It’s Not Analytics, It’s Smart

October 12th, 2018

Numbers nerds back up Koetter.

For some reason, it irks a boatload of people when Bucs coach Dirk Koetter wins the coin toss and defers to the second half.

Joe isn’t sure why.

Koetter was grilled about this after practice today and in short, he said the numberscrunchers agree with his personal philosophy: You want the ball to start the second half, not to start the game.

“That’s an analytics question, OK?” Koetter began. “If you believe in analytics, you should defer every time.”

Koetter has made it known in the past that he doesn’t swallow everything a spreadsheet blurts out. But in this case, analytics support Koetter’s belief that a team is better off with the ball to open the third quarter.

“I believe more in trying to get the extra possession,” Koetter said. “That’s what I believe. I just believe in it.

“If you look at some of the best offensive teams in the league, that may or may not be one of the best defensive teams in the league, they are still deferring most of the time. The analytics numbers tell you should defer.”

Well, in the Bucs’ case, it’s not if the Bucs may or may not have the best defensive team in the league. They have an absolute trash defensive team. Joe cannot understand why a team with an explosive offense like the Bucs’ and a garbage defense wouldn’t want to possess the ball more in the second half?

This is really nothing new or revolutionary. For decades, Bobby Bowden constantly deferred winning coin flips to take the second half kickoff. Why? Bowden always said he wanted the ball to start the second half, believing if his teams had any kind of a lead, they could really paint an opponent in a corner by scoring on the first possession of the second half.

And how many games did the Foghorn Leghorn of Tallahassee win?

Bowden surely wasn’t an analytics guy. He probably thought the term “analytics” was something you take for a sinus infection.

And you know, when Joe thinks of analytics, he often thinks of nasal mucus.

26 Responses to “It’s Not Analytics, It’s Smart”

  1. D-Rome Says:

    All I know is that I always defer in Madden. I like to try and have the ball in the closing seconds of the 2nd quarter to get a score and then after I skip the halftime report I like getting the ball right back.

  2. Dewey Selmon Says:

    I’m guilty and I know I’m in the minority. But until we get a decent defense it has to be disheartening for your QB to step foot on the field down 7-0 before he takes his first snap. What does it matter if you get the 2nd half kickoff if your losing 38-3?

  3. Not there yet Says:

    You believe in the extra possession which is great just wish you believed in it in the second half when your team needs a score and you decide to punt the ball back to your defense who can’t stop anyone.

  4. Knoxville Buc Fan Says:

    You defer if you have a defense capable of stopping somebody. Koetter seems to have turned out to be dumb a$$… if he’s not more careful the cat is gonna coach himself jobless. He’s said numerous times I’m not a stats guy, that’s for the media.

  5. feelthepewterpower Says:

    The analytics say we should do mortar kicks, but we kick the ball out of the endzone.

  6. Wausa Says:

    Even with a crap defense I would defer.
    If you get the last possession of the first half and first of the second half you have the potential to have a great deal of momentum on your side.

  7. Buc1987 Says:

    There is a number out there and I’m not a stats guy myself…thus is why I don’t know it.

    Something like the team that gets the ball on the first possession only scores like 35% of the time or something like that. I know the odds were drastically one way or the other when I heard about it though…

    65% of the time a team punts?

    I’d go with kicking off first!

  8. BringBucsBack Says:

    Remember when no one in the NFL deferred to the second half, ever?

    Number 3 has notoriously slow starts. Maybe deferring is wise until he can start a game as well as a 35 year-old, journeyman, backup QB.

  9. JimmyJack Says:

    Dirk always defers and it never works. He just hands momentum to the other team and of course our defense always chokes up points.

    But hey Dirk likes to play from behind and that’s a big reason why his teams start most games from behind.

  10. Dave Says:

    In high school and college and in intramural football in the Air Force, I have always always always deferred to the second half. I always thought it was more beneficial to get the ball at the beginning of the second half.
    Most offenses typically start slower than defenses. Much easier to force a punt that first possession. Also if you go into the locker room with a little momentum or none, either way, you can start out the second half with momentum.

  11. lambchop Says:

    If we didn’t have one of the best punters in the league, I think Koetter would go for more 4th down plays. He’s hoping to force the other team to drive the length of the field. It’s a % play. With the defense healthier than they have been since week 1, let’s see if they can step up when it counts.

  12. Hodad Says:

    I did the analytics. Koetter has a losing record. Enough said.

  13. T in Orlando Says:

    I prefer the thought of deferring as well. If winning, there’s a chance to extend the lead. If losing, you get first chance to close the gap.

    You always know the score at the start of the first half, wouldn’t you rather be guaranteed the ball at the start of the second half when the situation is not certain?

  14. JimmyJack Says:

    Say what you will but those analytics don’t even apply to the Bucs.

    Those analytics say it’s a good because most of the time you won’t get the ball back down 7-0. But this is not true with Dirk’s team. They defer and then give up a lead most of the time and that’s a fact. Giving up a lead in always bad in football. Dirk’s team is not good enough to defer.

  15. JabooBuc Says:

    This is all just a new kind of dumb. Thanks to everyone for the tremendous waste of time.

  16. Dewey Selmon Says:

    and Jaboo wastes our time whining about other people wasting his time. brilliant.

  17. Pickgrin Says:

    Well – there’s also a stat I’ve seen or heard talked about in the past that goes something like – the team that scores first (even a field goal) wins the game 65% of the time…

    My percentage is probably off by 1 or 2% one way or the other – but the point is that scoring first gives a real and somewhat significant statistically measurable advantage as to who is likely to wind up winning the game.

    That general fact combined with a very good Bucs offense and a very bad Bucs defense makes it pretty much a no brainer IMO that Dirk should take the ball first given the choice…

  18. Buccfan37 Says:

    Bucs should just tell the officials that they’ll kick off first and forget the coin flip. I’m still not buying not taking the ball first if coin toss is won.

  19. unbelievable Says:

    I think deferring is smart.

    The ideal situation is that you end the 1st half with the ball, and the begin the 2nd half with ball. So a chance to double up scoring opportunities with the “extra possession” as he phrased it.

    If we elect to receive in the 1st, and we don’t score on that 1st drive, then it’s exactly the same anyways. Except now the opponents also get the ball to start the 2nd.

  20. Jim Says:

    Why decide based on averages when you have the specifics as applies to your team and your opponent? I’d say that currently the Bucs lack leadership, which allows them to lose heart when trailing early in the game, so scoring first for this team is important.

  21. Reach87 Says:

    It’s worked 3 out of 4 times this year for the “dumb a$$”. If you know so much where do you coach? Funny. Go Bucs!

  22. Mort Says:

    The only people against this are just masochistic Bucs and Koetter haters. I agree with Dirk – it makes sense to get the ball to start the second half, once you have a feel for how the other team is defending you and everyone has settled in rather than first to run through your script of plays. First chance to cut the lead or extend it. That’s the time you want the ball.

  23. Bob in Valrico Says:

    The main reason the deferring hasn’t worked is because all too often our offense
    has sputtered in the first half and also the first drive of the second half. We have too many offensive weapons for this to happen. Win the first half and deferring gives you a great chance to pad the score.

  24. Kalind Says:

    You wat h your mouth talking about Bobby Bowden like that Joseph. I won’t have it. That man should have a statue ringing the Vatican.

    As for taking the ball in the second half. It just makes too much sense. If you’re down, you know what you need to do to make up ground. If you have the lead, you pour it on.

    Obviously if your defense is about as worthwhile as dog food at at Cat lady’s condo…it might not work. Being down 30+ and the game is over anyway. But scoring first wouldn’t have changed that anyway.

  25. BucNole Says:

    The only reason Im not buying what Dirk is selling on this one is his recent comments about starting fast. Take the ball and shove it sown the other teams throat to start the game for a change coach.

  26. Common sense kid Says:

    The amount of hate for our 2-2 Bucs in these comment sections is gross. We don’t have to like every decision made and it’s fair to have debates about our team. But the level of hate toward our coach, GM, Mcoy etc is not that of a fan. I know this will make stomachs queasy around these parts but Dirk is the best head coach and staff we have had since early Gruden late Dungy era. Is the D a porous sive yes and even if they are statistically worse then Lovies D I don’t think they are actually worse. With lovey I never feel like we could stop anybody it would just be slants all the way down the field and people would eat up massive amounts of time and yardage on us. with Mike Smith that tends to be true often as well but every once a while we do show up and we play good halves/ drives that give our offense a chance . There have been stretches where the defense actually shows its potential. I know that have a immensely long way to go until there a competent defense and not historically bad but I feel like at least there’s a chance once in a while that they might show up and stop somebody where that was not the case for years. So I’m saying is maybe everybody should stop being so damn negative about everything enjoy that we are at least a halfway decent team and have what looks like it could be a prolific offense if Jameis can get the deep ball going like fitz was.

    GO Bucs!!