generally a very nice, inexpensive, relaxing experience.

Old Cowtown has a working 19th-century prairie town with blacksmithing and the like.

Places to eat:
The Larkspur
Caffe Moderne (sandwiches, gelato, coffee)
N & J Cafe (Middle Eastern--Wichita has excellent Middle Eastern)
Mediterraean Grill (Middle Eastern)
Bella Luna (Meditteranean bistro)
Chester's Chophouse (steaks)
Jet BBQ--in an old fire station. Hard to find but worth it.
Connie's--Tex-Mex on the bad side of town. Excellent. Harrison Ford stopped here for a burrito when passing through a few years ago.
Bar (as close to Athens-style as we can get)--The Anchor. Looks like a biker bar, near all of our tattoo parlors and such. It's not; the subculture in Wichita is just really into tattoos. Think Johnny Cash and Social Distortion...

John From Texas said...

Well-played breakdown, Quinton. What you must remember about Oklahoma State, however, is that the Pokes ALWAYS have been soft defensively. They're known for second-half collapses (see Texas in 2004, Texas Tech in 2006 and Oklahoma in 2008). The reason for this? Honestly, I believe it's the style of spread offense guys like OSU's Mike Gundy and Mike Leach run at Texas Tech. Unlike Urban Meyer's style of balancing run and pass with the spread, their teams' abilities to score quickly via the pass puts their defenses in precarious situations, especially in second halves.

Honestly, if you were a blue-chip defensive lineman or linebacker, would you want to play for a defense in college that's on the field nearly as much as the officiating crew? And one that while the defensive unit is on the field, the head coach (Gundy in this case) is off the sidelines talking with his offense the whole time, seemingly not giving a rat's ass about the guys on the field?

Point is, the only reason some Georgia fans are squimish about this game is because it's a road opener and because Joe Cox hasn't started a game since Ole Miss in 2006. Barring gobs of turnovers or penalties from Georgia (hope we've seen the last of that horror movie), I expect this to be a somewhat close game just because it's the opener. But as we all know, defense is what wins games and right now I'd take Georgia's crew above 11 of the 12 defenses in the Big 12 (that excludes Oklahoma).
My prediction? Georgia 21, OSU 13.

MikeInValdosta said...

"that's on the field nearly as much as the officiating crew" excellent, John

Anthony Soprano said...

Very good article. Good sound points paired with some Georgia optimism. This is the kind of stuff that reminds me why I come back to this site for information day after day. You are a DGD Quinton.

dawgnotdog said...

With the AJCs recent run of articles eerily similar to stuff that has been online for a few days, I think he will be writing for them about next Wednesday.

Just without a byline.

PTC DAWG said...

IF we are a 3.5 dog on their field, it won't really be an upset. Bet UGA on the money line to win outright.

Hunkering Hank said...

Skidawg - I didn't say what you said, but, I meant to.

Uga VII in '08 said...

Know your Enemy! And yes, you might be a 3.5 point dawg.

Hobnail_Boot said...

8-0 in openers
30-4 on the road
33-3 non-conference

That's all I'm saying.

Muckbeast said...

8-0 in openers? That actually makes me nervous. I hate when we have an -0 on the bad side. Nothing lasts forever. :(

Anonymous said...

Picked up 14th recruit today...

Anonymous said...

wow - good luck.
no stafford, no moreno, no chance.

osu 56
geo 21

Anthony Soprano said...

Anon 1:31 AM,

Are you auditioning for SNL's new skit of "OSU Superfans"? Good luck with the Chicago accent.

Anonymous said...


Good post. Thanks for keeping this game circled.

I think our offense will be more disciplined this year since it won't be relying on low-percentage pass plays as much (or at least I hope it won't). I'm not excited about the merry-go-round running back idea (which seems to be the default approach to RB at UGA), but all of the players there were VHT (in Steelese).

I don't agree with our offense being described in the comments as "breaking in ... new" when we're so experienced at OL and have the best WR in the league.

Everything hinges on our defense improving its discipline, tackling, etc.

I agree with John above. Something like 21-14, 17-14 is my feeling.

- Gen Stoonagle

PTC DAWG said...


Anonymous said...

sec sucks. stupid georgia peach fuzz hillbillies.

Anonymous said...

Apparently jealousy runs rampant in the midwest! The Big 12 is an overrated conference and it will be exposed this year. Mark my words.

Go Dawgs!

rbubp said...

Shoot, it was exposed LAST year when they all got their big-time offenses shut down by everyone in the bowl games.

Keep talking UGA scums said...

Bring it on Georgia boys. Bring it the F on. The OSU supporters are going to show you how to keep your mouth shut and use your manners when attending an away game.

Expect to have your brains bashed in the moment you open your fat mouths - and don't be surprised when a few of you land your a$$es in the ER.

Forget the game. This is about respect and fear. You have never experienced the roughness and determination of an American cowboy.

Prepare to burn scumbags!

Wake me up in September said...

the above was a joke. Just f*cking with you guys. Bored and ready for September.

giga2001 said...

Just a couple fair warnings from a Tulsa area Dawg -
1. Bring your own beer. Oklahoma beer is 3.2% alcohol instead of the normal 6.0%, unless you go to the liquor store and buy imported beer.
2. Ft Smith Arkansas is in a dry county.
3. I-40 across Oklahoma is the worst. Take I-44 from Tulsa over to Stillwater instead.

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