Pregame: Illinois vs Charlotte, Saturday, October 2nd, 11:00am CT, BTN

Status
Not open for further replies.
#76      

Serious Late

Peoria via Denver via Ann Arbor via Albuquerque vi
Agree with everything you said, but let's not use this chart! Go for it on 4th and three from our own 5 yd. line???!!! Still, the point is the Staff should have and use a chart like this, with allowance for considerations like wind direction and wind speed, score of the game, time left in the game, etc. But the idea of having a chart like this is that when a "hard decision situation" comes up to make it an easy decision. In my opinion the situations late in the both the Maryland game, and the Purdue game (McCray), were both very strong "Go For It" situations. Especially for the reasons you said: "Be aggressive, be entertaining, be smart."
The purpose of the chart isn't to argue semantics on the fringe decisions. It's to spotlight the glaring wrongness behind the decisions that were made each of the last 2 weeks.
 
#77      

Serious Late

Peoria via Denver via Ann Arbor via Albuquerque vi
I can only speak for myself, but I'd be fine with making the right or aggressive call and still losing. It happens.

I think game situation certainly matters, but more like if the game is not competitive, then punt it. If your goal at that point in the game is to score more points than the other team, which is the situation 95% of the time, then going for it is the right move. I suppose you could come up with an extreme scenario where a team has a bottom 5 offense in all of college football and a top 5 defense, but how often does that actually happen?
This is it. I don't mind that we lost in year 1 of Bielema. I mind that the ways we lost are very concerning related to our coach's decision making. Go for a first or go for a field goal could be debated in that scenario. It isn't an opinion that punting is the wrong decision. Punting WAS the wrong decision.

When was the last time anyone even saw a team punt on 4th and 2 from the opponents 34 yard line? The % of times that happens in recent years has to be insanely low. There is a reason for that.
 
#78      
The purpose of the chart isn't to argue semantics on the fringe decisions. It's to spotlight the glaring wrongness behind the decisions that were made each of the last 2 weeks.
Decide all you want with that chart. But then Peters takes 2 sacks, then in the next game throws 3 incompletions. BB did not lose these games. BP singlehandedly lost them. One wonders what the mood is in the meeting room on Sunday film day when those who laid it all out there on the field see their offensive leader lay ostrich eggs.
 
#79      

danielb927

Orange Krush Class of 2013
Rochester, MN
I can only speak for myself, but I'd be fine with making the right or aggressive call and still losing. It happens.

I think game situation certainly matters, but more like if the game is not competitive, then punt it. If your goal at that point in the game is to score more points than the other team, which is the situation 95% of the time, then going for it is the right move. I suppose you could come up with an extreme scenario where a team has a bottom 5 offense in all of college football and a top 5 defense, but how often does that actually happen?

Disagree with the bolded. The goal is to end the game with at least 1 more point than the other team. Therefore, if you're winning by N points, the goal is always to do no worse than being outscored by N-1.

That only translates to "score more points than the other team" in situations where you're tied or losing (ok, so for Illini football, maybe that is 95% of the time ;)). Otherwise, say you're winning by 7, the goal is to be outscored by 6 or fewer.

I know you probably meant "score more points" taken over the whole game... but still, it's important from a strategy perspective to remember that when you have a lead, scoring more points than the other team (for the rest of the game) is no longer strictly necessary.
 
#80      
So score or time left in game don’t play into the decision (not shown on this chart). The problem I have with charts like this is that they treat every team (offense and defense) the same — not taking them into consideration in decision making. I’m not saying that the Illini weren’t wrong when they punted, but I think decision making and probability for success would be different for say Alabama against Mercer than the Illini.

I’m also wondering if going for it both of those times regardless of outcome would have been enough for those who are pissed at BB. It seems like a lot of people seem to think if Illini had gone for it they would have made it, and they would have won. Certainly no guarantee that would have been the outcome given the Illini’s offensive struggles.
Not about winning or losing, it is about trying to win in positive situations. He was trying not to lose. Big difference!
 
#81      
Disagree with the bolded. The goal is to end the game with at least 1 more point than the other team. Therefore, if you're winning by N points, the goal is always to do no worse than being outscored by N-1.

That only translates to "score more points than the other team" in situations where you're tied or losing (ok, so for Illini football, maybe that is 95% of the time ;)). Otherwise, say you're winning by 7, the goal is to be outscored by 6 or fewer.

I know you probably meant "score more points" taken over the whole game... but still, it's important from a strategy perspective to remember that when you have a lead, scoring more points than the other team (for the rest of the game) is no longer strictly necessary.
I would respond that, in almost every conceivable situation, you increase your chances of ending up with more points than the other team in the long run if you outscore your opponent in the short run. If you're up by 7, you're going to greatly increase your chances by scoring a touchdown and going up by 14. You're also going to greatly increase your chances of winning if you keep the ball away from your opponents, so they can't score (i.e. - go for it on 4th and short from the opposing 40 yard line). I think the number of times in which the answer to the question "what increases our chances of winning the game" and the answer to the question "how do we score more points than the other team this quarter/this half/in these last five minutes (etc.)" are the same are about 95% of the time. Just a guesstimate though.
 
#82      

Deleted member 747867

D
Guest
My confidence in BB is sliding after these last two games. If BP starts Sat.... and/or these pitiful late game 'not to lose' decisions keep happening, I just can't continue to be very optimistic about this rebuild.

There is ZERO to gain starting a 6 yr senior if you aren't winning games like these last two. Zero.
This is a full rebuild now. We've lost 3 VERY winnable games now even with all the injuries and poor QB play.
To continue forward with the same mindset means these coaches are not as tuned in as I had hoped.
S t e p a w a y f r o m t h e l e d g e m i s t e r.

You shouldn't bail on this staff a third of the way through their first season. That's ridiculous. They haven't even had the chance to recruit a full class yet (translation: next year may be a bit rough, too). But I suggest you give this staff a chance. The culture IS changing, but the team's confidence is fragile. They need a win -- a good, solid win to be sure. They also could stand to win a tough one, where they overcome in-game adversity. The team needs to gain confidence that they can pull out these close ones. That means somebody -- or several somebodies -- have to make plays. (And it's hard to make plays when key players keep getting hurt.)
 
#83      

Deleted member 747867

D
Guest
WRT the 4th down decision... does anyone have a version of those charts that accounts for the information from the current game? Certainly the optimal choice will also differ between a game with 15 total points and one that's a 40-40 shootout. If you're up 3-0 with 2 minutes left and have 4th and 3 from your own 20, I can't fathom that going for it would be the best decision from a winning point of view, even if it leads to the most net points for you.

I'm also curious what's optimized in that chart. Expected net points? That's good early on or in a close game, but obviously things change if you're down big late, holding on to a lead etc...

None of that's to downplay the usefulness of stats -- it's just to say that if we're going to suggest a stats-based approach, let's do it the right way.
So score or time left in game don’t play into the decision (not shown on this chart). The problem I have with charts like this is that they treat every team (offense and defense) the same — not taking them into consideration in decision making. I’m not saying that the Illini weren’t wrong when they punted, but I think decision making and probability for success would be different for say Alabama against Mercer than the Illini.

I’m also wondering if going for it both of those times regardless of outcome would have been enough for those who are pissed at BB. It seems like a lot of people seem to think if Illini had gone for it they would have made it, and they would have won. Certainly no guarantee that would have been the outcome given the Illini’s offensive struggles.
If BB takes the risk to go for it and comes up short, Illini fans would be screaming, "WHY?(!)"

The defense had held Purdue to two FGs scored way back in the first quarter. BB took a calculated risk that his D would hold up. It didn't. Bummer. But the outcome, while regrettable in hindsight, doesn't make BB's decision to punt and rely on his defense completely unreasonable.
 
#84      
I know we’re looking at all these charts and what not and I really love these conversations. I’m a basketball coach but I’m a math teacher and I love the football side of analytics and data driven conversation because it’s new to me.

To that note, the one thing I haven’t seen or missed is, shouldn’t we be looking the “percent chance that the a 4th and 2 is converted” vs the “percent chance that your opponent scores from inside their own 10”
 
#85      

The Sprouting Divot

Invisible and Bulletproof
Miracle Mile
If BB takes the risk to go for it and comes up short, Illini fans would be screaming, "WHY?(!)"

The defense had held Purdue to two FGs scored way back in the first quarter. BB took a calculated risk that his D would hold up. It didn't. Bummer. But the outcome, while regrettable in hindsight, doesn't make BB's decision to punt and rely on his defense completely unreasonable.
Strongly disagree.

The QB that was held in check was on the bench. We got lucky and forced a couple of turnovers on back to back drives after the new QB did whatever he wanted to get down the field. It took one or two easy plays for Purdue to get the ball right back to where we would have turned it over on downs.

If you're telling me that BB was - and was reasonably - counting on a third consecutive turnover, well, I'm impressed that you are also capable of typing in complete sentences.

In that situation, and given where the team is at, either going for it or attempting the FG would have reflected far better on BB's decision making.
 
Last edited:
#86      
If BB takes the risk to go for it and comes up short, Illini fans would be screaming, "WHY?(!)"

The defense had held Purdue to two FGs scored way back in the first quarter. BB took a calculated risk that his D would hold up. It didn't. Bummer. But the outcome, while regrettable in hindsight, doesn't make BB's decision to punt and rely on his defense completely unreasonable.
I'm sure some would, but they'd be wrong. This has nothing to do with the outcome. Some decisions are bad regardless of how they ultimately turn out. For example, if you ran the ball on 3rd and 15 from the opponent's 20 yard line, there is a small chance you'd get the 1st down. Even if you did it would be a head-scratcher of a decision. You have to play the odds, and the odds are clear that you have a better chance winning the game if you go for it. For one, if you convert, that's a huge boost to your chances of winning. If you don't convert, your defense can still stop them. It's not like they automatically get the points if you don't make the first down. The difference between giving them the ball on the 40 or the 5 is relatively minor compared to the difference between retaining possession vs giving your opponent the ball.
 
#87      

The Galloping Ghost

Washington, DC
If BB takes the risk to go for it and comes up short, Illini fans would be screaming, "WHY?(!)"
Not gonna lie, pretty sick of this argument. Most people arguing for BB to go for it understand why he should have done it. It's the people that think what he did was defensible that fail to understand the scenario properly. The difference between going for it and failing and punting it is relatively negligible. In both situations, the other team gets the ball, just with a minimal difference in field position. On the other hand, going for it and succeeding greatly increases the odds you win the game. That's why you do it. The risk is minimal and the gain is substantial. And I mean, come on, the proof is in the pudding the last two weeks.

And to see the breakdown, @DeeAndDWill posted this in the postgame thread.
Maryland:
qCUqVmD.jpg


Purdue:
nKI2aye.jpg


Additionally, I posted this article in the postgame thread. It shows the decision-making progress the best coaches in the NFL take to make this decision. There's a reason the most successful coaches at the highest level go for it. They are putting their teams in the best position to be successful.

At this point, we know how each specific decision will determine the outcome of a game. Over an extended period of time, the plays have been analyzed, the math has been done, and the articles have been written. The information needed to make a smart decision is right there. Other coaches utilize it. Our frustration lies in the fact that our coach refuses to and it's bitten us in the butt.
 
#88      
I just really really hope that BB is adaptable and learns from the last two weeks. The scared decision making can't happen anymore. Someone on the sidelines needs this chart, or something similar, and follow the instructions. It isn't a hard decision. The last two weeks have presented the most easy decision to make possible, and both times we made the worst possible call. It hurts because it was both the wrong decision AND the cowardly decision. Be aggressive, be entertaining, be smart.View attachment 12367
4th and three from our own 20 and we should go for it? Maybe if we were playing the Green Bay Packers (or some other team that would score a TD no matter where we gave them the ball.)(I see many others had similar issues...)
 
#89      
WRT the 4th down decision... does anyone have a version of those charts that accounts for the information from the current game? Certainly the optimal choice will also differ between a game with 15 total points and one that's a 40-40 shootout. If you're up 3-0 with 2 minutes left and have 4th and 3 from your own 20, I can't fathom that going for it would be the best decision from a winning point of view, even if it leads to the most net points for you.

I'm also curious what's optimized in that chart. Expected net points? That's good early on or in a close game, but obviously things change if you're down big late, holding on to a lead etc...

None of that's to downplay the usefulness of stats -- it's just to say that if we're going to suggest a stats-based approach, let's do it the right way.
In my head, I try to factor in the median yardage we're getting in that game on our running plays. (I wish they reported that stat, rather than average yards per play) If I remember right, most of our running plays (at least with McCray) we're picking up more than three yards, suggesting a pretty good chance of converting a 4th and two. On the other hand, if most of our runs were getting stuffed, I would have been OK with a punt.
 
#91      
WRT the 4th down decision... does anyone have a version of those charts that accounts for the information from the current game? Certainly the optimal choice will also differ between a game with 15 total points and one that's a 40-40 shootout. If you're up 3-0 with 2 minutes left and have 4th and 3 from your own 20, I can't fathom that going for it would be the best decision from a winning point of view, even if it leads to the most net points for you.

I'm also curious what's optimized in that chart. Expected net points? That's good early on or in a close game, but obviously things change if you're down big late, holding on to a lead etc...

None of that's to downplay the usefulness of stats -- it's just to say that if we're going to suggest a stats-based approach, let's do it the right way.
This is all very true, it's all situationally dependent.

But 4th and short in plus territory has basically no exceptions.
 
#95      
A factor I would've considered: Did Josh McCray have any negative yard carries? What was his shortest carry? If he can basically fall down and get the first down then go for it.
Anyway, as I fan I wanted to see them kick or go for it simply because it's more entertaining, more drama.
 
#97      

Illinifan533

Normal, Illinois
Going to put a positive spin here: outside of Bret's late-game decision making, if you had told me Illinois would be competitive in 4 of their 5 games against quality opponents (UTSA is 4-0 and coming off win against a good Memphis squad), I wouldn't be too upset considering it's year 1 of BB's tenure. You could debate that Purdue and Maryland aren't really that good, but under Lovie most decent conference teams would easily drub us.
 
#98      

Serious Late

Peoria via Denver via Ann Arbor via Albuquerque vi
Decide all you want with that chart. But then Peters takes 2 sacks, then in the next game throws 3 incompletions. BB did not lose these games. BP singlehandedly lost them. One wonders what the mood is in the meeting room on Sunday film day when those who laid it all out there on the field see their offensive leader lay ostrich eggs.
Okay. Blame the losses on whoever it makes you feel better to blame the losses on. But what does that have to do with the price of tea in China?

I certainly am not evaluating the future of the program under his watch based on wins and losses in year 1. But in-game decision making is absolutely a consideration. Bielema made a decision that is practically obsolete in the sport, and for good reason. He has to learn from that. I hope for the sake of the program, we see growth in his understanding and use of basic analytics and strategy moving forward.
 
#99      
Going to put a positive spin here: outside of Bret's late-game decision making, if you had told me Illinois would be competitive in 4 of their 5 games against quality opponents (UTSA is 4-0 and coming off win against a good Memphis squad), I wouldn't be too upset considering it's year 1 of BB's tenure. You could debate that Purdue and Maryland aren't really that good, but under Lovie most decent conference teams would easily drub us.
A solid 105 minutes of defensive football. But the offense has been down right offensive.
 
#100      
Going to put a positive spin here: outside of Bret's late-game decision making, if you had told me Illinois would be competitive in 4 of their 5 games against quality opponents (UTSA is 4-0 and coming off win against a good Memphis squad), I wouldn't be too upset considering it's year 1 of BB's tenure. You could debate that Purdue and Maryland aren't really that good, but under Lovie most decent conference teams would easily drub us.
Lovie would’ve definitely punted in those same scenario’s BB faced, but we were always getting killed. Instead we got Peters making life more difficult than it needed to be by running all over the damn place to eventually throw it up for Imatorbehebe. Need to quit acting like Peter’s better than he is just because he came from Michigan
 
Status
Not open for further replies.