Most/Least Improved Pass Defenses of the L/20 Years
Today’s blog will continue with my series of analyzing the most/leas 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 total defensive yards.
There are many factors that contribute to a significant change in pass defense. First, a team may see significant improvement if they return a bunch of experienced starters especially in the defensive backfield. Naturally a team that loses a bunch of starters especially their cornerbacks and safeties could see a significant drop in pass defense.
Another factor maybe how many starters are back on the defensive line. In many cases the ability to put pressure on a quarterback on a consistent basis determines the overall success of the pass defense. If a team cannot put pressure on a quarterback and the QB is given ample time to find an open receiver, it does not matter how good a defensive secondary is.
Finally, the way a team performs in allowing rush yards plays a big part. For example, if a defense is allowing a lot of yards rushing, their pass defense numbers may be better since teams are less likely to throw when they are already controlling the line of scrimmage. Also teams that score a lot of points offensively may allow a lot of defensive pass yards since teams will be trying to play catch up on the scoreboard.
Whatever the case may be here are all the teams that improved by at least 100 ypg of pass defense 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 Defense YPG L/20 Years
|1||N Carolina St||2004||-165|
The most improved pass defense of the last 20 years was Chuck Amato’s 2004 NC State Wolfpack. In 2003 the Wolfpack returned just four starters from a 2002 defense that gave up just 17.0 ppg and 176 pass ypg. However, NC State fell dramatically to allow 284 pass ypg and 29.6 ppg. In 2004, the Wolfpack returned 9 starters and their numbers improved significantly allowing just 119 pass ypg, a 165 ypg improvement.
At #2 is the 2002 LSU Tigers. That year the Tigers returned 7 starters from a 2001 underperforming defense that gave up 281 pass ypg. However, in 2002 those numbers improved significantly as they allowed just 153 pass ypg.
At #3 is the 1997 Wyoming Cowboys who had a new coach in Dana Dimel who gave more attention to the defensive side of the ball and the Cowboys improved to allow 119 pass ypg less than the year before.
Now here is a look at all of the teams who gave up at least 100 pass ypg more 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 Defense YPG L/20 Years
|9||N Carolina St||2003||108|
|11||San Jose St||2005||107|
The least improved pass defense of the last 20 years is the 2003 Mississippi St Bulldogs who in Jackie Sherrill’s final year gave up 283 pass ypg which were the most in his 13 years at the helm and 129 ypg more than his ’02 sqaud.
The #2 least improved pass defense is the 1996 UNLV Rebels who returned just 5 starters back from a defense that allowed 152 pass ypg in 1995. In ’96, the Rebels gave up 274 pass ypg and overall allowed an incredible 544 total ypg and 45.9 ppg!
The #3 least improved pass defense is the 1998 Memphis Tigers who returned 8 starters from a defense that allowed 162 pass ypg in ’97. Shockingly, the Tigers would allow 281 pass ypg in ’98 but would improved the following year by 111 ypg.
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I will be back on tomorrow with a look at the most/least improved total defenses from the last 20 years.
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