Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Taking a look at UConn's offense

Before the major news hit that Casey Cochran, who entered the season as UConn's starting quarterback, was going to be forced to retire due to suffering multiple concussions throughout his playing career I was in the process of taking a closer look at the way UConn was going about its business on offense.

As painful as it was, I taped the game and went back over it. By my account 36 of the 64 offensive players resulted in either no gain or negative yardage versus 11 plays of at least 10 yards which is a dreadful ratio.

I wanted to break it down even more.

I truly believed the UConn coming into the season that UConn would be utilizing more two tight end sets than two running backs with three or four receivers or multiple running backs..However, by my very unofficial tabulations, the Huskies ran 36 plays with a tailback and fullback and 16 with two tight ends in the win over Stony Brook.

I know it is just one game but no numbers jumped out more to me than the difference when UConn used two tight ends (16 plays for 12 yards) or lined up with either one or zero tight ends (48 plays, 211 yards).

UConn lined up most often with two running backs, two receivers and a tight end  with mixed results with more double-digit yardage plays (5) but also nine plays that failed to gain a yard.

What I found interesting is that the two RBs and WRs had the most success in the first half but in the second half UConn was at its best with three wide receivers out there (although two of the three sacks came with the three-receiver set). Still 12 of the 18 plays with three wide receivers resulted in negative yardage or no gain. It looked to me that Stony Brook dialed up its max pressure formations when UConn went to its three or four wide receiver sets. That is something I anticipate more teams to do as well until the Huskies prove they can run the ball more effectively. Still, nothing was as nightmarish as when UConn used two tight ends and two running backs as 11 plays resulted in a total of negative 1 yard. That is bad news for a team which came into the season wanted to prove it could be more physical than its opponents.

With the way UConn runs players in and out, it can be hard to draw too many conclusions since the Huskies used four tailbacks, two fullbacks, seven receivers and three tight ends (Alec Bloom did get a few snaps even though he was not listed in the player participation report). Still it was noteworthy to see how ineffective the Huskies were with two tight ends out there.

It was also worth mentioning that after starting the game giving each of the four tailbacks their own series, it became more of the Max DeLorenzo show at the game wore on as he finished with nearly twice as many snaps as the other three tailbacks combined. It should be noted that Josh Marriner did not return after hitting his arm and shoulder while blocking on a kickoff return so perhaps that would have changed the snap distribution.

Here's the breakdown
Formation   Plays-Yards (10-plus yard plays/plays of no gain or negative yardage)
2 RB-2WR-1TE: 25 plays-144 yards (5/9)
1RB-3WR-1TE   18 plays-  50 yards (4/12)
1RB-4WR-0TE    5 plays - 17 yards (1/3)
1RB-2WR-2TE    5 plays-  13 yards (1/4)
2RB-1WR-2TE  11 plays- (-) 1 yard (0/8)


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