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Consulting the Chart- Through Week 5

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Some advanced stats to help you better understand your Washington Huskies

NCAA Football: Brigham Young at Washington Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

Leading up to the Auburn game I saw a graph showing all of the relevant passing statistics for when Jarrett Stidham throws to each section of the field. It was extremely interesting and led me to want to see a similar chart for Jake Browning. However, any attempt at finding similar data was hidden behind a financially unfeasible paywall. So I decided to do my own charting this season. Now that we’re through more than a third of the season I thought I’d share some of the trends that are developing. You won’t get comparisons to what other teams are doing and they won’t be as detailed as PFF or others might be able to provide but the price is pretty good. I won’t run this column every week through the rest of the season but will get in a few additional updates.

I use success rate throughout the tables below. For those unfamiliar with it, success rate is defined as: “A common Football Outsiders tool used to measure efficiency by determining whether every play of a given game was successful or not. The terms of success in college football: 50 percent of necessary yardage on first down, 70 percent on second down, and 100 percent on third and fourth down.” So a gain of 5 yards on 1st down would be considered successful. Then on 2nd and 5 it would take a gain of 4 yards in order to be considered successful. Finally converting the 3rd and 1 would give you 3 straight successful plays.

Formation Types

Offense

The Husky offense relies on the Tight End position as much as any other modern college football program. While so many programs have gone exclusively to 4 or 5 WR sets, the Huskies have gone the opposite direction (although less so than last season).

Washington Offensive Formations, Play Type, Success Rates

Running Backs Wide Receivers Tight Ends # of Snaps % of Runs Run Success Rate % of Passes Pass Success Rate
Running Backs Wide Receivers Tight Ends # of Snaps % of Runs Run Success Rate % of Passes Pass Success Rate
1 3 1 168 30.95% 51.92% 69.05% 47.41%
1 2 2 131 70.23% 48.91% 29.77% 61.54%
1 1 3 13 84.62% 36.36% 15.38% 50.00%
2 2 1 5 80.00% 25.00% 20.00% 100.00%
1 4 0 3 0.00% N/A 100.00% 33.33%
0 3 2 3 0.00% N/A 33.33% 0.00%
0 4 1 2 0.00% N/A 100.00% 50.00%
2 1 2 1 100.00% 100.00% 0.00% N/A

Washington operates almost exclusively with a single back and then either 3 receivers plus a TE or 2 of each. However, they will vary where those personnel line up. In a clear passing down the TE may split out wide or on a clear running down multiple receivers may be brought close to the line.

But the trends are pretty clear. If the Huskies bring in a 2nd TE they are most likely going to run the ball. If they bring in a 3rd WR they are most likely to throw the ball. Defenses know that which is probably why the success rate for the less common outcome is greater than for the more common outcome. It’s obviously not as simple as throwing it more with 2 TEs or running it more out with 3 WRs though. If the run/pass splits in each formation get closer to 50/50 then the defense won’t be caught off guard as often.

Defense

A quick note before we look at the defensive numbers. At the beginning of the season I counted Jaylen Johnson as a D-Lineman rather than an OLB. He has been playing standing up as a jumbo 2nd OLB in the base Husky defense with Greg Gaines and either Shane Bowman or Levi Onwuzurike inside as DTs. But in the numbers below he’s considered a DL every single time. So based on alignment these numbers may not be exactly accurate. However, even with Johnson playing standing up on the edge the 3 D-Linemen category shows that UW has 3 guys at 290+ out on the field at a time rather than 2 plus some at 260 or so.

Washington Defensive Formations, Play Type, Success Rate

D-Linemen OLBs ILBs DBs # of Snaps % of Runs Run Success Rate % of Passes Pass Success rate
D-Linemen OLBs ILBs DBs # of Snaps % of Runs Run Success Rate % of Passes Pass Success rate
2 2 2 5 156 42.95% 40.30% 57.05% 33.71%
3 1 2 5 121 57.85% 35.71% 42.15% 43.14%
1 2 2 6 32 15.63% 20.00% 84.38% 37.04%
1 2 1 7 8 12.50% 100.00% 87.50% 28.57%
4 2 1 4 3 100.00% 66.67% 0.00% N/A
4 2 2 3 3 33.33% 100.00% 66.67% 0.00%
3 2 2 5 2 100.00% 50.00% 0.00% N/A
1 1 2 7 1 0.00% N/A 100.00% 100.00%

There are a couple of variations but UW essentially only has 4 types of player groupings although they can drop into a ton of different looks out of those groupings once the ball is snapped. Their most common look is the traditional nickel defense that looks like a 2-4-5. Opponents have had a little more success running the ball against this front but pass it a little more often.

Then they have the 3-3-5 look which is normally what they start the game with. Once again, the numbers are technically skewed even further towards the 2-4-5 because they often play Jaylen Johnson as the OLB when playing alongside 2 other D-Linemen. As expected, the Huskies play this more often on running downs and so opponents are running the ball more although they’re taking advantage of the extra big body with a better success rate in the passing game.

The next most common look is the dime defense which is generally a 1-4-6 or 1-3-7 shell with normally Greg Gaines anchoring the middle. This look comes out on 3rd and long in a clear passing scenario although if they give up the 1st down it usually gets stuck on the field and is then vulnerable to the run.

Finally is the true goal line look with 4 D-linemen and no 5th defensive back. We’ve only seen it 6 snaps this year and all have been inside the 10-yard line with 4 of them coming from the 1.

Snap Counts

Offense

Note that the # of runs versus passes are when they’re on the field for each player rather than how often they get the ball.

Washington Offensive Skill Position Players Snap Counts, Play Counts, Success Rates

Player # of Snaps % of Runs Run Success Rate % of Passes Pass Success Rate
Player # of Snaps % of Runs Run Success Rate % of Passes Pass Success Rate
Gaskin 227 44.49% 44.55% 55.51% 47.62%
Ahmed 64 64.06% 63.41% 35.94% 52.17%
McGrew 22 50.00% 27.27% 50.00% 72.73%
Pleasant 20 85.00% 52.94% 15.00% 100.00%
Braxton 2 100.00% 50.00% 0.00% N/A
Fuller 227 40.09% 47.25% 59.91% 47.79%
Jones 219 41.55% 49.45% 58.45% 50.00%
Baccellia 184 37.50% 43.48% 62.50% 52.17%
Pounds 84 50.00% 42.86% 50.00% 47.62%
McClatcher 50 60.00% 60.00% 40.00% 40.00%
Bynum 5 0.00% N/A 100.00% 80.00%
Browning 4 100.00% 25.00% 0.00% N/A
Cook 2 100.00% 0.00% 0.00% N/A
Sample 301 48.84% 48.30% 51.16% 51.30%
Otton 144 71.53% 48.54% 28.47% 58.54%
Kizer 21 66.67% 42.86% 33.33% 42.86%
Warren 11 72.73% 37.50% 27.27% 66.67%
Neal 2 100.00% 50.00% 0.00% N/A

In terms of overall usage there are only two regulars with a really significant trend. When either Ahmed or Otton is in the game it means there’s about a two-thirds chance that we run the ball (and for those curious with Ahmed at RB and Otton in as a 2nd TE we’ve run it 84% of the time). Other than that there aren’t many give aways about what we’re going to do based on who’s on the field among the regulars.

Even though we run the ball so often when Ahmed is in the game we still have a much higher success rate running it than with anyone else in the backfield. The “who’s the better back?” sub-debate among the Husky faithful isn’t something I personally want to get into but there’s a reason with those numbers that you’ve heard whispers.

Defense

Washington D-Linemen Snap Count, Play Type, and Success Rate

Player # of Snaps % of Runs Run Success Rate % of Passes Pass Success Rate
Player # of Snaps % of Runs Run Success Rate % of Passes Pass Success Rate
Gaines 239 45.19% 38.89% 54.81% 37.40%
Johnson 209 50.72% 39.62% 49.28% 36.89%
S. Bowman 107 55.14% 37.29% 44.86% 37.50%
Onwuzurike 101 51.49% 42.31% 48.51% 40.82%
Bronson 40 52.50% 38.10% 47.50% 42.11%
Clark 27 51.85% 28.57% 48.15% 15.38%
Scrempos 12 50.00% 50.00% 50.00% 50.00%
Letligasenoa 8 37.50% 33.33% 62.50% 40.00%

It’s pretty remarkable that when any of the three starters on the D-line have been out there the opposing offenses have had a success rate under 40% whether passing or throwing the ball. It speaks to how dominant the defense as a whole really is. It’ll be interesting as Levi Onwuzurike fills in for Shane Bowman whether his numbers are as a result of playing with more 2nd team D guys or if his play has actually been any worse.

Washington Linebackers Snap Count, Play Type, Success Rate

Player # of Snaps % of Runs Run Success Rate % of Passes Pass Success Rate
Player # of Snaps % of Runs Run Success Rate % of Passes Pass Success Rate
BBK 283 45.23% 38.28% 54.77% 35.48%
Bartlett 218 44.50% 31.96% 55.50% 35.54%
Potoa'e 204 45.59% 37.63% 54.41% 36.94%
Ngata 107 28.97% 41.94% 71.03% 30.26%
R. Bowman 98 42.86% 47.62% 57.14% 35.71%
Beavers 66 40.91% 29.63% 59.09% 48.72%
Williams 63 55.56% 45.71% 44.44% 42.86%
Manu 43 48.84% 47.62% 51.16% 40.91%
Wambaugh 39 61.54% 50.00% 38.46% 26.67%
Tryon 23 52.17% 50.00% 47.83% 36.36%
Wellington 13 53.85% 42.86% 46.15% 33.33%
ZTF 5 40.00% 50.00% 60.00% 33.33%
Rice 3 33.33% 0.00% 66.67% 50.00%
Tafisi 3 33.33% 0.00% 66.67% 50.00%
Preston 3 33.33% 0.00% 66.67% 0.00%
Sirmon 3 33.33% 0.00% 66.67% 50.00%

The biggest takeaway for me is to see that Ariel Ngata is very clearly our designated pass rusher. Opponents have thrown the ball 71% of the time when he’s on the field and they’re running a successful play barely 30% of the time. You can see from the snap count how much the defense has relied upon BBK and also upon Tevis Bartlett. We’ll see with Brandon Wellington back in action now (and if D.J Beavers comes back healthy) whether that lets them lighten the load on BBK and/or if they’ll switch Bartlett back to OLB more often.

Washington DBs Snap Count, Play Type, Success Rate

Player # of Snaps % of Runs Run Success Rate % of Passes Pass Success Rate
Player # of Snaps % of Runs Run Success Rate % of Passes Pass Success Rate
Rapp 298 44.30% 38.64% 55.70% 37.35%
McIntosh 293 45.73% 38.06% 54.27% 36.48%
Murphy 292 44.52% 36.92% 55.48% 38.27%
Bryant 270 46.67% 38.10% 53.33% 38.19%
Miller 244 45.49% 37.84% 54.51% 38.35%
Joyner 79 35.44% 42.86% 64.56% 31.37%
Molden 61 32.79% 40.00% 67.21% 34.15%
Taylor 47 46.81% 45.45% 53.19% 36.00%
McKinney 42 50.00% 38.10% 50.00% 23.81%
Gilchrist 18 61.11% 45.45% 38.89% 42.86%
Vergara 13 53.85% 57.14% 46.15% 50.00%
Bush 8 37.50% 33.33% 62.50% 40.00%

The 5 starters in the base defense have all played a very high percentage of the total defensive snaps and so there isn’t much of a difference in any of their numbers. There are only a few plays here and there where they haven’t all been on the field together. Joyner and Molden have both had the majority of their snaps occur in a dime defense which signifies a clear passing down which explains the tendency for them to be on the field for passing plays.

In-Depth Offense

Jake Browning 2018 Passing Chart by Air Yards, Side of Field

Air Yards Left Center Right
Air Yards Left Center Right
20+ Yards 8/11, 275 Yds, 0 TD, 0 INT 0/2, 0 Yds, 0 TD, 0 INT 3/7, 101 Yds, 0 TD, 0 INT
10-19 Yards 5/10, 86 Yds, 2 TD, 1 INT 11/14, 162 Yds, 1 TD, 0 INT 8/10, 106 Yds, 0 TD, 0 INT
1-9 Yards 14/19, 152 Yds, 1 TD, 0 INT 16/20, 157 Yds, 1 TD, 0 INT 8/12, 71 Yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
At or Behind LOS 9/10, 66 Yds, 0 TD, 1 INT 0/2, -6 Yds, 0 TD, 0 INT 11/12, 59 Yds, 1 TD, 0 INT

Jake Browning doesn’t have a single touchdown this year on a pass that went 20+ yards in the air past the line of scrimmage. This offense has several capable receivers but no one that can just fly past a defense and take it 75 yards to the house. All of the success throwing deep has been to the sidelines either by throwing jump balls to Ty Jones or getting those deep crossing routes when the receiver is able to take advantage of poor communication going in and out of defenders’ zones.

The bread and butter of the passing offense has been on intermediate routes with crossers, hooks, curls, and out routes. Folks complained all of last year about the inability to go over the middle of the field but the most targeted zone so far this year has actually been in the center of the field between the LOS and 10 yards downfield.

Washington 2018 Receiving Statistics

Targeted Receiver Comps Targets Yards 1st Downs TDs INTs Passer Rating Avg Depth of Target
Targeted Receiver Comps Targets Yards 1st Downs TDs INTs Passer Rating Avg Depth of Target
Fuller 30 41 474 22 1 0 178.33 11.1
Jones 11 19 211 10 4 0 220.65 16.4
Baccellia 14 16 160 9 0 1 159 8.7
Sample 12 14 112 7 1 1 162.2 6.1
Gaskin 7 12 34 3 0 0 82.13 -1.1
Pounds 6 10 135 4 1 0 206.4 18.3
McClatcher 8 9 119 6 0 0 199.96 0
Ahmed 5 5 33 2 0 0 155.44 1.4
Otton 4 5 41 4 2 1 240.88 9.8
McGrew 2 2 14 0 0 0 158.8 -5.5
Bynum 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 4
Cook 1 1 26 1 0 0 318.4 20
Kizer 0 1 0 0 0 1 -200 18

Thank goodness for Aaron Fuller. The breakout junior has more than double the number of targets as the next highest player in Ty Jones. He also has more than twice as many 1st downs as the next Husky. It’s even 1 more 1st down than Myles Gaskin has carrying the ball so far.

You can tell that Ty Jones and Quinten Pounds are the two deep threats in this offense with average depths of target more than 15 yards past the line of scrimmage. However, they’re averaging less than 4 yards after the catch on their completions so as mentioned earlier they haven’t shown the ability to run away from a defense.

In-Depth Defense

A quick note before this table. Just because I’ve attributed a player as being targeted on a throw does not mean that it’s necessarily their fault. It’s possible that someone else missed an assignment and they filled in to cover the hole and therefore seemingly give up a completion. It’s most accurate for the corners where it’s much easier to tell who they are supposed to be covering.

Washington 2018 Pass Defense Stats by Defender Targeted

Targeted Defender # of Completions # of Targets Yards Passer Rating Pass Break Ups
Targeted Defender # of Completions # of Targets Yards Passer Rating Pass Break Ups
Murphy 12 24 83 79.05 9
Miller 9 19 89 91.98 3
Bryant 8 14 85 108.14 4
Bartlett 9 11 98 156.65 1
BBK 5 9 43 95.69 0
McIntosh 5 9 26 79.82 2
Williams 5 6 49 151.93 0
Molden 4 4 28 158.8 0
Rapp 3 4 17 110.7 0
Bush 1 2 6 75.2 0
Johnson 2 2 10 142 0
Potoa'e 2 2 9 137.8 0
Taylor 1 2 3 62.6 0
Wambaugh 2 2 10 142 0
Gilchrist 1 1 5 142 0
McKinney 0 1 0 0 0
Ngata 1 1 6 150.4 0
ZTF 1 1 4 133.6 0

Byron Murphy is an absolute animal. He gave up his first 6 completions to his side of the field in the Auburn game for 69 yards. Since then opponents are 6 of 18 for 14 yards and he has a pass break up on 9 of the 12 incompletions. That is absolutely 1st team All-Conference material if not 1st team All-American material. We’ll see if he can keep up anything close to those numbers going against the conference’s premier pass offenses he’ll play against soon (Oregon, Colorado, Stanford, and Wazzu).

Jordan Miller has had a similar story as he gave up completions on 4 of his first 6 targets including the only passing TD the Huskies have surrendered this season for 46 yards. Since then QBs have only gone 5/13 for 43 yards and Miller has 3 PBUs of his own.

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