Friday, January 18, 2008

The (Defensive) Point

Gator KGB in the comments of my statistical analysis of the historically inept Gator defense in 2007 asks, “Regarding this year's defensive woes, do we really need a retroactive statistical analysis to interpret the evidence that assaulted our eyes?”

To answer, well yes - that’s pretty much what I do here. It’s my raison d’etre, if you will.

However, there is 1 question, and 2 important points, I can think of that are revealed by my analysis –

The Question

What the hell happened? Sure I know we had a terribly young defense that lost 9 starters, but how did we get in a situation where the defensive talent was so thin? Who is to blame?

I’ll leave the answer to the readers.

The Points

1. In 2006 our MNC had virtually nothing to do with our offense (apologies to Mr. Leak, whom I like) and EVERYTHING to do with our defense. Looking at our offenses of the modern era again –

The 2006 offense was ranked 16th in PPG of the offenses since the beginning of the Spurrier era (19 total). The defense was the 2nd best since 1979. The point – a superior defense is substantially more important than a superior offense. We had a historically great offense this year – it got us nowhere. Last year, with a largely inadequate offense and a superior defense, we won it all.

2. Next year could be the year. Assuming, quite reasonably, that our offense will be at least as good as this year, even a mediocre defense next year should put the Gators in the position to win it all. Look at the historical margins again –

Now let’s assume that next year we have what constitutes a historically average Gator defense (18.75 points a game since 1990). With the same offense we had this year, this hypothetical 2008 season would place thus in modern Gator history by margin-

With a margin approaching 24 ppg, we should be in a position for very big things in 2008. All we need is an average defense.

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