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What to expect from Billy Napier’s offense (Part III)

Posted by cuorange on August 13, 2009

Up to this point we’ve looked at the tendencies of Clemson’s offense under Billy Napier on all downs, and then specifically on 1st downs in different segments of the field.
Today, we focus on 2nd downs, specifically what plays are called on second downs from the Clemson 40 to the opponents 21. 
The chart below shows that under Napier the Tigers were much more likely to pass on 2nd and 6 or less deep in their own territory than they were in the same situation in opponent’s territory.
In addition, on 2nd and 6 or less between the 40s Napier called running plays 75% of the time.  Of the 12 runs called, 5 gained first downs (42%).  Only one of the four passes called gained a first down (25%).
Once at the opponent 40 or closer the run percentage increased to 78% on 2nd and 6 or less.  However, here the first down rate shifted dramatically.  The 7 runs gained 2 first downs (29%).  The Tigers gained first downs on both pass attempts (100%) and scored a touchdown on one of them.

Another interesting thing is that the further the Tigers move away from their goal line, the more likely Napier is to call a run until the Tigers hit the opponents 20. 

Down Distance Yd Line Running Plays Run % Pass Plays Pass % Total Plays
2 6 or less 1 to 19 1 33% 2 67% 3
2 6 or less 20 to 39 6 50% 6 50% 12
2 6 or less 40 to 59 12 75% 4 25% 16
2 6 or less 60 to 79 7 78% 2 22% 9
2 6 or less 80 to 99 2 50% 2 50% 4

Similar to the 1st down statistics we provided Wednesday, what this leads one to believe is that once at or inside the opponents 40 Napier tends to become more conservative. 
I’m not suggesting that passes should be called in every situation on 2nd and 6 or less inside the opponents 40.  However, more balanced play calling in this area would likely lead to more touchdowns and less FGs.  Yes, this would increase the chances of sacks and interceptions and reduce FG attempts, but it would also increase the chances of scoring a touchdown.


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