What to Expect from the 2012 Bears Part 1

With a program defining season directly in the rear-view and a few transcendent offensive talents playing in the NFL, what can we expect from the 2012 version of the Baylor Bears offense?

So the Bears lost their Heisman trophy winning quarterback. That is so old news by now. We want to talk about 2012, and what can we expect from the Bears. Well, I figured I would take a look at history, and the impact of losing a great or even Heisman trophy winning quarterback on an offense the year after they leave.

For this exercise, I chose 5 teams since 2000-2001 that have lost their "stud" quarterback and how their team performed the next year without him. Those five teams are Virginia Tech with Michael Vick, Missouri with Brad Smith, Ohio State with Troy Smith, Florida with Tim Tebow, and Auburn with Cam Newton. There are four Heisman trophy winners on this list, and Brad Smith.

I put Mr. Smith on the list, because my hope for what Griffin III could do for Baylor was to follow his path. Turn your team into a very solid team and then let the next group of recruits turn it into a top level program. Smith's freshman year ended at 5-7, but the next three seasons, the Tigers won a total of 20 games. However, the following three seasons was where the program took off under the next guy, winning 30 games over those next three campaigns!

With the Bears breaking through last year though, my expectations for improvement like that are tempered, though I think the next three years should be better overall than the previous three seasons (21 wins).

So let's take a look at some of the key performance indicators for each of the squads. I wanted to take a look at some of the basic statistics that have always been around, such as points per game, rushing yards and passing yards. I also decided to do some of the more advanced stats such as Yards per Point and Points per play, as I think those stats can determine the explosiveness of an offense, a common characteristic with a top level dual-threat player at the quarterback spot.

Team

Points

Pass

Yards

Rush

Yards

Total

Yards

Yards/

Point

Points/

Play

Yards/

Play

Play/

Game

Missouri ‘05

30.8

224.5

205.3

429.8

14

0.371

5.19

82.8

Missouri ‘06

28.7

276.2

149.5

425.6

14.4

0.399

5.92

71.9

DIFFERENCE

-2.1

51.7

-55.8

-4.2

-0.4

0.028

0.73

-10.9

% Difference

-6.82%

23.03%

-27.18%

-0.98%

-2.86%

7.55%

14.03%

-13.16%

Ohio State ‘06

34.6

214.7

169.8

384.5

11.1

0.536

5.96

64.5

Ohio State ‘07

30.8

196.8

196.9

393.7

12.7

0.447

5.71

69

DIFFERENCE

-3.8

-17.9

27.1

9.2

-1.6

-0.089

-0.26

4.5

% Difference

-10.98%

-8.34%

15.96%

2.39%

-14.41%

-16.60%

-4.29%

6.98%

Florida ‘09

33.8

236.1

221.8

457.9

13.2

0.496

6.71

68.2

Florida ‘10

29.2

184.3

166.5

350.8

12.1

0.441

5.07

69.2

DIFFERENCE

-4.6

-51.8

-55.3

-107.1

1.1

-0.055

-1.64

1

% Difference

-13.61%

-21.94%

-24.93%

-23.39%

8.33%

-11.09%

-24.50%

1.47%

Auburn ‘10

39.6

214.4

284.8

499.2

12.4

0.567

7.37

67.7

Auburn ‘11

24.9

155.5

182.3

337.8

13.3

0.379

5.30

63.7

DIFFERENCE

-14.7

-58.9

-102.5

-161.4

-0.9

-0.188

-2.07

-4

% Difference

-37.12%

-27.47%

-35.99%

-32.33%

-7.26%

-33.16%

-28.08%

-5.91%

Virginia Tech

‘00

37.8

155.9

270.5

426.4

11.27

0.522

5.89

72.4

Virginia Tech

‘01

31.33

179.4

194.7

374.1

13.77

0.377

5.19

72.1

DIFFERENCE

-6.47

23.5

-75.8

-52.3

-2.5

-0.145

-0.70

-0.3

% Difference

-17.12%

15.07%

-28.02%

-12.27%

-22.18%

-27.78%

-11.90%

-0.41%

Avg

Difference

-6.334

-10.68

-52.46

-63.16

-0.86

-0.0898

-0.79

-1.94

Avg %

Difference

-17.13%

-3.93%

-20.03%

-13.31%

-7.68%

-16.22%

-10.95%

-2.21%

As you can see from the chart, the offenses of these 5 squads decreased across the board in every single measureable. They scored almost a touchdown less per game, and usually had the biggest drop-off in rushing yards (52 yards per game lost). They also lost almost a yard on their average play and took almost an extra yard for every point they scored.

So with that in mind, what can we expect from the Bears offense. Below is the breakdown of the 2010 and 2011 offenses in the same statistics of the teams above.

Team

Points

Pass

Yards

Rush

Yards

Total

Yards

Yards/

Point

Points/

Play

Yards/

Play

Play/ Game

Baylor ‘10

30.9

280.7

194.6

475.3

15.5

0.42

6.45

73.7

Baylor ‘11

45.1

351.5

235.6

587.1

13.1

0.557

7.25

81

DIFFERENCE

14.2

70.8

41

111.8

2.4

0.137

0.80

7.3

% Difference

45.95%

25.22%

21.07%

23.52%

15.48%

32.62%

12.39%

9.91%

The Baylor offense showed incredible improvement in terms of explosive plays overall performance. The Bears average over 14 points more and 111 yards more per game. They saw their yards per play go up 12.39% and their points per play go up an astonishing 32.62%. All of this led to the 4th best scoring team in the country (behind Houston, Oklahoma State and Oregon).

With such a drastic jump in performance, I am concerned about what the baseline of performance is for this offense. Was the jump due to the increased talent on that side of the ball, slight adjustments in the offensive scheme, or just pure luck? The big difference to me from 2010 to 2011 was the incredible growth in the offense's ability to complete passes down the field. In 2010, this pass was something that Griffin III struggled with. We missed so many opportunities on these types of plays, and seemed to miss an inordinate amount.

I can remember sitting in Houston at the Texas Bowl just thinking "why can't we ever complete passes down the field, even when guys are WIDE open?!?!?!?" Well in 2011, this was not a problem as Griffin III put on an aerial assault as good as any in the last 20 years. His deep-ball turned into the biggest weapon in the game and the Bears offense exploded.

So, what can we actually expect in 2012? Well, purely off of the numbers, I ran the regression on both the 2010 and 2011 seasons, to give us some good baselines (and hedge my bet on the whole luck factor). Below are the results.

Team

Points

Pass

Yards

Rush

Yards

Total

Yards

Yards/

Point

Points/

Play

Yards/

Play

Play/

Game

2012 Estimate (11)

37.375

337.689

188.402

508.932

12.094

0.467

6.455

79.211

2012 Estimate (10)

25.607

269.671

155.616

412.018

14.310

0.352

5.743

72.072

As you can see, the version with 2011 as the baseline is a MASSIVE improvement. Those 37.375 points would have still been good for 14th best in the country. The 2010 estimate though is rather pedestrian, and would turn this offense from a great to a merely average one. Looking at those two estimates though, I think the 2011 version is the more appropriate version to use, with some slight tweaks. Check back later to find out the details on these stats and what we can expect from each player for the Bears.


Bears Illustrated Top Stories