The Chip Kelly Statistic: Response to Turnovers

Yes, I have to create statistical measures for you to understand how good my team is.

I had planned on doing a weekly video breakdown of the Ducks defense from each week's game, but unfortunately I'm not very tech savvy and I waited a while to try and figure it out, and then this week the Pac 12 released new media guidelines that made it all a moot point anyway. So, no defensive video breakdowns for you, yet. I'll probably do some using screenshots, which the Pac 12 hasn't taken away the use of yet, but I'll wait till this defense starts to evolve a little and stops playing vanilla cover 1 against inferior opponents.

In the meantime, I ran across this article last week, where Chip Kelly explains that the only thing they talk about from a statistical standpoint is what is their response to a turnover. It's not about the turnover itself, or winning the turnover battle (kind of like those old arguments of winning the time of possession battle). It's about winning the response to the turnover that really matters.

From a Chip Kelly point of view, this makes a lot of sense.

First, Coach Kelly has rarely cared about field position. This is the guy that will go for it on 4th and 1 at his own 34 yard line, without even substituting against the #9 team in the country down 11 points in the first half. He doesn't care if his defense is put in a tough situation with their backs against the wall, he cares how they respond to it. He also trusts his defense to go out there and stop the other team. He also doesn't want that trust and good defensive play by creating an extra opportunity for the offense to go unrewarded. Think about Darrion Weem's expression after Michael Clay jumps on that football in the Rose Bowl. It had "time to go to work" written all over it. He wasn't celebrating the turnover, because that's not what it's about.

Second, it makes sense from a life lesson standpoint. I've tried to raise my kids to understand that life is not about what happens to you, but how you deal with it. Your decisions and choices will mean way more in who you become than any problem, drama, trouble or situation that is thrown your way. Oh, your sister was annoying you? Fine, I'll deal with her about her choices, I'm going to deal with you about whether or not it is right to hit anyone. You did that. Your response is what matters. Kelly is trying to instill this life lesson in his players. Think about the previous off season issues with this team. Most of the kids were given second chances. Their success or failure wasn't dependent on them getting a second chance on the football team. It was about what they did with it. Some kids took that second chance and made the most of it, other looked for excuses or blamed their situation and didn't turn out so well. Kelly's life lessons apply to football too. There is nothing you can do about a turnover, but how you respond to it will be what matters most in the game.

Here's the problem. No one that I know of, tracks this statistic. I've reached out to advanced statistician wizard Bill C, to see if he has anything like this, but so far I haven't found it. So I dusted off the old excel spreadsheet and created a breakdown of the how Oregon has done in the Chip Kelly Statistic: Response to Turnovers. Here is what I found for 2011 and the games so far this year.

2011 Opponent TO's Turnover Caused Yards After TO Points Scored Oregon TO's Turnover Given Yards Given Up Points Given Up
LSU 1 1 7 3 4 1 3 0
1 3 7
1 21 7
1 41 7
Nev 3 1 44 7 0
1 40 0
1 67 7
Miss St 0 0
Arizona 0 0
Cal 0 1 1 56 0
ASU 2 1 100 7 2 1 36 7
1 20 0 1 21 3
CU 1 1 32 7 0
WSU 2 1 25 7 2 1 5 0
1 32 0 1 76 7
1 98 7
Uw 3 1 54 7 1 1 8 3
1 83 7
1 2 3
Stanford 5 1 50 8 2 1 26 3
1 31 7 1 4 0
1 40 7
1 8 0
1 0 0
USC 3 1 0 0 2 1 2 0
1 69 7 1 5 3
1 66 0
OSU 3 1 38 7 2 1 43 0
1 16 0 1 7 0
1 48 7
Ucla 4 1 39 7 2 1 20 0
1 48 7 1 35 7
1 32 7
1 72 0
Wisc 2 1 39 7 2 1 33 7
1 15 0 1 26 0
133 61
Total TO 29 Total TO 20
Ave Yds After TO 40.5 Ave Yds Given Up 23.6
Ave Pts After TO 4.43 Ave Pts After TO 3.05
# of Empty Poss 10 # of Empty Poss 9
Empty Poss % 34.48% Empty Poss % 45.00%
# of TD Poss 18 # of TD Poss 7
# of TD Poss % 62% # of TD Poss % 35%
2012 Opponent TO Turnover Caused Yards After TO Points Scored Oregon TO Turnover Given Yards Given Up Points Given Up
Arkansas St 3 1 22 7 1 1 41 3
1 73 7
1 7 0
Fresno State 0 3 1 22 7
1 4 3
1 67 3
Total TO 3 Total TO 4
Ave Yds After TO 34 Ave Yds Given Up 33.5
Ave Pts After TO 4.7 Ave Pts After TO 4.0
# of Empty Poss 1 # of Empty Poss 0
Empty Poss % 33.33% Empty Poss % 0.00%
# of TD Poss 2 # of TD Poss 1
# of TD Poss % 67% # of TD Poss % 25%

Some of the interesting highlights.

Oregon was almost 17 yards better on average in yards given up after turnover than their opponents in 2011. They also averaged 1.38 more points per turnover. With the +9 turnover margin they had on the season, that means Oregon scored 133 points off turnovers to their opponents 61. On top of that, they only had 1 more empty possession (even though they had 2 games that ended with Oregon taking a knee to run out the clock after turnovers last year, but I didn't want to exclude those). That means their empty possession percentage was 34% compared to their opponent's 45%.

The most glaring statistic of all though was the number of turnovers that resulted in a touchdown.

In football this is a 14 point swing. Not only is your opponent driving to score and gets stopped, but you're immediately turning it around and scoring yourself. Remember all the games last year where it looked like Oregon just suddenly pulled away, even though the score seemed somewhat close at the half. Being 27% better than your opponent at turning turnovers into touchdowns will do that.

For 2012 so far, things seem to be shaping out somewhat similar. Oregon has had 4 turnovers this year, but only 1 has turned into a touchdown. Oregon is already losing the "turnover battle" in their first two games, but their opponents aren't turning it into very many points.

So there you have the Chip Kelly Statistic. For the rest of the year, I hope to continue breaking down how Oregon is doing in this new area, and I'll also try and break down the future opponent (no real statistics on Tennessee Tech, so none for this week, but wait till next week when we look at Arizona).

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