Sunday, May 29, 2011

Iowa Football Run/Pass Splits Since 2004

Now that I'm back from my trip to the former Yugoslavia, and my stomach is fully rested after consuming many liters of homemade sljivovica. It's time for me to get back into the swing of things. That means it's time for me to dig deep into some Iowa Hawkeyes numbers.  Probably way deeper than is normal for any sane person. But, hey, I had two weeks pretty much cut off from the world. I'm well rested.

Anyway, for my first post back, I went back to 2004 to look at the Iowa Hawkeyes' run/pass tendencies under Kirk Ferentz. I only went back to 2004 because that is as far back as the's boxscores included the "play breakdown" section, which made this exercise easier than it would have been otherwise.

My main interest in looking at this, was that I wanted to see how Iowa under Ferentz, adjusted their offense based on what they have to work with from year to year. For instance, what does the Iowa play calling look like when they have a running back like Shonn Greene, as opposed to when Sam Brownlee is the man taking the majority of the carries?

A main limitation of this study, is the fact that not all box scores pointed out the difference between a quarterback who dropped back to pass and instead ran with the football, from a quarterback who took the snap and ran with the ball by design. Some box scores made this distinction, but most did not, which left me using things like down and distance to determine whether or not it was a called pass play or run play. For example, 3rd and 9, and Jake Christensen runs for 8 yards. It probably was not a designed run. Instead, it was probably the protection breaking down, and the quarterback scrambling for however many yards he could muster. The box score would count that as a running play, but I would call that a pass play, considering the coaching staff intended for that play to have the ball in the air. This makes my numbers look different from the numbers you would see if you looked up the run/pass splits from My numbers aren't perfect, as I had to guess, but they are more accurate than the official websites numbers are.

Anyway, let's see the results.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Comparing the First 12 Seasons of Hayden Fry and Kirk Ferentz: Different Styles, Similar Results?

Note: This will be the last post for a few weeks. I will be out of the country, and will not have much access to the internet. Hopefully, this post is plenty good enough to get you through the next two weeks.

Iowa football has been extremely fortunate to only have two different head coaches in the last 32 years. Not many college football programs can boast about such a thing. Both have been quite successful at the University of Iowa, despite doing things in pretty different ways. Hayden Fry, the man known for making Iowa respectable in football again, was very outspoken and would do anything to get inside his opponents head. He even went so far as to paint the opposing locker room all pink. Supposedly, to create a calming effect before his opponent took the field. Fry's successor, Kirk Ferentz, is the polar opposite. Ferentz is very tight lipped, giving stock answers to media questions, never giving his opponents bulletin board material. They are very different styles, but both have benefited from the way they do things.

Mostly out of needing an idea for a post, I decided to look at their success while at Iowa. Interestingly enough, they have had eerily similar success, despite their career arcs looking quite a bit different.

Like always, be warned. For there are graphs and numbers below. Ooooh. Scary. Continue if you dare!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

A Trip Down Memory Lane: Shonn Greene vs Purdue 2008 (aka the Frank Duong Game)

Note: This is a series I've decided to put together to get us through the long months until football kicks off. It could be a season, a game, or one play. Hell, it could be anything that stuck out to me at some point in time about Iowa sports. Either way, just enjoy this trip back in Hawkeye history.

2008 was Shonn Greene's season, and the rest of the Big 10 was just there for him to run through. Well, run through or run by. Because the 5'11 235 lb running back could also put a move on you too. Don't believe me? Ask Frank Duong. He witnessed firsthand these two talents that Greene possessed when Purdue visited Iowa City in November of 2008. While this game was awesome, it was probably Greene's second best effort of the year, as he had single-handedly demolished Wisconsin a month earlier. But, I chose this game to take deeper look at for a couple of reasons: 1) I was at this game, and Greene looked like a man amongst boys 2) He was basically Iowa's only offense on this day 3) This was his final game at Kinnick, and boy did he put on a show 4) Last but not least, from this game forward, I have referred to anyone who gets trucked in a game of football, as getting "Duong'd." 

Before paying homage to Frank Duong, let's check out Greene's numbers from this game.

Carries     Yards     Yards Per Carry     TD

    30           211              7.03                 2        

Besides a 22 yard touchdown run by Jewel Hampton in the first quarter, Shonn Greene was the Iowa Hawkeyes offense that day. Going for over 200 yards on the ground and averaging more than 7 yards per carry. 

This was Ricky Stanzi's first year under center, and he really looked like it. He finished the game with 72 yards passing on 15 attempts. Knowing that Greene was Iowa's best bet at picking up yards and running the clock down, Ferentz kept giving the ball to him. Iowa ran the ball 37 times, and, as you can see above, Greene received 81.08% of the carries, or 56.60% of Iowa's plays consisted of Greene carrying the ball. It was the kind of game plan that Kirk Ferentz seems to love: run the ball down the opponents throat, running the clock down, and then let your defense do it's thing. The nerve racking thing about it, from an Iowa fan's perspective, was that Purdue was keeping the game uncomfortably close (Thank God, Curtis Painter didn't play very much of this game).