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Cathartic Venting

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  • Okay, as most of our readers know by now, I was never the biggest Greg Davis fan in the world.
  • That doesn't mean that I ever wrote things on here that were aimed at tearing his offense apart, my tact was more to point out the failures with numbers and let y'all decide for yourselves.

    Since learning that Davis would not be back next year on Recruitocosm, I had simply looked forward to following the search for a replacement and watching the process of a new offense being installed and implemented. I had neither sought out any articles on the then soon to be departed OC nor even read them after the official announcement came out. It just didn't seem important to spend time worrying about a man that had just lost his job when I knew that reading things would only irritate me.

    Then one of our fellow Barkers brought an Austin-American Statesman article to my attention. While I still haven't read the entire article, you'll soon see that's because I didn't want to fly into a fit of rage and off myself. A portion of the article was highlighted for review and I've quoted it below:

    But when I asked him about his fundamental football truths — those principles embedded in the heart of a football coach — Davis reached under his desk. A book materialized. Davis called it his "quality control" manual. He opened it to the first page.

    "I could give you a thousand numbers," he said.

    Instead, he pointed to one.

    His data showed that a category called "scoring offense" determines whether a team wins or loses. Davis had arrived at this conclusion by studying the top college football teams from the past 10 seasons. He motioned me closer to see.

    "I know what causes winning and losing," he said, his pitch rising. "Don't talk to me about running the ball, throwing the ball. That's the No. 1 factor."

    He composed himself. "It's not opinion," he said. "It's fact. If at some point that's not good enough, then that's not good enough."

    Wow.

    I could tell I was going to have to vent about this excerpt as soon as I read it. In this short segment of the story I had found enough to bother me to last a good long while. And I'm not even going to address the idea that a professional sportswriter was apparently awestruck by the concept of a category called "scoring offense" and the wisdom of the story subject as he shared these deep insights into the game of football.

    No, I'm going to focus on the man formerly known as our offensive coordinator. And I realize that some of you will think this post is superfluous and unnecessary. You're probably correct. For you, at least. For me this is very necessary.

    Where to begin. Our long-term readers may recognize the study that Davis cites above, or at least recall hearing about it at some point. This study actually came to our attention before the 2009 football season and it was at that point that I detailed some of the shortcomings and offered improvements to the research. Let's say it's fairly obvious that Davis never improved upon his initial study and instead moved forward utilizing his own conclusions. So what are my specific issues in just this tiny portion of the article?

    1. The idea that scoring points is a very important factor in determining whether a team wins or loses was apparently a new concept to the man that coordinated our offense for 13 years.
    2. The fact that Davis had to arrive at this conclusion by spending offseason time studying this data.
    3. The "don't talk to me" line and all it shows. Greg Davis doesn't appear to understand the concept that running the ball and throwing the ball effectively is what leads to scoring more points.

    That last one is particularly irritating because of its relation to another issue I always had when Mack and/or Davis would start talking about statistics. We're all familiar with how much the staff has loved to point to explosive plays as a crucial part of effective offense. The problem was that it always seemed that they had no idea that explosive plays are the result of an effective offensive design and good execution. The way they worded their sentences always made it seem like they thought explosive plays were a fundamental element of offense they had to discover and design specifically. It never occurred to them that explosive plays are an effect of good offense. It seemed that they thought they were a cause of good offense.

    Well, that sentence certainly makes it seem like that's exactly the case. Greg Davis, and Mack Brown along with him, do not have nearly a firm enough grasp of cause-and-effect, let alone statistical analysis, to be in charge of such analysis for a football program. The good news is that I'm available but hiring me away from the FanTake conglomerate is going to be pretty damn expensive.