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The state of the kicking game

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StLRedbird
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Tue Sep 25, 2018 7:53 am

Just during the second quarter against CSU...

Illinois State at 09:17
4th and 4 at CSU27 PENALTY ILS false start (O'Day,Donavin) 5 yards to the CSU32.
4th and 9 at CSU32 Davis,Brady pass incomplete to Schnell,Spencer, QB hurry by PHILLIPS, D..

Illinois State at 05:18
4th and 5 at CSU35 Davis,Brady pass complete to Schnell,Spencer for 10 yards to the CSU25, 1ST DOWN ILS (AJAYI, R.;THOMAS, T.).
4th and 1 at CSU03 Smith,Markel rush for 2 yards to the CSU1, 1ST DOWN ILS (SCOTT, B.;JACKSON, D.).

That's four situations where you've made a decision not to attempt a field goal on 4th down in a 7-6 road game. Certainly caught my attention. Granted there was a steady breeze from the south, but kickoffs were not greatly affected by it.

fourthandshort
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Tue Sep 25, 2018 8:07 am

good one to keep an eye on .. ican live with any one of these decisions, but taling all 4 together .. especially the 4th and 9 from 32 ... though if wind was in face, that's 49 yards into light wind. But we're not having any trouble on kickoff distances.

On the other hand, our punter Taylor Bohlken, is averaging 45 yards per punt and just won MVFC special teams player of week for averaging 51 yards on 7 punts against CSU ... nice job !!!!
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Adunk33
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Tue Sep 25, 2018 8:17 am

I played some football growing up. Rarely did we go for it on fourth down. When I play Madden, I go for it probably 80% of the time. IMO if you are from your own 47 yard line to the opponent's 40, go for it. Obviously, different in-game situations could effect this, but forcing your opponents' defense to make a play and get you off the field and having faith in your defense to not give up 2 first downs, this is pretty effective on the video game. :lol: Against CSU, my mindset was to take chances and get some points. If we were on the CSU side of the field, I say go for it!

I was really impressed with our punter on Saturday. The altitude played a role in his distance but he was nailing the ball. Our kick/punt coverage was really good too.

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crazzymark
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Tue Sep 25, 2018 8:44 am

I watched the game again last night, was under the impression that Coach Spack just wanted to keep the Redbirds rolling and a FG wouldn't of helped if CSU got on a roll. Most likely you will see FG in that situation this weekend against MSU when ISU is up by 2 + scores.

MadBird
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Tue Sep 25, 2018 10:04 am

Adunk33 wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 8:17 am
I played some football growing up. Rarely did we go for it on fourth down. When I play Madden, I go for it probably 80% of the time. IMO if you are from your own 47 yard line to the opponent's 40, go for it. Obviously, different in-game situations could effect this, but forcing your opponents' defense to make a play and get you off the field and having faith in your defense to not give up 2 first downs, this is pretty effective on the video game. :lol: Against CSU, my mindset was to take chances and get some points. If we were on the CSU side of the field, I say go for it!

I was really impressed with our punter on Saturday. The altitude played a role in his distance but he was nailing the ball. Our kick/punt coverage was really good too.
HS coach who never punts:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/spo ... deb8ce2f28

fourthandshort
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Tue Sep 25, 2018 10:22 am

Adunk33 wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 8:17 am
I played some football growing up. Rarely did we go for it on fourth down. When I play Madden, I go for it probably 80% of the time. IMO if you are from your own 47 yard line to the opponent's 40, go for it. Obviously, different in-game situations could effect this, but forcing your opponents' defense to make a play and get you off the field and having faith in your defense to not give up 2 first downs, this is pretty effective on the video game. :lol: Against CSU, my mindset was to take chances and get some points. If we were on the CSU side of the field, I say go for it!

I was really impressed with our punter on Saturday. The altitude played a role in his distance but he was nailing the ball. Our kick/punt coverage was really good too.
altitude ... right, makes sense.
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Redbirdwarrior
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Tue Sep 25, 2018 12:47 pm

Let me tell you something about kicking: It is one of the hardest things to do in ALL of sports. Try it. Go to a park with a football, tee it up with nobody in front of you and just see if you can kick it 100 feet, over 10 feet in the air and straight. And then realize that 100 feet is only a 33 yard field goal.

Then we get all pissed off when a guy misses an "easy" 45 yard kick.

I think we get spoiled by looking at and watching high level kickers, but the fact is that analytics says that you should probably not even field a kicker. Some data suggests that a team that plays with a 4 down mindset from the 50 to the goal line is going to outscore the team that plays with a 3 down mindset, ESPECIALLY on a level where kicks from any distance are anything but automatic.

If I had a RB that was averaging 4+ yards a carry, I'd never attempt a FG unless I had some kind of holding call that puts me back at 4th and 15 or so from like the 25. If I'm in the red zone, I'm using all 4 downs to either score or drive the opposing offense as deep into their territory as I can.

Gotta ask the question: Would you rather have a 60% shot at 3 points or have a 40% chance to either score a TD or have the opponent pinned into their own 5? Give me the latter every single time.

fourthandshort
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Tue Sep 25, 2018 2:25 pm

I think there's a lot more that plays into the calculation than you present it as. Between that and Head Coaches wanting to keep their jobs ... you have 99.99% of teams doing what they're doing and limiting that risk .. especially at college and above level
Some small HS coach does in Arkansas playing against other small HS teams ... most of which have their History or PE teacher coaching football team for a 3,000 stipend .... but different at college level with a bunch of coaches who do it for a living.

Playbook and field of play gets smaller on 4th down ... well coached defenses will win this bet more often than poorly coached defenses. 4hlth down conversions are probably less than 40% .. while FG % at 4th goal is closer to 95% .. you need to adjust your math based on line of scrimmage. And even then 4th down conversions are optimized when done rarely like today ... meaning teams are typically doing it favorable circumstances.. or doing it with nothing to lose against a prevent defense. So the current t success rate of say 40% with limited use will most likely go down with more regular use on less favorable circumstances.

So I'm going to assume when 99.99% of people think something is a bad idea ... its probably a bad idea .. if you want to keep your job.
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Redbirdwarrior
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Tue Sep 25, 2018 4:35 pm

fourthandshort wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 2:25 pm
I think there's a lot more that plays into the calculation than you present it as. Between that and Head Coaches wanting to keep their jobs ... you have 99.99% of teams doing what they're doing and limiting that risk .. especially at college and above level
Some small HS coach does in Arkansas playing against other small HS teams ... most of which have their History or PE teacher coaching football team for a 3,000 stipend .... but different at college level with a bunch of coaches who do it for a living.

Playbook and field of play gets smaller on 4th down ... well coached defenses will win this bet more often than poorly coached defenses. 4hlth down conversions are probably less than 40% .. while FG % at 4th goal is closer to 95% .. you need to adjust your math based on line of scrimmage. And even then 4th down conversions are optimized when done rarely like today ... meaning teams are typically doing it favorable circumstances.. or doing it with nothing to lose against a prevent defense. So the current t success rate of say 40% with limited use will most likely go down with more regular use on less favorable circumstances.

So I'm going to assume when 99.99% of people think something is a bad idea ... its probably a bad idea .. if you want to keep your job.
Popular logic changes with the game and adjusts as we look at data. Gotta look at the overall long form analytics of a full game including things like possessions and plays run vs points scored. As football becomes increasingly more offensive (particularly in the air and with the "big play"), points become less valuable overall because there are so much more of them. You don't see college football games ending with like 17-3 scores anymore. Now, more times than not, you will see 35-27, 45-38 and scores up in that area.

As overall O/U starts rising, we have to look at the value of the 3 point play vs the 6-8 point play. This isn't just one-off schools in Arkansas that run gadgets like swinging gate and just kick onside all day. There is an increasing number of teams that are just not kicking as much and going for it way more at all levels of the game.

You are going to start to see FCS level schools and then FBS level schools start looking at the data and changing the way the game is played. Within 7-10 years, the NFL is going to be so offensively focused, that the 2 point conversion is going to overtake the extra point as the standard play following a TD. They may even institute a 3 point conversion (which has been discussed to keep even blowouts closer than they have been), where a team can lineup from the 10 instead of the 2.

I personally think that would be great for the game. It is, more than any other major sport, a team game and the idea of a game coming down to the foot of an individual who has spent almost no time on the field with that team and only plays 2% of the downs is insane to me.

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TIMMY
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Tue Sep 25, 2018 4:37 pm

MadBird wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 10:04 am
I was really impressed with our punter on Saturday. The altitude played a role in his distance but he was nailing the ball. Our kick/punt coverage was really good too.

HS coach who never punts:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/spo ... deb8ce2f28
MadBird I saw Coach Kelly years ago at a coaches clinic. His numbers work on the H.S. level. So I tried never punting, always going for 2 and every kickoff onside. I did that for my last 5 years of coaching and if I were to go back I'd do it again. Smartest damn thing I've ever done. Never tried a field goal either. The no punt thing changes the way you call plays. It's awesome knowing you have 4 plays to make 10 yards. Think about it. Every 4th down conversion is the same as a turnover. We took the time we would have spent on punt, PAT and field goal and used it for goal line offense. And the onside kick thing!!! We were about 35% successful. Again every time we got it was the same as a turnover. An extra possession. And, my kids we're not sprinting down field!

I know we have some H.S. coaches on here. You gotta have balls because the yahoo's behind you won't get it. But your kids will love you for it. If you want to go over it in detail PM me.
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Humdinger
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Tue Sep 25, 2018 5:10 pm

Heckuva conversation!!

Humdinger
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Tue Sep 25, 2018 5:15 pm

Shoot, Timmy...you have enough of your own practical in-house data to do a clinic of your own on the topic. I'd organize the damn thing for ya!

We've got the Leonard's down here in Springfield and I'll betcha Derek's teams would average 60 a game if they went this route with Ken not far behind.

Birdswin
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Tue Sep 25, 2018 6:14 pm

Count me "in" on the going for it on 4th down in plus territory. Todd Berry often did that. Coach Spack is doing it more often - because of the confidence in the Professor.

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TIMMY
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Tue Sep 25, 2018 7:14 pm

Birdswin wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 6:14 pm
Count me "in" on the going for it on 4th down in plus territory. Todd Berry often did that. Coach Spack is doing it more often - because of the confidence in the Professor.
Plus territory for sure. The key is making the decision before the first down play, not waiting for 4th down. :clap:
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TIMMY
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Tue Sep 25, 2018 7:28 pm

Humdinger wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 5:15 pm
Shoot, Timmy...you have enough of your own practical in-house data to do a clinic of your own on the topic. I'd organize the damn thing for ya!

We've got the Leonard's down here in Springfield and I'll betcha Derek's teams would average 60 a game if they went this route with Ken not far behind.
They've forgotten more football than I'll ever know.
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fourthandshort
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Tue Sep 25, 2018 10:45 pm

so found this article that adjusts their decision to go for it on 4th down based entirely on down/distance and line of scrimmage ... not quite what some are describing above. For example, on 4th and 9, you should only go for it when you on your opponents 38 yard line. On 4th and 8, only go for it if you somewhere between the 41 and 37. All the way down to on 4th and 1, go for it from anywhere starting on your own 9 yard line.

The last one is very interesting .. in theory, I suppose .... but I would make sure my employment (and severance) agreement protected me adequately if I went for it on 4th and 1 from my 9 against say .. an NDSU ?? I wonder how would your defensive coordinator and defensive players feel about that decision ? Or the fans near than end of the end zone ?

But it also talked about other factors ... like how good your kicker is, how much time remaining in game, how good your punter is, how good your offense is. It never mentions adjusting for how good your defense is and/or how good your opponent's offense or defense is ... not to mention whether you or your opponent is good in short yardage situations, etc .... but that would be stupid to not adjust for those as well.

I just think there are practical limits on when this logic should be applied to take such risk. But either your all in, or you do what most teams do today. Do more take risk today than 50 years ago .. of course they do. But going for in on your own 9 yard line against a tough defense ... eh, I know what I would do with zero doubt.

https://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/05/upsh ... d-why.html
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TIMMY
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Wed Sep 26, 2018 1:54 pm

After what I saw Saturday I'd onside kick against us EVERY time. Ole.
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DaveBird10
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Sat Sep 29, 2018 3:48 pm

I'm guessing we didn't kick bc our field goal kicking is not very good.

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TreRoberson4Heisman
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Sat Sep 29, 2018 5:25 pm

DaveBird10 wrote:
Sat Sep 29, 2018 3:48 pm
I'm guessing we didn't kick bc our field goal kicking is not very good.

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Not good.

DaveBird10
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Sat Sep 29, 2018 5:26 pm

TreRoberson4Heisman wrote:
DaveBird10 wrote:
Sat Sep 29, 2018 3:48 pm
I'm guessing we didn't kick bc our field goal kicking is not very good.

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Not good.
As I said, we don't have a kicking game. Heck with state of the kicking game. Do we we have a kicking game?

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