Faculty soccer’s overperformers, underachievers (a lot of SEC defenses!) and what all of it means

Week 6 of the school soccer season was essentially the most faculty soccer week but. You had Pitt kicker Alex Kessman nailing a 58-yard subject aim to power additional time towards Boston Faculty, then lacking a PAT to lose the sport. You had Oklahoma beating rival Texas in 4 overtimes regardless of blowing a late two-touchdown lead and head coach Lincoln Riley displaying all of his worst, most destructively conservative tendencies. You had surprising blowouts, actual home-crowd advantages and upset bids galore.

Most of all, you had dissonance down South. Nick Saban’s Alabama took half in essentially the most prolific regulation recreation in SEC historical past, a 63-48 win over Lane Kiffin’s Ole Miss that included 111 factors and 1,370 yards. Six different SEC groups scored no less than 38 factors, and three weeks into the league schedule, six SEC groups rank 53rd or decrease (out of 76 groups to have performed to this point) in whole protection. That features LSU, Florida and Alabama.

WHAT?

Utilizing that as a immediate, let’s take a look at the groups which have performed essentially the most out-of-character ball to date.

Listed below are among the offenses and defenses which have overachieved or underachieved essentially the most in comparison with their preseason SP+ projections. We’ll take a look at what they’ve finished significantly nicely or poorly, and we’ll take a look at why their fortunes would possibly change shifting ahead.

(Word, the record of underachieving defenses beneath does not embrace Alabama as a result of the Crimson Tide have not underachieved their projections as a lot as you would possibly suppose — they had been projected merely nineteenth in defensive SP+ due to turnover within the secondary, they usually’ve fallen solely to twenty second to this point. Worry not: You will learn lots in regards to the Alabama D in Friday’s huge Georgia-Bama preview.

Underachieving defenses

Not even together with Alabama, possibly the three most surprisingly unhealthy defenses within the nation all reside within the SEC.

Florida Gators

Week 6 end result: Misplaced to Texas A&M 41-38

Uncooked statistics: 58th in scoring protection (33.3 factors per recreation), 72nd in whole protection (495 yards per recreation)

SP+ (preseason and current): Third in defensive SP+ within the preseason, twentieth after six weeks. As talked about in Sunday’s SP+ release, a group’s rankings are nonetheless derived closely from preseason projections, so it is virtually unattainable for a group projected as excessive as third to have fallen greater than 15-20 spots to date. If it was doable, the Gators would have finished it.

Most damning weak point: Spectacular inefficiency. Florida was seventh in defensive SP+ in 2019, and whereas the Gators did lose pass-rusher Jonathan Greenard and nook CJ Henderson, many of the two-deep returned, as did defensive coordinator Todd Grantham. Possibly you may predict passing downs points if the Gators could not sufficiently exchange Greenard, however three video games into 2020, they’ve suffered a complete collapse. They’re seventy fifth out of 76 groups in success charge allowed — 74th towards the run, seventieth towards the go. Massive performs are random and unstable, however effectivity is predictive, and Florida’s defensive inefficiency has been startling. Texas A&M scored 41 mixed factors towards Vanderbilt and Alabama, then posted 41 on the Gators. The Aggies scored on all however two drives.

Florida simply appears a step sluggish throughout the board. The Gators are coping with their fair proportion of “absent for unspecified causes” points on the depth chart, however no more than anybody else. Their largest subject appears to be {that a} bunch of gamers are enjoying worse than they did final yr. That is semi-encouraging in that we all know what they’re able to, they usually might revert to type sooner or later. However they have not but.

Ray of sunshine: At the very least they are not getting gashed deep, too. In 2019, the Gators ranked twenty first in my marginal explosiveness measure — my subject position-adjusted measure of the magnitude of 1’s profitable performs — they usually’re presently twenty first this yr, too. For all of A&M’s intermediate success, the Aggies had solely two positive factors of 25-plus yards. None of this issues should you’re giving up fixed 15-yard passes, as Florida did in Faculty Station, but it surely’s no less than an indication that the issues might be worse.

LSU Tigers

Week 6 end result: Misplaced to Missouri 45-41

Uncooked statistics: 51st in scoring protection (32 factors per recreation), 71st in whole protection (495 yards per recreation)

SP+ (preseason and current): twenty fifth in defensive SP+ within the preseason, thirty seventh after six weeks

Most damning weak point: Passing downs. In Saturday’s loss, LSU gave up a 69-yard go on second-and-12, a 26-yarder on third-and-6, a 21-yarder on second-and-8 and a 17-yarder on second-and-10. The Tigers additionally gave up massive performs on common downs, to make certain, however LSU’s signs have been two-fold: They can not knock groups off-schedule, and once they do, they get obliterated. Even by Missouri’s second-string receivers.

On blitz downs (second-and-super-long, third-and-5 or extra), the Tigers have given up positive factors of 20-plus yards 23% of the time (74th), and even worse, these are fairly dang simple massive performs. Whereas Mizzou’s first landing of the sport got here on a well-executed flea-flicker, Connor Bazelak additionally accomplished a 69-yard go to uncovered freshman Chance Luper and a 41-yard landing to an impossibly wide-open Micah Wilson.

play

1:46

Missouri QB Connor Bazelak throws for 406 yards and 4 touchdowns whereas Myles Brennan passes for 430 yards and 4 TDs in LSU’s 45-41 loss.

Mizzou coach Eliah Drinkwitz’s offense is predicated on misdirection and creating confusion, so give a bit of due credit score to these Tigers. However communication for brand new LSU coordinator Bo Pelini’s protection is nonexistent. Regardless of the return of nook Derek Stingley Jr., the breakdowns of their third recreation had been as unhealthy because the breakdowns of their first. LSU has managed to decelerate solely Vanderbilt to this point, which does not really matter.

Ray of sunshine: The go rush is strong. Although he hasn’t blitzed a lot, Pelini has discovered a solution to generate some stress — the Tigers are sixteenth in stress charge and thirtieth in sack charge. If the secondary irons out the “I believed you had him,” “No, I believed you had him” points, then they will no less than get off the sphere higher on passing downs.

Ole Miss Rebels

Week 6 end result: Misplaced to Alabama 63-48

Uncooked statistics: 76th in scoring protection (51.7 factors per recreation), 76th in whole protection (641 yards per recreation)

SP+ (preseason and current): forty first in defensive SP+ within the preseason, sixty fifth after six weeks

Most damning weak point: The whole lot. When it comes to success charge, Ole Miss is the worst FBS protection towards the run, second worst towards the go, worst on commonplace downs and second worst on passing downs. Florida’s Kyle Trask and Alabama’s Mac Jones mixed to finish 58 of 74 passes for 833 yards, eight touchdowns, no interceptions and solely two sacks. Defensive co-coordinators DJ Durkin and Chris Partridge are sending the home usually (twelfth in blitzes per dropback) and getting virtually nothing from it (59th in sack charge, 67th in stress charge). They can not power groups off-schedule and may’t get off the sphere once they do.

Ray of sunshine: Florida and Alabama at the moment are off the schedule. Arkansas, Auburn and Vanderbilt, three of the least efficient offenses within the league to date, are subsequent. There’s nothing saying Ole Miss can generate a lot success towards them, however the diploma of problem no less than goes down a bit.

Overachieving defenses

It felt as if virtually nobody really had a superb week on protection in Week 6, however let’s speak about a few Massive 12 defenses that had a relaxation week and have, in a task reversal with the SEC, confirmed up big-time to date. We’ll additionally take a look at Convention USA’s most intriguing group.

Oklahoma State Cowboys

Week 6 end result: Bye week

Uncooked statistics: Third in scoring protection (9 factors per recreation), ninth in whole protection (274 yards per recreation)

SP+ (preseason and current): thirty seventh in defensive SP+ within the preseason, twenty fourth after six weeks

Most encouraging power: Profitable aggression. OSU defensive coordinator Jim Knowles has for some time subscribed to an ethos pricey to my coronary heart: effectivity over the whole lot. Assault, play bodily and danger massive performs, penalties and extra massive performs within the identify of taking the combat to your opponent.

For a lot of his OSU tenure, this has resulted in, nicely, massive performs, penalties and extra massive performs. However towards groups ranked 61st, 69th and 119th in offensive SP+, this yr’s seasoned Pokes protection has dominated. It’s fourth in success charge allowed, and 45% of opponents’ possessions have been three-and-outs to date (third in FBS). The Pokes are twelfth in marginal explosiveness as nicely.

Purple flag: The nice offenses are on the way in which. Admittedly, the Massive 12 is just not the offensive juggernaut it has been for many of the previous 15 years. Oklahoma (fourth) and Texas (eighth) have the one top-25 offenses, per SP+, and OSU’s is the one different one ranked greater than thirty eighth. Nonetheless, as principally the one remaining Faculty Soccer Playoff candidate within the Massive 12, the Pokes should maneuver previous the Sooners, Longhorns and a shortly rising Iowa State group. Oh yeah, and whereas OSU is twelfth in general marginal explosiveness, it is sixtieth on passing downs. Good offenses would possibly make the Pokes seem like LSU.

West Virginia Mountaineers

Week 6 end result: Bye week

Uncooked statistics: thirteenth in scoring protection (19.3 factors per recreation), eighth in whole protection (268 yards per recreation)

SP+ (preseason and current): sixty fifth in defensive SP+ within the preseason, 51st after six weeks

Most encouraging power: A blitz-free go rush. Little was anticipated of a WVU protection that ranked 73rd in defensive SP+ final yr and fired defensive coordinator Vic Koenning in June. However like OSU, the Mountaineers have mixed effectivity and big-play prevention in an encouraging means, even when the competitors (Jap Kentucky, Baylor and an OSU group with a freshman QB) wasn’t wonderful.

The most important standout trait up to now is the mix of those three rankings: WVU is 69th in blitzes per dropback, thirteenth in sack charge and fourth in stress charge. With tackles akin to Darius Stills and Dante Stills, and edge rushers VanDarius Cowan, Jared Bartlett and Jalen Thornton, the Mountaineers do not should ship greater than 4 pass-rushers to efficiently harass the QB. From a protection standpoint, that provides an exquisite luxurious.

Purple flag: Potential points in run protection. This protection is kind of undersized, and although the run-defense numbers have been strong, they are not fairly nearly as good because the go protection: nineteenth in dashing success charge allowed, forty second in dashing marginal explosiveness. The Mountaineers end the yr towards Texas, TCU, Oklahoma and Iowa State, possibly the 4 groups most certainly to reap the benefits of that.

Marshall Thundering Herd

Week 6 end result: Beat Western Kentucky 38-14

Uncooked statistics: First in scoring protection (7 factors per recreation), tenth in whole protection (275 yards per recreation)

SP+ (preseason and current): sixtieth in defensive SP+ within the preseason, thirty first after six weeks

Most encouraging power: Doc Holliday’s Thundering Herd have twice completed within the defensive SP+ prime 25 prior to now 5 years however fell to 59th final season. Regardless of making an attempt minimal disruption general — sixty fifth in run stuff charge, 73rd in blitzes per dropback — the Herd are swarming like a top-25 D as soon as once more. Linebacker Tavante Beckett is in every single place, West Virginia switch Derrek Pitts is a presence within the secondary, and Marshall ranks each seventeenth in success charge and second in marginal explosiveness allowed.

The Herd power you to dink and dunk, wait so that you can make a mistake, and pounce. And so they’re 3-0 having already overwhelmed the 2 most highly-ranked groups on the schedule in Appalachian State and a WKU group that has admittedly dissatisfied. Hurdles stay, however the protection has turned Marshall into the Convention USA front-runner.

Purple flag: The shortage of disruption might finally backfire. The C-USA East is just not loaded with environment friendly offenses in the intervening time, but when an opponent is affected person and mistake-free sufficient to take a number of yards at a time and management the ball, it would put the Herd offense underneath extra stress than it could actually deal with to maintain up on the scoreboard.

Underachieving offenses

Mississippi State Bulldogs

Week 6 end result: Misplaced to Kentucky 24-2

Uncooked statistics: 66th in scoring offense (20 factors per recreation), twenty fifth in whole offense (442 yards per recreation)

SP+ (preseason and current): twenty sixth in offensive SP+ within the preseason, forty first after six weeks

Most damning weak point: The large-play spigot has been shut off. It was solely two weeks in the past that K.J. Costello was throwing for about 1,700 yards (OK, 623) towards LSU’s dysfunctional protection. That output included seven completions of no less than 30 yards and eight extra of no less than 20.

Since then: a 34-yard completion towards Arkansas, a 23-yarder towards Kentucky … and that is it. Costello has averaged a paltry 6.9 yards per completion since then, which, mixed with seven interceptions, has floor the Mike Leach Air Raid to a complete halt. Each Arkansas and Kentucky performed the kind of bend-don’t-break protection Leach offenses usually see, however Leach’s new prices haven’t even barely realized easy methods to deal with it.

Ray of sunshine: That is nothing Leach hasn’t confronted earlier than. Ignoring Leach’s gross quotes about needing a “purge” of “malcontents,” the underside line is that, like a seasoned previous triple-option coach, Leach has seen each protection recognized to man by this level. If or when his passers and receivers get nearer to the identical web page, the offense ought to no less than work its means again to common. “Common” is not what we had been anticipating two weeks in the past, but it surely’s essentially the most sensible ambition in the intervening time.

Auburn Tigers

Week 6 end result: Beat Arkansas 30-28

Uncooked statistics: 62nd in scoring offense (21.7 factors per recreation), 67th in whole offense (329 yards per recreation)

SP+ (preseason and current): Seventh in offensive SP+ within the preseason, thirty third after six weeks

Most damning weak point: They nonetheless cannot go. Granted, the Tigers get bonus factors for having confronted Georgia already — they’ve averaged a much more tolerable 29.5 factors and 385 yards towards mortal defenses. Nonetheless, these aren’t nice numbers, and with out freshman operating again Tank Bigsby producing a career-high 146 yards towards Arkansas, they’d be 1-2 as a result of the passing recreation as soon as once more stunk.

I named quarterback Bo Nix the second-most important player of the 2020 season due to the affect he might have if he had been to take pleasure in a second-year leap behind heart. Up to now, he has not. He has accomplished 57% of his passes at simply 11.1 yards per completion, his passer score is a mere 121, and he is taking far too many sacks in apparent go conditions. Even with a resilient run recreation, Auburn ranks simply forty ninth in success charge and 66th in marginal explosiveness.

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3:01

The Tigers pull out a detailed 30-28 win over Arkansas after junior kicker Anders Carlson hits the game-winning subject aim.

Ray of sunshine: The much less organized defenses are on the way in which. Georgia is Georgia, and each Kentucky and Arkansas have confirmed organized and well-coached this yr. However the subsequent three opponents on the schedule are South Carolina, Ole Miss and LSU. South Carolina is seventieth in success charge allowed (regardless of having performed Vanderbilt!), and also you already examine Ole Miss and LSU above. There is perhaps playmaking alternatives on the horizon.

Overachieving offenses

Ole Miss

Uncooked statistics: eleventh in scoring offense (41.7 factors per recreation), second in whole offense (573 yards per recreation)

SP+ (preseason and current): thirty eighth in offensive SP+ within the preseason, twenty sixth after six weeks

Most encouraging power: Matt Corral is ideal for Lane Kiffin (and vice versa). As horrifying as Ole Miss’ protection has been, the Rebels’ opponent in a given week has been almost as unsuccessful. Regardless of having already performed Florida and Alabama, Ole Miss is producing UCF-level stats, which makes no less than a bit of sense contemplating offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby certainly got here to Oxford from UCF. Combining the Knights’ tempo and spacing with a few of Kiffin’s well-honed passing ideas and daring playcalling has produced otherworldly outcomes to this point.

Former blue-chipper Corral has produced a passer score over 200 in every recreation and is combining a 76% completion charge with a mean of over 16 yards per completion. And even with a brief, 10-game season, he has two receivers on tempo for greater than 1,000 yards: veteran receiver Elijah Moore and tight finish/matchup nightmare Kenny Yeboah.

Purple flag: The run recreation is not nice. The Rebels’ run charges are excessive, however they’re solely forty fifth in dashing success charge and twentieth in commonplace downs success charge. They’re counting on the go to bail them out, and it has, but when opponents begin to get a learn on that, or if the hits on Corral begin including up (they’re 56th in sack charge), that might be an issue.

Then again, Ole Miss ran the ball higher than it had all yr towards Alabama — Snoop Conner and Jerrion Ealy mixed for 40 carries and 248 yards. Possibly that progress will proceed.

Coastal Carolina Chanticleers

Week 6 end result: Bye week

Uncooked statistics: Fourth in scoring offense (44.3 factors per recreation), twenty sixth in whole offense (441 yards per recreation)

SP+ (preseason and current): 86th in offensive SP+ within the preseason, 54th after six weeks

Most encouraging power: An choice(ish) group that may go. A shoutout to Chanticleers. Jamey Chadwell’s squad has patented a cool, run-heavy offense in recent times, they usually’ve supplemented it with some critical passing chops in 2020. Freshman quarterback Grayson McCall has accomplished 67% of his passes at 17.3 yards per completion, and he has thrown just one interception in his first 63 passes of the season. The run recreation retains the Chants on schedule, then McCall passes excessive of the protection. Coastal boasts possibly the slowest tempo in FBS however is averaging 3.9 factors per drive, third in FBS. The protection (thirty first in factors per drive allowed) would possibly know what it is doing, too.

Purple flag: What occurs when the deep balls do not join? The run recreation has produced subsequent to no explosiveness, and when the convention’s higher defenses — Appalachian State, Louisiana, Georgia Southern, Troy — pop up on the schedule, Coastal may not have the ability to depend on the deep photographs as a lot. Which may make McCall look much more like a freshman. The actual checks start Wednesday, when the Chants journey to face Louisiana. Cannot look ahead to that one.

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