Goat of the Year #2: Lou Tepper
Defensive Coordinator Tepper has great stats for his resume:
#3 in the MAC in Rushing Yards per attempt
#4 in the MAC in Opponent QB rating allowed
#3 in the MAC in Yards per play allowed
#3 in the MAC in Sacks per game
T#4 in the MAC in Interceptions per game
#3 in the MAC in Tackles For Loss per game
#3 in then MAC in Opponent Third Down Conversion Percentage
#6 in the MAC in Red Zone Defense
Despite all those good stats, Buffalo fell victim to unlucky number 13.
The Bulls allowed 13.22 yards per completion. That number ranks 13th in the MAC (out of 13) and 113th in the nation (out of 124).
How does a team in the top 25th percentile in sacks, interceptions, QB rating and yards per play allow so much on each completion? It must be that they were too aggressive and got beat for big plays? Nope.
UB stood in the top half of the conference in long plays from scrimmage allowed. We were actually too passive. Our stats are inflated by the amazing athletes we had on defense, but in the end, three man rushes, ten-yard cushions and letting each opponents best player move freely in soft zone coverage is the reason our defense looked way worse than the paper stats show.
That said, Buffalo improved defensively as the season progressed (and as the schedule softened), and we improved in every defensive category except forced fumbles and yards per pass completion. If Khalil Mack returns and Lester, Johnson, Sherry and Brim continue to gel as a defensive backfield, I hope Tepper feels comfortable unleashing Mack, Way and the front 7 by sending pressure often and disrupting the rhythm of the QBs we face. Only time will tell if my hopes will be fulfilled. Until then, Lou Tepper reigns as #2 Goat of the Year and he will probably spend his offseason reupholstering UB Stadium furniture.