It is the time of year when coaches start to hunker down and begin to plan what they want to study for the following year. In a sea of information, coaches can get lost when looking for teams to choose to study. One piece of advice I always give is to stay away from antiquated metrics like rushing and passing yards and focus more on advanced analytics. Unless you plan on visiting a nearby staff, try and look outside your region for teams to watch. We all live in different ecosystems, so if you are looking for “new” ideas, look outside your typical worldview.
One of the things I look for when deciding on defenses to study is overall efficiency. Football Outsiders has given us their DVOA stat in the NFL that many pundits use to rate units. In the college world, we have BCF Toys, which is run by Brian Fremeau, who uses a similar formula as DVOA to rate college units. If you have followed me at all, you have seen his ratings.
Another great site I use to pick teams and track them throughout the year is CFB Graphs which breaks down the EPA for every FBS team (Follow Parker on Twitter!). EPA stands for Expected Points Added and focuses on field position and Down & Distance. I like this stat because it utilizes historical context and evaluates each play concerning where it is on the field. For example, a 3-yard play on 1st & 10 is not equal to a 3-yard play on 3rd & 2. Add the value of the field position, and you get a clearer picture of how teams are earning or restricting yards.
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