2016 Cougar D: How much 'havoc' is right amount?

FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS has an interesting metric when it comes to defense - its havoc rate. It's their method for looking at "how much hell a defense is raising." Compared to the rest of the Pac-12, Washington State raised a surprising amount of hell in 2015.

The havoc rate is defined by Football Outsiders as the team's total tackles for loss, passes defensed and forced fumbles divided by total plays.

Washington State finished last season at a rate of 17.9 percent.  Only Utah (20.6) and blitz-happy ASU (18.5) finished higher in the Pac-12.

There are of course many different ways to be successful on defense.  Alabama last season finished with the best havoc rate (23.3) and was No. 3 nationally in both scoring and total defense.  But Florida State finished so-so in the havoc (15.1) but was in the top 10 in the land in both scoring and total defense. 

And Washington, which last year led the Pac-12 in scoring and total defense (13th and 31st nationally, respectively) posted a havoc rate just below that of Wazzu, at 17.8 percent.

Meanwhile, Wazzu with its high havoc rate in the conference finished No. 7 in the Pac-12 in scoring defense at 27.7 ppg (74th nationally) and also No. 7 in total defense (84th nationally, 416.2 ypg).

So how does WSU improves its scoring defense in 2016, by cranking up the havoc or dialing it back?   The Cougs' season opener is only 82 days away.

RELATED STORY: Analyzing WSU's schedule Part III

Cougfan Top Stories