4 Comments

  1. Cameron

    On emphasizing turnovers:

    You can check with guys like Aaron Schatz and Bill Connelly about this, but my understanding is that turnovers are only partially luck-driven. E.g., forcing fumbles is a skill. Holding onto the ball is a skill. But recovery of a fumble is a 50-50 venture, on average. A similar statement can be made about passes defensed and interceptions, only that’s closer to about 23%.

    A defense therefore cannot emphasize “creating turnovers,” but they can emphasize the types of events that are more likely to lead to turnovers, such as aggressive pass coverage or getting tackles for loss. This increases the likelihood of turnover-generating events will occur. But there’s always going to be random fluctuations in how many turnovers are actually generated from those events.

    OSU, for example, is pretty good about stuffing ball carriers at or behind the line of scrimmage and getting sacks on passing downs. That leads to more fumbles, and therefore more turnovers, though how many will vary because of the inherent randomness at work here.

    So either end of the spectrum (a defense has no control vs. a defense has a lot of control) are both incorrect.

    • ianaboyd

      “A defense therefore cannot emphasize “creating turnovers,” but they can emphasize the types of events that are more likely to lead to turnovers, such as aggressive pass coverage or getting tackles for loss.”

      I see that as a semantic difference.

      “But there’s always going to be random fluctuations in how many turnovers are actually generated from those events.”

      For sure, but there are things you can do to encourage those opportunities to occur regularly.

      “OSU, for example, is pretty good about stuffing ball carriers at or behind the line of scrimmage and getting sacks on passing downs. That leads to more fumbles, and therefore more turnovers, though how many will vary because of the inherent randomness at work here.”

      I think one of their big tricks is also to disguise their looks a lot. They use tons of disguise to encourage shoddy decision making after the snap.

      “So either end of the spectrum (a defense has no control vs. a defense has a lot of control) are both incorrect.”

      Sure, the objection I was countering was based off the idea that turnovers are fairly random in general and that you shouldn’t design your D to encourage them.

      • Cameron

        “I see that as a semantic difference.”

        I don’t think it is. You may increase the types of events that lead to turnovers from one year to the next and, because of the randomness involved, might not see any improvement in production. The opposite is also true. So I see that as a pretty important distinction. Over the long-run, however, it will match up.

        “I think one of their big tricks is also to disguise their looks a lot. They use tons of disguise to encourage shoddy decision making after the snap.”

        Absolutely. I was just using those two items as examples.

        “Sure, the objection I was countering was based off the idea that turnovers are fairly random in general and that you shouldn’t design your D to encourage them.”

        I get that. I was just trying to hedge against the other extreme position.

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