Monday, November 14, 2011

For Vanderbilt, a slightly better offense yields dramatically different results

For the first time in five years, Vanderbilt has a double-digit ranking for total offense. Right now, the Commodores are No. 99.

Here's our total offense ranking for the four previous seasons:
• 2010: No. 110
• 2009: No. 110
• 2008: No. 117
• 2007: No. 103

It's amazing to think we had a winning season in 2008 with such a terrible offense. This season, we're gaining per game about 30 more yards on the ground, 50 more yards in the air, and seven more points a game than we did in 2008.

And while we're only gaining about 35 more yards per game than we did last season, we're scoring 10 more points a game.

Here's how our stats compare to last season:
• Rushing offense: 162.2 ypg (No. 59), up from 138.8 ypg (80)in 2010
• Passing offense: 172.5 ypg (100), up from 159.4 ypg (105)
• Total offense: 334.9 ypg (99), up from 298.3 ypg (110)
• Scoring offense: 26.1 ppg (68), up from 16.9 ppg (112)

No, our offense isn't dramatically better in yards gained, but we've taken risks to break long plays (Franklin calls them "explosive plays") when we can't move the ball consistently. Lately, though, we've started moving the ball consistently, at least consistently for us. That's why we had fewer explosive plays against Kentucky in one of our most dominating offensive performances of the season.

The key to our offensive improvement has been our wide receivers. Sure, the offensive line has improved by leaps and bounds, and in Rodgers we found the quarterback we've been looking for. But the biggest difference is that we've found two legitimate receiving threats in Jordan Matthews and Chris Boyd. Since the Arkansas game, those guys have been making tough grabs in traffic. Watching the Kentucky game on Saturday, as Boyd and then Matthews made big catches to set up another big run by Zac Stacy, I thought how far we've come since last season, when our two top receiving threats were John Cole and Udom Umoh.

And this better offense has made our defense, which was already much improved, dramatically better because it's kept them off the field. Here's how our defense compares to last year's:
• Rushing defense: 122.9 ypg (No. 32), compared to 193.0 ypg (100) in 2010
• Passing defense: 204.7 ypg (39), compared to 226.3 ypg (75)
• Total defense: 327.6 ypg (22), compared to 419.2 ypg (93)
• Scoring defense: 21.6 ppg (31), compared to 31.2 ppg (94)

This year, we're scoring 10 more points a game and we're allowing 10 fewer points a game.

And we're hitting our stride. When's the last time a Vanderbilt team was better in November than it was in September or October?

This team is better. Now let's go beat the Vols in Knoxville!


Anonymous said...

and what SO amazing to us is that it's the almost the same players as last year. Last years staff would not have had these numbers. It's execution, an offensive and defensive philosophy, an enthusiastic coaching staff and a stong will to win.

Anonymous said...

So, when do we start talking contract extension? Bobby won 2 games his first season and got the "lifetime" contract after 2 more in the second. I say lock CJF up NOW! Let the adminstration show how "all in" they are. If they were going to pay Malzahn the amount that was rumored, shouldn't they be able to sign up Corbin and Franklin both with that? I've already read a story about how Mississipi should hire him.

DKH said...

Not sure if it would be possible to lock him up but we'd be stupid not to show him we love him by throwing as much money at him as we can and getting him whatever facilities he's asking for. This is the seventh first-year Vandy head coach I've seen since my freshman year (Brown, DiNardo, Dowhower, Widenhofer, Johnson, Caldwell and now Franklin), and James Franklin is by far the best, obviously. I wouldn't want anybody else in the country right now.

even more anonymous said...

When he introduced Franklin, David Williams told us he had hired "the best football coach in the country." How many of us believed he meant what he said?

Another L-M VU Alum said...

First thing after a Vanderbilt win, I get the Sunday paper.
>This time the Louisville Courier Journal (3 writers do this), in an effort to bash and trash Joker Philips, provide a great buildup on what a bottom feeder program Vanderbilt has and terms the 38/8 Vanderbilt win over UK as "shocking" and will deprive them (UK) of the their bowl bid---something that Vanderbilt is "always" counted on as a win for UK. Mind you, after we go to Lexington three years ago and methodically dismantle them to get our bowl bid. Pathetically,these guys don't mention near upsets this year over Arkansas, Georgia and Florida and totally ignore the 13-1/2 point spread over UK.
All of us Vanderbilt alumni watching the game on Saturday were not "shocked".

Dimon K-H said...

That's just delusional. In the past 21 years, we're 10-11 against the Cats, but have only one other win over an SEC opponent (Tennessee). So you're right, we Vandy fans weren't shocked and neither were the UK fans attending Saturday's game.