Thursday I looked at the efficiency stats for the defense and saw the Hokies did better than what was expected of them against their opponents in 2008. Today I'll look at the offense.
The numbers aren't very good. Tech did not live up to expectations in either the running or passing games and fell miles short of where it should have been when it came to putting points on the board.
As expected, the worst numbers came from the debacle that was the Miami game. That game inspired me to write a post that was tagged under "really drunk posts" when in fact should have been given its own tag of "incredibly drunk posts".
Get the bourbon ready. The numbers are after the jump.
First up are the rushing stats. Remember that these numbers are bereft of sacks, which I view as passing plays and the NCAA erroneously views as running plays. Although maybe I should have left them in because when you include sacks, our rushing efficiency actually goes up to 1.000. How?
Because in ACC play last year, the average sack resulted in a 6.5-yard loss. Our sacks resulted in an average loss of 5.8 yards. So multiply that 0.7-yard difference over 26 sacks and the Hokies actually GAIN 18.2 yards against expectations. So we have that going for us. Which is nice.
Abbreviations: YPC - opponent's yards per carry allowed without sacks; Rush - VT carries minus sacks; ExYds - expected yards for VT; Yards - VT yards with sacks taken out; Eff - VT efficiency.
The Miami number becomes even more frustrating since it came one week after our most impressive rushing game against Maryland. For reasons I'll never understand (and don't want to) Miami's front four dominated our offensive line.
These numbers tell me our biggest problem was with the consistency of our offensive line both in passing (which we knew about because of the high sack number) and in the rushing game. One week we couldn't be stopped, the next week we had our worst game.
The offensive line is the biggest road block between the Hokies and being a national title contender, not Bryan Stinespring.
On to the passing numbers. Drink up.
Abbreviations: YPA - opponent's yards per attempt allowed; Pass - VT pass attempts; ExYds - expected yards for VT; Yards - VT actual yards; Eff - VT efficiency.
I have to admit, I thought the final number would be a lot uglier. Especially when you consider the nightmare start the passing offense had against Georgia Tech and the first Boston College game.
These number can't help but improve in 2009. Tyrod Taylor enters his third year as a starter and has receivers he actually knows and trusts. The difference in trust Taylor had in his receivers to actually run the correct route and then catch the ball went up dramatically in the last four ACC games last year.
And finally, the total yards and points efficiency numbers. Tech's points efficiency was ... spectacular. Simply spectacular.
Abbreviations: YPP - opponent yards per play allowed; Plays - VT plays; ExYds - expected yards for VT; Yards - VT actual yards; Eff - VT efficiency; PPP - opponent points per play allowed adjusted for non-offensive points; Plays - VT plays; ExPts - expected points for VT; Points - VT points minus non-offensive points; Eff - VT efficiency.
How was it that bad? The No. 1 culprit has to be the offense's efficiency in the red zone. Tech scored points on 74 percent of its red zone possessions in ACC play, good enough for 11th in the conference. And 47 percent of its 34 red zone possessions resulted in touchdowns, also good enough for 11th in the ACC.
Only Wake Forest, which was a special kind of awful in the red zone last year, was worse than the Hokies. But the Deacs aren't a power run team by any stretch of the imagination. So for the Hokies to only be better in the red zone than Wake Forest is unacceptable.
This was one year after the Hokies had the best red zone offense in the ACC. Improvement in this area comes down to play-calling from Bryan Stinespring (which obviously worked in 2007 and failed miserably in 2008) and execution of those plays by the offense (ditto).
So we have our two things to watch for on the Hokies offense next season: Offensive line consistency and red zone production. If both of those improve, the Hokies might actually live up to the high expectations that are being set for them. If they don't, well, you can expect more posts on this blog like the one you saw after the Miami game.