2019 Bill C Returning Production Rankings

Haven't seen it mentioned so figured I'd post, Bill Connelly at SBNation released his annual returning production rankings for 2019 (it's one portion of the full S&P+ preseason rankings that come out next week). Could be a nice break from spinning our wheels on recruiting news.

If you're not aware, Returning Production attempts to gauge how much talent a team has coming back, but instead of the traditional number of starters returning it looks at percentage of stats returning, with each position weighted depending on how well each stat correlates with future success. Thus, a returning QB is worth more than any other position. One interesting effect is that returning production in the passing game correlates much more with success than in the running game, meaning bringing back your DBs, receivers, and QBs is worth more than linebackers and running backs, etc. That's just the broad strokes, there's a more full explanation in the article of course.

Cutting to the chase, we rank 11th in the country and 3rd in the power 5 in returning production, with 60% returning on offense and 96% on defense. That's good for 1st in the country in returning defensive production, 77th in offensive (although I'm fairly sure that's counting McClease as gone).

A lot more than this goes into having a good year, but at least we've got some mathematical basis for optimism.


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It obviously doesn't account for the fact that the 96% of production that is returning on defense was putrid.

If you're not sure if my comment warrants a "/s", it probably does.

At least they weren't consistently putrid... they showed some ability at times, but you could always count on a few lapses every game, and a ton of lapses in a few games.

Fortunately lapses can be ironed out with practice and experience. Not a guarantee, but aside from the interior line I don't see a void of talent on the defense, just a lack of know-how. I'm guardedly optimistic we'll see a nice uptick, though not expecting a vintage Foster Defense obviously.

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

Exactly. I'm not expecting top-10, but last year we were 77th in Defensive S&P+, so if we can get to around 30th or 40th (a realistic goal) we should have a much better season.

With all of these Offensive linemen and RBs...im really hope we can run the ball more to protect the defense...shorten the game...with the softer schedule this year..lets start to work on building some depth on the defense..

They were pretty consistently putrid. A few huge lapses every game as you said, is pretty consistent.

Over the first half of the season, I was tracking their stats, even posted some interesting tidbits here. Most of the time, our defense was holding the opponent to 2 yards or less. Occasionally, the opponent broke a big play. There were a couple games (GT and Pitt come to mind) where they were consistently bad, but those were the exception, not the rule. I don't have the numbers in front of me, but I remember being surprised while looking over the play-by-play at how often we were getting stops, considering the overall numbers they were giving up. We were the very definition of "break but don't bend" for much of last season. A majority of the time they were making big plays, but their inconsistency meant that the few occasions when they weren't making big plays they were instead giving up big plays.

But sure, believe the narrative that looks only at a small minority of plays, since those are the most memorable.

98th in the country in total defense looks at "all of the plays"... And no, the defense was not giving up 2 yards or less consistently at any point last season.

Depends on how long it takes for you to consider it consistent. For example we held Notre Dame to 1.75 YPC in the first half not including lost yardage for sacks and fumble recovery.

The Orange and Maroon you see, that's fighting on to victory.

Pretty mind blowing that Notre Dame had -5 yards rushing until the 97 yarder in the 3rd quarter. That play ended the game for us. The young team never recovered mentally.

I honestly don't consider one half of one game "consistent", no.

Fair. From the entire Duke game through the first half of the Notre Dame game we were holding opponents to less than 2 YPC. Is six quarters consistent? It's certainly a point in the season.

The Orange and Maroon you see, that's fighting on to victory.

They were also consistently getting stops against FSU, minus the huge run and only a few more decent gains. The same could be said about UNC, and it's not like BC was gashing us all game either.

Regardless, I'm not saying they were consistent. I'm saying most of the time they were good, but inconsistency is what did our defense in. We held the opponent to 3rd-and-long a bunch of times, only to give up a 97-yard TD run or whatever.

Not sure there's much point arguing with DC once his mind is made up though. To him, our defense was putrid the entire 2018 season, and no amount of analysis will convince him otherwise.

Not sure there's much point arguing with DC

Pointing out inaccuracies presented as fact is the best way to check false narratives even if it isn't changing the mind of the person being directly replied to. My end goal is to at least get people to do a little Googling before they come on here and prattle off fiction because it suits their narrative. As far as I'm concerned DC can be negative but he can't be wrong and negative.

The Orange and Maroon you see, that's fighting on to victory.

DC can be negative but he can't be wrong and negative

Oh how wrong you are.

(I understand what you were trying to say, I just couldn't pass up on that)

I think that what this all says is that our defense can't be any worse than last year.

In Bud we trust

Or that Walker's 4% didnt really show up in stats because of position and double teams.

His returning production formula doesn't give much value to DL numbers like tackles, and gives a tremendous amount of value to returning stats from secondary players like passes defended.

I wonder if, on average, D linemen are more plug-and-play than DBs. As in, if it's generally easier to replace a good (but not necessarily great) DL than it is to replace a good (but not necessarily great) DB.

Which would explain the over-emphasis on pass-defense.

There's a comment on the article that is very interesting...basically says that teams typically recruit at a consistent level, meaning the levels of size pure athleticism is similar year-over-year. That means that positions that rely largely on those traits tend to see the lowest drop-off from attrition, while positions that require a lot of technique, chemistry, and/or decision making tend to see steeper drop-offs in production. Of course there will always be outliers, but on average that's how it would shake out, which would account for DT and RB being devalued in these rankings.

Mathematical Basis for Optimism: Dating for Nerds

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

The article is worth a read, a solid analysis. The ending was a hidden nugget. Spoiler alert: by his analysis Texas is going to be the most overrated team in the polls next season.

" That's good for 1st in the country in returning defensive production"- lol. That "production" produced the 98th ranked total defense last year. Moneyball is cool until the games are played.

I take it you don't watch much college sports? This is how it works. You take your lumps with youth and they get better for it. Doesn't always work out that way, but it does more often than not, which has been borne out countless times by the numbers and anecdotal evidence, not to mention just basic common sense (when young players gain experience, they get better).

I watch a ton of sports. And I bet our defense will be better next year. I don't need an irrelevant deep stat to tell me that though. I'll watch the games.

If you don't need "an irrelevant deep stat to tell [you] that", why bother opening the thread if all you're going to do is make a fuss about it? The title of the thread is pretty clear that this is a discussion of "deep stats".

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

come on, man

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

Fireman is just speaking the damn truth. Facts are facts.

Dude came into a thread about Advanced Stats to yell at us about how he doesn't believe in Advanced Stats. And it's not exactly out-of-character for him, he gets borderline troll-y like this somewhat regularly.

I, for one, am a bit tired of it, but I'm not about to say he should leave just because his fun is different than my fun, but at least give us the chance to point out when he's being ridiculous.

I'm convinced that the right way to handle dc is to just ignore him.

He makes coherent points sometimes so it lures you into thinking you can engage him in productive conversation. In all reality, when presented with new information, he just digs into whatever hyper-negative opinion he started with without really speaking to what others are saying at all. He's not here to have a conversation, he's here to get attention. Let's just stop giving it to him, please.

He's specifically the reason I wish TKP had an ignore function. People keep saying he brings up good points, but the bullshit far outweighs it. I consider him a net negative to the site.

"I liked you guys a lot better when everybody told you you were terrible." -Justin Fuente

I hear you on it. But posting a "DC WANTS ATTENTION AGAIN" meme sure doesn't do anything to deter it. It's borderline CG-violation between "respecting signal to noise" and "personal attack". At this point, seems like some commenters just downvote and argue with him on literally anything and everything just because they don't like him. It's a just-as-tiresome response to a tiresome shtick.

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

hey, I found someone who likes listening to DCwilson's rants:

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

but the conclusion remains: continuity in the passing game matters a hell of a lot, and continuity in the run game doesn't have as strong an impact.

So this means RBs are a dime-a-dozen and we shouldn't fret all too much about missing a 5 star if we can find a 4 star that gets the job done.

Come to Blacksburg and see what the Hokie Pokie is really all about

It means that overall talent level in the run game matters more than continuity in the run game.

Considering that Shai McKenzie was the last 4* RB we recruited, and considering that he showed a lot of promise before numerous injuries took their toll, and considering that Peoples wasn't even rated by the major services... we should be able to expect a bit more oomph from the run game in 2019.

Pretty much the opposite. It means running back production is more of a function of raw talent than skill development. You see it at the NFL level too. Elite rookie running backs can make an immediate impact, but even the top receivers seem to take a year or two in the league to put it all together.