Kevan and Drew's roundtable about how the offense will change with Pease taking over for Harsin highlighted something that I have been thinking about a lot ever since. Under Wilcox, Boise State was more focused on creating turnovers and with Coach K the focus is more on creating pressure. The two aren't mutually exclusive, but if you had to choose one, which would it be?
The personnel difference from the 2009 Broncos D to the 2010 Broncos D was losing Kyle Wilson, but it seems like the scheme changed when Coach K took over where Justin Wilcox left off. Here are some of the key stats between the two seasons, team ranking are in parentheses (TFL stands for tackles for loss):
YEAR Scoring D Total D Turn. Margin Sacks TFL Run D Pass D Pass Eff D
2009 17.1 (13) 300.2 (14) +21 (2) 25 (56) 99 (10) 120.36 (28) 179.9 (21) 103.43 (13)
2010 12.8 (2) 254.7 (2) +8 (22) 48 (1) 109 (2) 103.77 (7) 150.9 (4) 95.19 (2)
So overall, we had a better defensive year under Coach K with the same personnel, albeit with an extra year's experience under their belts, except a 1st round draft pick (Kyle Wilson). The biggest difference between the two years is in turnover margin, where we went from 2nd in the nation in 2009 to 22nd in the nation, and we had more than twice the margin in '09 as in '10. We almost doubled our sack total from '09 to '10, and went from 56th in the nation to 1st, even though total tackles for loss were fairly similar.
Interestingly enough, it seems like getting after the QB does more to improve your other numbers, including Passing D and Passing Efficiency D, than focusing on turnovers. I don't think anyone would argue that we downgraded in the secondary by losing KW, but our ypg and opposing QB rating dropped in 2010. This despite the fact that in '09 we had 24 INTs and in '10 we only had 14. Also remember that QB rating doesn't take sacks into account, so the drop in QB rating had to do with less touchdowns thrown per completion and less yards thrown for per completion. Turnovers can be absolute game changers, and these raw numbers don't take things like momentum into account, but they are interesting nonetheless.
The statistics at least seem to suggest that Coach K's scheme of wreaking backfield havoc is superior. Again, some of this simply has to do with not losing anyone and the unit improving with minor attrition from one year to the next, but at least part of it should probably be attributed to the scheme change. If that is actually true, this is great news going into the 2011 season since our D-line will probably be equal to, if not better than, it was last year, and the changes and youth in the secondary won't hurt us very much. What are your thoughts? Do you think the numbers are a result of the scheme or just the Broncos being a year older and more savvy?