Defensive tackles are one of the toughest positions to grade. Some guys will rack up stats because they're constantly in a one-gap situation with minimal responsibilities except to create penetration. Others will be more in charge of holding the line, and playing two gaps, like nose tackles.
So how then, can we find a statistic to gauge them? Straight individual stats don't work: on many of the defensive tackle's best plays, he'll create a push or stalemate that forces a runner away from his area, and into somebody else's arms.
The truth is that there isn't an all-encompassing solution. But that doesn't mean that we can't have fun with it. Here, I've taken each team's tackles for loss. Because while some tackles for loss are individual plays on the outside (a cornerback slipping a receiver's block on a bubble screen, for instance), most are caused by some form of penetration. And penetration is often either caused by the defensive tackle, or allowed by a defensive tackle holding spots.
But straight tackles for loss isn't a solution in that some teams face more defensive snaps. So below, I've figured out the percentage of tackles for loss, divided by the number of plays a defense sees. It's imperfect, but when gauging tackles, nothing is totally perfect.
Big 12 2011 Tackles for Loss Percentage
1) Texas — 865 plays, 116 tackles for loss, 13.41 percent
2) Oklahoma — 950 plays, 98 tackles for loss, 10.32 percent
3) Texas A&M — 1019 plays, 104 tackles for loss, 10.21 percent
4) Missouri — 950 plays, 91 tackles for loss, 9.58 percent
5) Oklahoma State — 1089 plays, 91 tackles for loss, 8.36 percent
6) Texas Tech — 904 plays, 71 tackles for loss, 7.85 percent
7) Kansas State — 907 plays, 63 tackles for loss, 6.95 percent
8) Baylor — 992 plays, 62 tackles for loss, 6.25 percent
9) Kansas — 866 plays, 50 tackles for loss, 5.77 percent
10) Iowa State — 979 plays, 56 tackles for loss, 5.72 percent