So to help with the down time, I figured I would crunch a few numbers on a rarely used, but extremely telling statistics. Many duck fans don't like Nick Allotti's defensive schemes. While Bellotti often calls it "Bend but don't break defense", apparently Allotti doesn't care for that title.
Call it whatever you want, it definitely doesn't match what old typical Big-12 teams would call a "Good Defense". Ted Miller touched in this a bit in his mail bag earlier this week. 7th in the Pac-10 isn't great, but I could care less if we were 10th in the Pac-10. In my opinion, the best gauge of defensive effectivity is when it gets cornered into their own Red Zone. Suddenly, Oregon doesn't look too bad.
As you can see, the two Oregon teams tied for giving up the least red zone TD, but our in-state bragging right friends enjoy the cake for the least points allowed overall.
While USC allowed less scoring opportunities than Oregon, Oregon still allowed 6 less total points on the year. Across the town, UCLA, despite giving a shutout, gave up 23 TDs in the red zone. Arizona State fared alright, more or less being the middle of the Pac-10, separating the great defensive red zone performances, from... the rest. California really got hurt in the red zone, and they'll be looking to make some improvements here as they almost gave up twice as many red zone points (255 not including PAT) as Oregon (138) and Oregon State (129) on the year.
But this still isn't a great gauge of defensive efficiency, for that, we'll have to compare these numbers to the number of times a defense had to make a stand in the Red Zone.
About the biggest anomaly that jumps out is that out of 37 Red Zone stands, Arizona State allowed a team to score 33 times. A few other things that are note worthy is how the Golden Bears had to take a defensive red zone stand nearly 20% more than any other team. Ouch! But there is one more thing that is a bit more subtle in there too. The Ducks had to make a defensive stand in their own twenty-yard line 42 times. When we relate these two statistics together, we get a very interesting story to tell.
As you can see, Oregon's defense had a pretty steller Red Zone Efficiency. Bend, but don't break indeed. OSU and even Stanford deserve some props for their efforts too. Considering how many times California got pushed back, I don't think they really did too bad. They have a few Red Zone kinks to iron out for '08, as does Arizona State, who statistically collapsed when they got in the red zone.
Washington State, Arizona, UCLA gave up a TD over 60% of the time as well.
As a Duck fan, I can't say I'm disappointed with this. Despite Allotti's protest over it, Oregon really demonstrated a Bend but Don't Break defense that works.
But the leader on the defensive side is wanting to quiet some of the people that like to point out Oregon's defense was 7th last year.
I honestly don't think it matters if we give up a lot of yards. Preventing points is what matter the most.
I know that these numbers do not factor in all TD allowed, like big plays of 20+, but there is no good way I can do that without going into every box score of each Pac-10 game. That's something I don't feel like doing right now