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|Tech Sports News|
Inside the Numbers: VT's Offensive "Balance"
by Will Stewart, TechSideline.com
Spring football this year featured a constant topic of discussion among Hokie fans: whether or not the Hokies were going to have a more balanced offense this coming season. With two good QBs in Bryan Randall and Marcus Vick, plus talented receivers in Ernest Wilford, and yes, DeAngelo Hall, Hokie fans were wondering if Tech was going to throw the ball more in the 2003 season. Add the maturation of tight end Keith Willis and the loss of Lee Suggs to the NFL, and you've got to wonder if the emphasis will shift to passing a little more than in the past.
What about the past? How balanced of an offense has VT had in their ten-year bowl run? How often do they run, how often do they pass, and what's the yardage split? Let's take a look.
So over the ten-year bowl run, the Hokies have run almost 68% of the time. This is not a surprise, because we all knew that the figured hovered around 70%.
The shaded rows represent the years in which the same QB started. Maurice DeShazo started in 1993-94, Jim Druckenmiller in 1995-96, etc. If you break it down by QB, you get:
The figures show that VT had their most balanced offenses, in terms of attempts and yardage, under Maurice DeShazo, Jim Druckenmiller, and Grant Noel. Under DeShazo and Druckenmiller, while Hokie fans did criticize the play-calling, they never really criticized the balance of the offense. Tech's running and passing games were both potent under both QBs.
Beginning in 1997, under Al Clark, he of the gimpy legs and not-so-accurate arm, the Hokies started to favor the run. In addition to Clark not being as accurate as DeShazo and Druck, he didn't have much talent to work with at receiver, and what little he did have was usually wiped out by injury (Shawn Scales, most notably, spent almost the entire 1997 season hurt).
The Hokies started relying heavily on the run in 1997-98, and the run:pass ratios swung way out of balance.
Under Michael Vick, the Hokies had one of their most potent run/pass attacks ever, but oddly enough, the run:pass ratios got more skewed under Vick than any other quarterback. There were two reasons for this: (1) Vick's duel-threat capability opened up the running game, and the Hokies relied on it; and (2) Vick himself ran a lot, often bailing out of the pocket for big yardage and thus turning passes into runs. Vick netted 1,212 yards rushing in two years, way more than VT's two other running QB's, DeShazo (68 net yards rushing in two years -- surprised?) and Clark (412 net yards rushing in two years).
In 2001, the offense under Grant Noel returned to the balance of the DeShazo and Druckenmiller years, but one wonders what the numbers would have been had Lee Suggs been healthy.
In 2002, under Bryan Randall, Hokie fans harped about a dependence upon the run, and the numbers support that, with the ratios looking positive Al Clark-like. An interesting academic exercise is to remove Randall's monster Syracuse game (35 passing attempts, 504 yards passing, 25 rushing attempts, 55 yards rushing) from the 2002 totals. You get an attempts ratio for the year of 2.68:1 and a yardage ratio of 1.69:1, each of which is the second-biggest ratio in ten years.
We'll keep an eye on the run:pass ratios this coming season and compare them to the historical data found here to see how VT's 2003 offense compares to other offenses during the Beamer bowl era.
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|TechSideline.com Updates From the Past Week|
Spring Game Photo Gallery
Spring Football Wrap-Up
Spring Game: White 14, Maroon 3
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