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The Postseason Meal 2014 Part 1. Tepper Defense™

Tepper Defense™ is the term for whatever it is UB played in 2014, especially the first half of 2014. It can no longer be associated with what is commonly known as defense.

Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

Identity is important. College football experiences 20-25% turnover in their personnel every year. The average head coach tenure is three years. Thus, every 12 years, a fan will experience 380 different players and 3 different head coaches. The only thing that unites a program is the name, the logo and the team's identity.

Unless you're a UB fan.

From 2003-2014 we have had four coaches and two interim coaches. We have had four uniform changes. We have had two slogans. We have had 1.5 school names. We have no identity.

Under Hofher we strived to run the option and a pro-style defense.

Under Gill we were pro-style on offense with an opportunistic bend but don't break defense.

Under Quinn, we ran a spread-ish offense that consisted mostly of smashing a running back up the middle 40 times a game and performing half-hearted read options. The identity of the defense was a 3 man rush, dropping 8 back but never having safety help or any receiver double covered, and basically praying that Khalil Mack did something good.

With Mack gone, we feared the worst, and we got the worst defense in UB history.

We don't know what our identity will be in 2014. The slogan will change. Will the uniforms change?

Hopefully, the defense finds an identity.


The most disapointing stat for me was UB's sack number.

Overall UB had 25 sacks vs an expected 25.18 sacks, which would seem to show UB as an average pass rushing team. However, remove the FCS teams and UB falls to 18 sacks vs an expected value of 19.45.

Looking individually, CMU and UMass allowed 1.7 and 2.1 sacks per game, UB exceeded the sack expectation of 3.8, with ten sacks, five sacks in each game.

If UB played at that level all season, the Bulls would have had 66! sacks.

In their 7 other FBS games, UB had 8 sacks vs an expectation of 15.64.

Most glaring was recording only 1 sack against Miami and 1 against  Eastern Michigan, teams that gave up 78 sacks this year. On average (outside of the UB game) EMU gave up 1 sack for every 10 drop backs, while Miami gave up a sack for every 12 drop backs. UB faced 58 drop backs against those two teams, but only managed 2 sacks.

The chart below shows how UB became a better sack team in 2012 and 2013, but sadly reverted in 2014. Khalil Mack is a hell of a drug.

Sacks 2008-14


Cortney Lester had more interceptions against WMU in 2012 than UB had in 2014.

After sacks, interceptions were the lowest amount possible to be able to label them as plural. 2 on the year. Lowest in UB's FBS history. On average our opponents threw 16 TDs to 10 interceptions, +6. UB allowed 17 TDs to 2 interceptions, +15.

Our opponents on average threw 35 passes between interceptions. Against UB opponents threw 148 times between interceptions.



Altogether our defense was slightly below average.

UB allowed 7.08 yards per drop back a yard worse than our opponents average of 6.06 yards gained per drop back.

UB allowed 4.95 yards per rush, slightly worse than the 4.62 yards per rush our opponents averaged. Not bad on paper.

However, only twice did UB hold an opponent under 6.06 yards per drop back and 4.62 yards per rush. This came against Akron and FCS Norfolk State. These are the only games you can consider a good defensive effort. UB was 2-0 in those games:

Team Yards / drop yards /  run
Akron 4.06 2.86
Norfolk 4.8 3.33

Twice UB held an opponent under 6.06 yards per drop back while letting them exceed 4.62 yards per rush. UB was 2-0 in those games.

Team Yards / drop yards /  run
Miami 5.92 6.67
Umass 3.91 6.57

UB gave up a crazy 6.5+ yards per carry in those two games but was able to win thanks to good pass defense.

Three times UB held an opponent under 4.62 yards per rush while allowing them to exceed 6.06 yards per drop back. UB was 1-2 in those games, with the one win being an FCS win.

Team Yards / drop yards /  run
Duquesne 7.27 2.59
Baylor 12.97 4.61
CMU 6.66 3.36

Four times UB allowed an opponent to exceed both 6.06 yards per drop back and 4.62 yards per rush. UB was 0-4 in those games.

Team Yards / drop yards /  run
Army 14.75 6.57
BGSU 7.49 5.74
EMU 7.68 7.04
Ohio 6.76 4.66

Put together, average pass rush, no interceptions and the inability to stop the pass made 2014 one of the worst defending Bulls teams in their FBS history. Solid efforts against Akron and UMass at the end of the season are the only thing preventing the 2014 defense from being the hands down worst in UB's 16 seasons in the FBS.

The Bright Spot, Maybe

The lone bright spot was UB's ability to shut down the opponent's star wide receiver. The opponent's #1 WR caught 2 less balls and gained 13 less yards on average, however they exceeded their average rate of touchdown receptions. The opponent's #2 WR caught 3 less balls, gained 33 less yards and caught touchdowns half as frequently as their average rate.

This is possibly due to better play than we'd give credit to Cortney Lester and Bosie Ross. It is also possible that options 3-5, along with the run game, were so open that opposing QBs threw less to the top 2 receivers.