Most/Least Improved Pass Offenses L/20 Years
Today’s blog will continue with my series of analyzing the most/least improved units over the last 20 years. Each day this week I will have a new offensive or defensive statistical category to examine and today I will breakdown offensive pass yards.
There are many factors that contribute to a significant change in pass yards. First, a new coach may come in and prefer a more pass-oriented attack than the previous coach. Naturally a lot more passing attempts will usually equal a lot more yards. Similarly you may see a significant drop in pass yards if the new coach features a run-heavy offense than the previous coach.
Another factor team which could contribute to a large gain in pass yards may be that the team has a veteran quarterback along with bunch of young running backs and they will want to focus on the passing game more to take the pressure off the inexperienced backs. Similarly, a large drop off in pass yards may occur when the team has an inexperienced quarterback, and has their star RB returning. Also a team may feature an experienced Heisman-caliber QB and in that case they will give him many more attempts thus increasing the passing yard output.
Whatever the case may be here are all the teams that improved by at least 100 yards passing compared to the prior season. Quick note for many of the smaller schools in the WAC, MAC and Sun Belt: my data only goes back to 1995 for those teams so it would include the last 15 years instead of the last 20.
Most Improved Pass Offense YPG L/20 years
|7||San Diego St||2002||156|
|18||San Diego St||2007||123|
|41||N Carolina St||2003||104|
Coming in at #1 is the 1997 Kentucky Wildcats. After the ’96 season, Kentucky hired Hal Mumme who brought with him his pass-happy offense. Led by future #1 pick Tim Couch the Wildcats averaged 365 pass ypg in ’97 which was 247 more ypg than 1996. The next year Kentucky improved their pass ypg again and it was key factor in the team going to its first bowl game in five years.
Similar to Kentucky, the #2 most improved pass offense the 1999 Oklahoma Sooners brought in a new coach. In Bob Stoops’ first year the Sooners avg 327 pass ypg led by QB Josh Heupel which was 217 more pyg than the previous season. Oklahoma would then go onto win the national title the following season. The #3 team fit the new pass-happy coach mold as well. In 2007, North Texas brought in highly-successful Texas HS coach Todd Dodge and the Mean Green improved their pass ypg by 175.
Now here is a look at all of the teams who averaged at least 100 pass ypg less than the prior year. Keep in mind again that my data only goes back to 1995 for some of the smaller schools.
Least Improved Pass Offense YPG L/20 Years
|1||New Mexico St||2009||-213|
|8||N Carolina St||2004||-150|
|33||San Diego St||2003||-114|
|36||San Diego St||1991||-107|
|40||San Jose St||2004||-106|
|44||New Mexico St||2008||-105|
Last year New Mexico St hired DeWayne Walker who featured a more balanced attack compared to former coach Hal Mumme who featured his “Air Raid” system. The Aggies also had to replace the school’s all-time career leading passer in Chase Holbrook and the returning quarterbacks had ZERO career FBS passes! Add all this up and you get the least improved pass attack of the last 20 years as the Aggies avg 213 ypg less in ’09.
At #2 is the 2008 Hawaii passing attack, which like New Mexico St had a new coach and the Warriors had to replace star QB Colt Brennan who threw for nearly 10,000 yards and 96 TDs in the previous two years combined! With a new quarterback, the Warriors avg “just” 251 pass ypg but it was a far-cry from the 439 ypg they avg in the 2007 Sugar Bowl season.
At #3 is the 1993 Houston Cougars who like the top 2 brought in a new coach in Kim Helton who featured a less “pass-heavy” offense than former “run and shoot” HC John Jenkins.
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I will be back tomorrow with a look at the most/least improved pass attacks from the last 20 years.
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