Sustaining drives is an important charge for any offense. Among other things, longer drives allow more time for the defense to rest, help to win the all important field position battle, and provide more scoring opportunities. Tech has not done a good job at moving the chains. When I found out the Hokies average just 18.33 first downs a game (94th nationally), I decided to do a little bit of analysis.
I used the drive summaries from ESPN.com as the source of my data. According to ESPN.com, the Hokies have had 40 drives, but I'm only considering 39 of them because one is listed as 0 plays, "End of Half".
Just 11 drives ended in points. If a drive's ultimate success is measured by points scored, then it is fair to say Tech has a 74.36% failure rate. Yards gained is another valid measure, and Tech is averaging 5 plays, 28 yards a drive. 38.5% of drives have ended in punts (thankfully, A.J. Hughes has been a stud). More drives have ended with turnovers (interceptions, fumbles, downs), 10, than in touchdowns, 9.
Again, ignore the first column because that's bad data from ESPN.com. What should stand out is that 16 drives are 3 plays or less, a whopping 41%. Here's their distribution.
|End of Game||1|
The success rate of scoring on drives 3 plays or less is 25%, nothing Earth shattering there.
What's both interesting and depressing is on drives 7 plays or more, the success rate of scoring is just 45.5%.
|Field Goal Good||1|
|Field Goal Missed||1|
|Turnover on Downs||3|
So even when Tech is moving the ball, they aren't finishing.
This is a small sample size (less than 1/3 of the season assuming Tech makes a bowl), and I'm optimistic the offense will turn it around. Traditionally they start slow, and recover. After the North Carolina game, the halfway point of the regular season, I'll crunch these numbers again for a comparison.