Play call/outcome analysis from the Stanford game (cont.)
Non-Mesh runs were really bad in the 1st half, other than that aforementioned Tackle-Over jet sweep. Non-Mesh runs disappeared after halftime. Second half runs were sparse; the IZRs were mostly unsuccessful but the OZRs were working.
Despite the run game being ‘taken away’ by Stanford, the overall 46% run success rate was still better than six other UCLA games this year. IZRs were a struggle to get yards but came out with a workable 50% success rate (thanks to being used in a lot of short yardage situations). OZRs continued the theme from last week of being a high-risk high upside play call. The right side of the offensive line got its due this week, where OZRs to the right were a clear winner (OZRs to the right were especially bad against USC). At this level, it doesn’t appear to be a portrait of a run game that should be abandoned to rely on Speight’s arm.
Peeling the onion further, we can dive into a list of all the 2nd half run plays. The thing that jumps off the screen looking at the OZR list, is that only Irby got 2nd half OZRs. This tells me Joshua Kelley‘s injury situation meant he couldn’t make that OZR cut up-field, which took OZRs off the table for him. Even in the 2nd half, those OZRs were getting good results in terms of YPP and Success rate. It is notable though that the yardage of each successive 2nd half OZR got consistently worse; Stanford adjusted to it as the game wore on. The other thing that jumps off of this view is how the Stanford scheme clearly took IZRs away (2nd half YPP was abysmal at 2.4).
With Non-Mesh runs dead on arrival, OZRs experiencing diminishing returns, and IZRs only good for short yardage, Chip Kelly opted to try to air it out against man coverage with Theo Howard and Caleb Wilson. I have to believe there were some other ways in the playbook they could have kept the ball on the ground (straddled triple option, more WR sweeps, more 2QB trickery etc). I think Chip went too drastically away from the run in the 2nd half (which is really easy to declare sitting in my blogger armchair). When we get to the YPP chart, we’ll see evidence backing up the optics of an exhausted receiving corps as the last two critical possessions wheezed out.
It is important however to keep in mind that they did put up 33 points on offense (taking away 9 from safety and return TD) with a lot of bad turnover ‘luck’. This pass-oriented offense resulted in one of their highest point totals of the season. The happy alternative to a clear offensive identity of the run to spread and run to pass is the ability to adapt to defensive schemes and be flexible.
saw a lot of playing time this week and acquitted himself nicely with 6.7 YPC and a team success rate of 57% with him on the field. This somewhat mitigates the argument that Chip bailed on the run exclusively because of Kelley’s injury. One thing for sure is that Kelley had nothing to prove to the UCLA fan base by hobbling through 16 snaps in the 2nd half, but he tried to get back in there and help anyway. Well done Joshua!