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Cal Advanced Stats: Cal v. Washington State

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Like Polish history, “and then it got worse”.

California v Washington Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Some Stats Explanation Notes

Well, that sucked. Not much to add. We all saw what the lack of skill position players can do to Cal, especially against a CFP contender. Add the game before that, against Oregon, Cal has notched two 0 percentile performances. What does that mean? Cal played like a 0th percentile team in quality.

The same way Stanford’s red is a bad sign, the red we see in the left hand side of the image = bad. In the first quarter Cal notched a success rate that is 3 magnitudes lower than the national standard. At no point in the game did Cal come to the 40 percentile level of efficiency. This is bad. No duh.

One sliver of good news: we limited the 13th S&P+ offense to FBS average. Yay?

California Golden Bears, 3-3 (0-3 Pac-12 North): S&P+ Overall Ranking: #96 (down 19)

Overall

Cal Overall

Category Offense Rk Defense Rk
Category Offense Rk Defense Rk
S&P+ 24.5 101 30.6 82
Points Per Game 24.3 96 29.8 89

And Cal has hit the inflection point. Cal offense is officially worse than the Cal defense. There we are. In the whole of the Sonny Dykes era, I never typed these words. It was 2012 when the Cal offense was most recently worse than Cal defense, however, both were ranked in the mid-pack of the FBS. Now, they are in the bottom of the FBS rankings. Glorious.

Offense

Cal Offense Overall

Category Avg. Rk Nat'l Avg.
Category Avg. Rk Nat'l Avg.
Success Rate 36.10% 118 40.40%
IsoPPP 1.21 50 1.17
Avg. FP 29 85 29.7
Pts. Per Trip in 40 3.91 110 4.4

What happens when you combine losing a 5* top notch WR, a veteran dual-threat RB, his back-up, a hard nosed WR with solid hands, a wholesale change on the o-line, a newly minted started at QB with no starting experience, and a new scheme?

An offense that has no efficiency nor ability to score within an opponent’s redzone.

Later on in this post when we look at the defensive statistics, one of the data points is Field Position. With the multitude of 3 and outs and turnovers, the Cal Defense is forced to defend the 2nd worst Field Position in FBS.

Cal Passing Offense

Player Ht, Wt Year Comp Att Yards TD INT Comp Rate Sacks Sack Rate Yards/ Att.
Player Ht, Wt Year Comp Att Yards TD INT Comp Rate Sacks Sack Rate Yards/ Att.
Ross Bowers 6'2, 200 SO 124 222 1437 9 8 55.90% 22 9.00% 5.3
Chase Forrest 6'2, 205 JR 5 10 53 0 0 50.00% 1 9.10% 3.8

In 2016 Davis Webb took 16 sacks all year long, for a sack rate 2.5%, Ross Bowers has been sacked 22 times in 5 games for a sack rate of 9%. What does that mean? In 2016 Alabama in 15 games sacked opponents 54 times for a rate of 3.6 a game Ross takes sacks at 4.4 a game. At this pace Bowers is set to get sacked 52 to 53 times this year. That’s unhealthy.

Cal Rushing Offense

Category Avg. Rk Nat'l Avg.
Category Avg. Rk Nat'l Avg.
Rushing Success Rate 40.40% 85 42.00%
Rushing IsoPPP 0.88 76 0.91
Opportunity Rate 33.90% 104 38.90%
Power Success Rate 58.30% 105 69.30%
Stuff Rate 24.10% 115 19.20%

Unless Cal finds a way to protect the QB or run the ball more often (Cal is 94th in Run Rate on Standard Downs) this offense will be unhealthy for any QB taking snaps for Cal.

Cal Detail

Category Avg. Rk Nat'l Avg.
Category Avg. Rk Nat'l Avg.
Rushing Success Rate 40.40% 85 42.00%
Rushing IsoPPP 0.88 76 0.91
Opportunity Rate 33.90% 104 38.90%
Power Success Rate 58.30% 105 69.30%
Stuff Rate 24.10% 115 19.20%
Passing Success Rate 33.00% 117 40.40%
Passing IsoPPP 1.49 53 1.47

Defense

Cal Defense Overall

Category Avg. Rk Nat'l Avg.
Category Avg. Rk Nat'l Avg.
Success Rate 47.10% 119 40.40%
IsoPPP 1.03 23 1.17
Avg. FP 34 127 29.7
Pts. Per Trip in 40 4.21 57 4.4

The biggest drawback for the defense is the fact that it has played more snaps than the offense. The sheer volume of the snaps they played meant that the defense is gassed by the end of the game. With the limited depth Cal has on the front 7 the decline in performance is expected, and low rate of S&P+ improvement expected.

One thing that the Cal defense continues to do well is the prevention of the big play on the ground and in the air. This is slightly more true on the ground than through the air.

Cal HAVOC

Category Team Rk Nat'l Average
Category Team Rk Nat'l Average
Std. Downs Run Rate 55.30% 94 59.00%
Pass. Downs Run Rate 27.60% 111 34.10%
Overall Havoc Rate 14.00% 103 16.40%
DL Havoc Rate 2.10% 120 5.00%
LB Havoc Rate 7.40% 8 4.50%
DB Havoc Rate 4.30% 119 6.70%
PD to INC 31.50% 90 33.70%

This lack of depth in the front 7 is most evident in the low HAVOC rating of the DL and power running related statistics. Throw in the fact that we’re allowing another year of terrible success rate defense in both the passing and rushing game. It hasn’t been a pretty thing to look at. These statistics can also point to a defense that beeeeeeeeeeeeendssss but doesn’t break considering the relatively low points allowed per trip in the Cal 40.

Cal Defense Detail

Category Avg. Rk Nat'l Avg.
Category Avg. Rk Nat'l Avg.
Rushing Success Rate 51.70% 127 42.00%
Rushing IsoPPP 0.75 17 0.91
Opportunity Rate 44.90% 126 38.90%
Power Success Rate 86.40% 124 69.30%
Stuff Rate 14.60% 118 19.20%
Passing Success Rate 42.90% 93 40.40%
Passing IsoPPP 1.33 40 1.47

Washington State Cougars , 6-0 (6-0 Pac-12 North): S&P+ Overall Ranking: #17

Overall

WSU Overall

Category Offense Rk Defense Rk
Category Offense Rk Defense Rk
S&P+ 34.8 26 19.9 18
Points Per Game 39.7 19 18.5 23

Gone are the years where WSU was characterized by strong offense and putrid defense. WSU, like Cal has a better S&P+ defense than offense. Yet, in the case of WSU, the offense is ranked 26th and defense 18th. Which means they are opposite of Cal, where all of their statistics are top notch.

This is yet another poor match-up for the Cal team that is still growing into itself. There is a not a lot Cal can do against a team that exceeds us at any type of statistical match-up. This is brewing into another one-sided affair.

Offense

WSU Offense Overall

Category Avg. Rk Nat'l Avg.
Category Avg. Rk Nat'l Avg.
Success Rate 44.80% 42 40.40%
IsoPPP 1.23 41 1.17
Avg. FP 31 51 29.7
Pts. Per Trip in 40 4.74 46 4.4

Despite the offensive pedigree of Mike Leach, the Cougars are seemingly not exceptional at any facet of the overall offensive game. Jamal Morrow is leading the WSU team with the best 7.8 YPC. This is an offense lead by a Luke Falk who has considerable talent with the WSU offense at his disposal.

WSU Skill Players

Player Pos. Ht, Wt Year Targets Catches Yards TD Yds/ Catch Yds/ Target Catch Rate Success Rate Target Rate
Player Pos. Ht, Wt Year Targets Catches Yards TD Yds/ Catch Yds/ Target Catch Rate Success Rate Target Rate
Tavares Martin Jr. WR 6'1, 183 JR 51 34 464 7 13.7 9.1 66.70% 45.10% 16.40%
Isaiah Johnson-Mack WR 6'3, 216 SO 47 33 316 3 9.6 6.7 70.20% 46.80% 15.10%
James Williams RB 5'11, 195 SO 44 41 290 3 7.1 6.6 93.20% 56.80% 14.10%
Kyle Sweet WR 6'0, 193 JR 37 27 283 1 10.5 7.7 73.00% 56.80% 11.90%
Jamal Morrow RB 5'9, 203 SR 30 23 179 5 7.8 6 76.70% 46.70% 9.60%
Jamire Calvin WR 5'10, 152 FR 28 17 153 2 9 5.5 60.70% 50.00% 9.00%

The rushing attack is predicated on the efficient passing attack. Despite the departure of much of the veteran talent, they have been producing at a prodigious rate. With Tavares Martin Jr. being a main source of TDs. However, unlike the other teams Cal had faced during this season the top 4 of Luke Falks’ targets are within 5 percentage points of each other in targets. Quick note, the 3rd player in Targets is the RB James Williams, which means a S or LB will be covering him out of the backfield.

This will be a problem as it will test the Cal’s ability to defend WSUs skill players.

WSU still passes the ball at one of the highest rates in FBS. WSU runs the ball on 32.2% of standard downs.

Defense

WSU Defense Overall

Category Avg. Rk Nat'l Avg.
Category Avg. Rk Nat'l Avg.
Success Rate 33.80% 14 40.40%
IsoPPP 1.12 50 1.17
Avg. FP 31.3 101 29.7
Pts. Per Trip in 40 3.92 36 4.4

WSU Defense has the profile of the a couple teams Cal recently faced, namely Oregon and USC. Strong against efficient plays with a relative weakness to big plays. Again, Cal has to rely on a running game to win at the best case scenario due to the WSU’s weakness against the big play on the ground.

WSU HAVOC

Category Team Rk Nat'l Average
Category Team Rk Nat'l Average
Std. Downs Run Rate 60.80% 49 59.00%
Pass. Downs Run Rate 41.40% 21 34.10%
Overall Havoc Rate 19.50% 20 16.40%
DL Havoc Rate 5.30% 54 5.00%
LB Havoc Rate 6.50% 20 4.50%
DB Havoc Rate 7.70% 36 6.70%
PD to INC 25.40% 121 33.70%

Being able to rely on a rushing attack has been weakness for Cal since the re-shuffling of the O-line after 2016, and the departure of Tre Watson.

WSU Defensive Players

Name Pos Ht, Wt Year Tackles TFL (Sacks) Run Stuffs* Int (PBU) FF Succ. Rate**
Name Pos Ht, Wt Year Tackles TFL (Sacks) Run Stuffs* Int (PBU) FF Succ. Rate**
Jalen Thompson S 6'0, 191 SO 27.5 1.5 (0) 1 3 (2) 0 52.90%
Jahad Woods LB 6'0, 214 FR 20 3 (1.5) 4 0 (0) 1 34.80%
Isaac Dotson LB 6'1, 232 SR 19.5 2.5 (0) 7 0 (1) 0 34.60%
Frankie Luvu LB 6'3, 235 SR 18 6.5 (3.5) 7 0 (0) 0 17.40%
Robert Taylor DB 5'10, 186 SR 18 0 (0) 0 2 (1) 0 62.50%
Hunter Dale S 5'10, 190 JR 17 6 (2) 6 0 (0) 1 28.00%
Darrien Molton CB 5'10, 185 JR 16.5 0 (0) 1 0 (0) 0 78.90%
Marcellus Pippins CB 5'10, 178 SR 15.5 2.5 (1) 1 0 (1) 2 58.80%
Nate DeRider LB 6'1, 231 SR 15.5 1.5 (0) 5 0 (0) 0 47.60%
Hercules Mata'afa DL 6'2, 252 JR 14.5 10 (4.5) 7 0 (0) 1 5.30%
Peyton Pelluer LB 6'0, 225 SR 13 0.5 (0) 3 1 (1) 0 14.30%
Nnamdi Oguayo DL 6'3, 237 SO 12 4 (3) 1 0 (0) 0 42.90%
Sean Harper Jr. DB 6'2, 186 JR 12 0 (0) 1 1 (1) 0 44.40%

WSU has a trio of highly productive LBs, two of them being seniors and one freshman. Add the fact that their DBs are highly disruptive. Add DL Hercules Mata'afa to the mix, as he has had a huge impact on the opposing offenses with his TFL/Sacks.

Final Thoughts

It is not going to be a pretty Friday evening for Cal. From the looks of it, the Cal offense and defense will be tested. For the offense this will be another trip into a highly disruptive defense with a lot of ability to prevent efficient plays.

On defense the main aim is finding a way to contain the top 4 skill players that Falk looks towards when passing the ball. If Cal can force WSU to play outside their scheme and run the ball more often, it can potentially be an avenue to cool down the Cougs.