Recently, I attended the Coach Kevin Kelley football clinic at Pulaski Academy in Little Rock.
Yes, that Kevin Kelley, the guy who always onsides kicks, and never punts. Coach Kelley is known throughout the nation as 'the analytics guy' who uses data to coach in a very aggressive way. It has worked for him and Pulaski Academy. They have won nine state championships since 2003, including 2019, and again this year in 2020.
The clinic was terrific, but for me, the best part was the first hour when he went through the analytics of what determines victory.
THE NUMBER ONE FACTOR FOR VICTORY IS....
1. BIG PLAYS (+20 yards) - wins 81% of all games.
OTHER FACTORS WE SHOULD ALL CARE ABOUT ARE:
2. TURNOVERS - the team that creates the most turnovers wins 78% of the time.
3. SACKS - the team that creates the most sacks wins 77% of the time.
4. TACKLES for LOSS - the team that has the most TFL's wins at a 69% clip.
What should this data mean to coaches?
It should mean a ton.
We should be using this information to help us make decisions both in program philosophy and in-game.
The numbers don't lie; this data has been collected from every college and professional game since 1950.
#1 - BIG PLAYS. If the team with the most plays of +20 yards has an 81% greater chance of winning, should you think about offense differently? In your offense, is there a consistent way to 'hit them big' with shots? If not, then find a way to create 'chunk' plays.
#2 - TURNOVERS. Are you working turnover stations every day? We do (youTube New England Patriots turnover drills) and we are constantly yelling, "fist to chin" when we are bringing the ball back to the quarterback in drills.
#3 - SACKS. "No quarterback performs better when he is facing a blitz, from Tom Brady on down", Coach Kelley told me as we were talking at a break in the clinic. Pressure the opponent's quarterback. Sacks are termed 'disasters' for us (as well as turnovers). This is from a previous blog, but I don't understand why coaches release the running back so often. I rarely (if ever) see a true hot throw to a back. At North Forney, we seven-man pass protect much of the time. We don't give up many sacks.
#4 - TACKLES FOR LOSS. This relates to sacks; defenses should bring pressure. The statistics show when any drive begins with a play of fewer than four yards, the chances of scoring a touchdown decrease by 40%...this means 'P-10' is a HUGE play!
The numbers matter. Not only to know them but to use them in how we coach.
This blog should get you to think about how much your program emphasizes the situations above. If you are not explicitly working each factor, you can improve by changing just a few things about your team practices and preps for game night.