For those who don't know, Kevin Kelley is a high school football coach in Arkansas who kicks onside kicks after every score, almost nevers punts, and often opts for 2 pt conversions over PATs. In 18 years as head coach, he's 216-29-1.
Andy Staples is lobbying for him to get the Kansas job, and had him on the show to talk about his coaching style, how he uses analytics, and all sorts of stuff:
TL;DR, this podcast is about how Coach Kelley uses analytics to make on field decision as well as influence the intangibles. I think the whole episode is a must listen, but I'll list some of his more interesting comments:
- He always goes for 2pts on the first two TDs of the game - He's pretty confident that his team will convert at least one of the two scores, so in his mind, at worst case, it's one score game, best case, it's a two score game, and being up two scores after the opponent has only had one possession is a huge psychological advantage. After the first two drives, he goes by his chart/the score.
- If he's torn between two calls, he looks to the other sideline and tries to get a feel for their mental state - if they look deflated, he'll almost always go for the more aggressive call.
- Coach knows that the team is 136-5 when they recover an onside kick. He makes sure all of his kids have this stat memorized, so when they recover do an onside kick, they automatically get an enormous confidence boost.
- Coach Kelley notices that in college football, if a team cannot gain 4 yards on the first play of a drive, their chances of scoring on that drive decrease by 40%. Thus, on the first play of each drive, he always calls a play that is expected to gain more than 4 yards (eg; a passing play instead of a run).
- Similarly, Coach notices the impact of 20+ yard plays on winning, so he game plans around maximizing those plays on offense, and limiting them on defense.
- He's open to an abnormal compensation structure, saying he'd sign a contract for $90k/win
I'd be thrilled if
this guy a guy like this was the next VT hire. Anyways, for a ~35 min episode, this pod is packed with a ton of interesting tidbits. It's a must listen.