Topic: Regarding slow offensive starts, I watched our initial
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Regarding slow offensive starts, I watched our initial

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Posted: Oct 16, 2018 11:46 AM

possessions from all 6 games and logged the opening plays. None of these drives netted any points, but I'm lowering the bar here and just looking for what went right on the drives where we at least picked up multiple first downs. I did this with an eye on successful plays as defined by Bill Connelly.

First downs: gaining at least 50 percent of necessary yardage (usually 5 yards) is successful.
Second downs: gaining at least 70 percent of necessary yardage is successful.
Third or fourth downs: gaining at least 100 percent of necessary yardage is successful.

1st & 10 - PA to ETN, KB sprints out right and throws INC at Renfrow's feet a bit past the sticks
2nd & 10 - RPO fumble, KB recovers and gets 4
3rd & 6 - Curl to Higgins for 7 to convert
1st & 10 - Toss left to ETN for 9
2nd & 1 - Deep shot INC to Tee
3rd & 1 - Read option to ETN for no gain
4th & 1 - Read option (i think) to ETN for 5
1st & 10 - Sweep to Rodgers for 6
2nd & 4 - Screen to Renfrow for no gain
3rd & 4 - Short cross to Powell thrown at his feet by Bryant. Good throw here likely converts
4th & 4 - Deep shot to Powell INC

Summary - 2 unsuccessful plays put us in 3rd and long, but Bryant and Higgins are able to convert. Nice 1st down run by Etienne allows for a deep shot on 2nd down and an eventual conversion. The drive ultimately ends on a failed 4th down conversion but started pretty well.

Texas A&M
1st & 10 - Screen to Amari for loss of 1
2nd & 11 - Read option give to ETN for 3
3rd & 8 - Sack. I think RG got beat immediately

Summary - 2 unsuccessful plays put us in 3rd and long again, but this time KB doesn't even have a chance to throw.

Georgia Southern
1st & 10 - Straight handoff to ETN 7
2nd & 3 - PA to Renfrow for 13
1st & 10 - Quick out to Tee for 5
2nd & 5 - Straight handoff to ETN for 8
1st & 10 - Deep shot INC to Rodgers. Amari was wide open early, but the ball was thrown too late
2nd & 10 - QB draw for no gain
3rd & 10 - Pass to Galloway for 20
1st & 10 - Screen pass intercepted

Summary - All 4 plays to open the drive were successful. We got off schedule after that but converted with a nice throw on 3rd and long. The screen pass was read all the way by the DB on the INT. I think he broke on it before KB even released the ball.

Georgia Tech
1st & 10 - PA to ETN with jet sweep motion from Amari. Pass to Amari for 8. I feel like we used to run this play more
2nd & 2 - Straight handoff to ETN for 2
1st & 10 - ETN lines up in the slot and drops a pass over the middle that would've gained about 5. This is the play Scott references in the article today, but honestly this was a hot throw that hit Etienne up high shortly after he turned around. You would expect a WR to make this catch, but that's a tough play for a RB that the staff knows doesn't have incredible hands.
2nd & 10 - Throw to Milan for 1
3rd & 9 - Sack

Summary - Two successful plays to pick up a 1st down, but then we get behind the chains again and give up a sack on 3rd and long.

Syracuse Lawrence now starting and in for opening series
1st & 10 - Higgins over the middle for 19
1st & 10 - Read option fumble lost

Summary - There's not much here to evaluate, but this was definitely a more aggressive approach on the 1st play of the game with Lawrence at QB. The read option fumble was obviously a disaster.

Wake Forest
1st & 10 - Screen to Amari for 1
2nd & 9 - Screen to ETN dropped. This likely would've gone for a loss if caught
3rd & 9 - Pass to Williams for 3

Summary - More unsuccessful plays on 1st and 2 down and another 3rd and long that we can't convert.

Themes / Takeaways
The most obvious issue has been unsuccessful plays on 1st and 2nd down that put us in 3rd and long. On the 1st and 2nd down plays leading up to punts (and the turnover on downs against Furman) we had 1 successful play out of 8. That resulted in just one 3rd and short and that one really should've been converted with a better throw by KB. The other three 3rd downs were all 8+ and resulted in 2 sacks and a pass way short of the sticks. The other 2 drives both ended on turnovers, 1 on a blown up screen pass and 1 on a botched read option exchange.

On the other side of that, we were 4/5 picking up first downs when our 1st and/or 2nd down play was successful. That's kind of what you would expect though. Good plays on 1st and 2nd down often lead to 1st downs and poor plays that put you in 3rd and long result in punts. There's not much to say about that other than the obvious "do better on 1st and 2nd down." That's something the staff is going to have to figure out.

As far as individual plays go, it's hard not to the notice the lack of success with the screens, read options, and RPOs. I know those are the plays that many have been critical of, and there certainly seems to be evidence here that they are, at the least, not successful early in games. I don't have the time nor the desire to watch entire games to evaluate all of them, but these are the results from those plays on our opening possessions:

Screens (5): 0, -1, INT, 1, INC. That's 3/5 for 0 yards and 1 INT on a variety of screen passes including one out in the flat to ETN that was dropped but likely would've gone for a loss if completed.

Read options (4): 0, 5, 3, -5 and a lost fumble. That's 4 carries for 3 yards and a turnover.

RPOs (1): 4 yards on a recovered fumble. Bad exchange but KB avoids disaster by recovering and gaining 4. Please note that i may have missed an RPO or two somewhere. I'm not a professional at analyzing film. The one i did pick up on was a read option with a screen to Renfrow attached to it.

In total that's 10 plays (out of 32 total) for 7 yards and 2 turnovers plus another recovered fumble. Only 1 of those 10 plays would be considered a "successful play" by the definition at the top of this post and that was a 4th down conversion by ETN against Furman that went for 5 yards.

The sample size is certainly small, but those plays have accounted for about 1/3 of our total plays on opening drives and it certainly seems like, on the screens in particular, that the opposing defenses are keying on them. The biggest problem with the read option has really been terrible execution.

Nothing in particular really jumps out at me on our successful plays aside from the fact that 4 traditional gives to Etienne went for 9, 7, 8, 2, and we had a couple of nice plays to Rodgers off the sweep action - one on a handoff and one on a little pass after play action.

Make of all of this what you will.

2020 white level member

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