I decided to take a closer look at the trends of the 2010 Oklahoma Sooners' goal line offense today. Kevin Wilson received a bit of criticism last year about his playcalling, and I think that dates back as far as the goal line failures against the Florida Gators in the 2008 BCS National Championship Game.
The question I decided to test was: Was there any relation between goal line success and run vs. pass selection in the 2010 Sooner offense?
By my count, the Sooners took 47 trips inside the opponent's 10 yard line last year. They snapped the ball in non-field goal situations in that 10-yard space 109 times for a total of 244 points. This breaks down to 2.3 downs per trip, 2.24 points per snap, and 5.2 points per trip.
Not counting the one trip that ended with the end of the football game, they failed to score on 7 of those trips (15.2%) and failed to score a touchdown (no scoring, or a field goal) on 14 trips (30.4%).
Overall, the Sooner playcallers dialed up run plays 64% of the time.
On the drives that ended in a touchdown, Oklahoma ran the ball at exactly the same rate as the overall rate: 64%. Therefore, the "unsuccessful drives" involved similar playcalling rates.
Change In Style?
In fact, it looks like towards the end of the season, Kevin Wilson attempted to mix up the goal line playcalling more, and the result was an increased rate of goal line failures. This change in philosophy seemed to occur around the Texas A&M game. Over the first 24 drives of the season that got inside the opponent's 10-yard line, only 3 of those could be considered "failures" - approximately 3 times less than the overall failure rate for the season. On those 24 trips, the offense ran the ball at a higher rate: 71%.
Over the last 23 trips inside the 10-yard line, 11 times the offense failed to score a touchdown (47.8%). On those particular trips, the offense ran the ball just 57% of the time.
71% of the time (10/14) that the offense simply lined up and pounded the ball - running it on every down - they scored a touchdown.
I have to say that this isn't what I was expecting to find. Normally I'm first in line to complain when the offense just lines up to run the ball at the goal line and doesn't mix it up.
I think we can all agree that not scoring a touchdown 30% of the time you get inside the 10-yard line is a bad thing, and something that is not the mark of a championship team.
What do you guys think?