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Measuring the Improvement of Virginia Tech's Offense in 2009

Get ready for some stats, courtesy of the incomparable

Some people are upset that the Hokies' offense is No. 73 in yards per game. Well, those people don't understand the concept of pace of play. It's easy for the Hokies to only rack up 364.5 yards per game when they've only run 476 plays.

In 2008, Frank Beamer got exactly what he wanted out of Bryan Stinespring, which was a ball-control offense that kept Bud Foster's defense on the sideline and rested. The Hokies' 936 plays in 2008 was second in the ACC behind BC's 965.

It was what the Hokies did with those 936 plays that was infuriating. Tech averaged 4.5 yards per play last year, worse than every team in the ACC not named Duke and came in at No. 105 in the country.

But this year the offense has improved, but not too much in the yards per game category. It's because Tech has run a mere 476 plays, fewest in the ACC. Miami is No. 11 with 511. But Tech and the Hurricanes have both averaged 6.1 yards per play this year, tied for third in the league. It's tied for 26th in the country. 

That is a huge jump in average in less than one full season. Right now there's not a way to see if it's among the biggest jumps from 2008-2009, but I'm willing to guess that it is.

The yards per game stat is a horrible stat for ranking offenses, just like points per game is a horrible stat in basketball. You have to take the pace of play out of it so all teams are on equal footing. Virginia Tech doesn't run a no-huddle air assault offense just like most teams in college basketball don't run the Grinnell system. That's why for my money, points per 100 possessions is better for judging the efficiency of a college basketball offense than points per game.

Based on yards per play, the Hokies are holding their own against the rest of the country. And if you want to go on plays per point, the Hokies have run 1.9 plays for every point they've put on the board in 2009. In 2008, that number was a hair over 3.0. Again, that's a big improvement.

I have yet to disagree that there has been suspect play-calling in certain situations during some of Virginia Tech's games. But you can't argue with the huge improvement this offense has made in 2009.