Statistical analysis of the Cal pass defense

We're missing a Rocky fanpost so I'm trying to fill the gap here, but I think this fanpost isn't up to his usual standards. Wait what am I missing? Oh yea "FIRE GREGALAMSHALLFORD"!!!

Ok more seriously, this fanpost will attempt to take a look at Cal's defensive performance against the quarterbacks we've faced this year (i.e. up to yesterday's game against Foles of Arizona). This means this does not look at situational stats such as performance on 3rd down. I had to chose an area to focus on!

This post will contain many charts but they always come in two flavors. The first chart will show how Cal performs against a QB versus the QBs season stats. However since the season stat contains the Cal game the second chart shows the same except it excludes stats from the Cal game.

Be sure to click on the images to see a larger version.

QB Rating



So basically we got owned by Masoli (big surprise right?), Tuel (!) and Canfield. What this is showing is that yes our defense doesn't force a quarterback to have a worse game than usual (unless you are Turner or Foles), but it's not as bad as everything believes it to be. Sure the variation between Masoli's season rating and how he performed against Cal is stunning, but keep in mind that this was early in the season with a LBs corps that was still learning. As you will see the Pac-10 quarterbacks are miles beyond anything we faced in our OOC schedule (Nichols has gaudy stats but he plays in D-1AA for a reason). Many were angered at our performance against Canfield but he is good. He is quite possibly the best Pac-10 quarterback we have faced yet. And keep in mind that our entire team was probably down after the Best injury and focused mostly on stopping the Rodgers brothers. Tuel is the only inexplicable result.

Difference Between the QB ratings



This is basically comparing the season QB rating of a quarterback versus his rating against Cal. Simply put the more positive the number the better (because that means his season rating is much better than what he did against Cal).

It's way more obvious here how badly we performed against Oregon. But enough of that. I want you to focus on the positive numbers versus Barkley and Prince, two quarterbacks many feel shredded Cal. That is not true according to this. After our dropping the ball versus Wazzu, Cal seems to have picked up and started performing better, culminating in a dominating performance against Foles.

Percent Completion per game



This is basically the completions per game divided by attempts per game

This shows just about the same thing as the QB rating shows. Dismal performance against Masoli, Tuel and Canfield. But surprisingly it's not as dire of difference as QB rating shows. The only big difference is that we let Nichols complete more pass against a BCS defense than he does otherwise.

TDs per game


(Yes the legend is wrong. But trust me it's the correct graph!)

This is interesting. This I think just shows our "bend not break" defense and how it's somewhat effective (at least with respect to pass defense). Throwing out Masoli, Tuel and Canfield we've held the opposing QBs to near or below their average TDs per game. Weber and Barkley are the only surprises. Weber because of Hagan's brain farts and Barkley for not scoring a single TD versus Cal. That was all on Cal's offense and special teams.

INTs per game



I like how Weber threw the most INTs against Cal than anyone else, granted they came in garbage time. But once again our trend of under-performing against Oregon and Wazzu shows up, but surprisingly we picked off Canfield more than he usually does (but not by much). Does it surprise anyone that Barkley throws more picks than Tuel (14 and 5 respectively in their seasons though Barkley has played 4 more games in full).

Sacks per game



Now we come to the aspect of pass rush. This is basically the number of times a QB has been sacked which is a function of both his O-line and the QB itself. I nominate this chart as perhaps the most surprising of all. Outside of Canfield we have sacked the QB nearly as many times as they get sacked per games if not more times.

I think the Cal pass defense has only had three "bad" games. Oregon who dominated us in all aspects, Wazzu (who basically had to throw the whole time) and Oregon State. I can't make any excuses for the Oregon performance. I think with Wazzu people were just taking it easy because well it was Wazzu and it was a blowout. With Oregon State the defense was focused on the run and probably was mentally down after the Best injury.

So true the Cal pass defense isn't the world beating group we thought prior to the season, it isn't that bad.... Oh who am I kidding, FIRE GREGORY!!

Addendum: Masoli's progression over the season



Well damn. This is probably the ugliest thing for the Cal defense. I can't say anything other than, wow we got beat. Interestingly Masoli's completion percentage seems to be dipping ever lower.

The opinions expressed in a FanPost are, in every way, reflective of the opinions of every California Golden Blogs Marshawnthusiast. Moreover, they are reflective of every employee of SBNation, including Tyler "Blez" Bleszinski.

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