Zach Berman of the Inquirer wrote a story today about Chip Kelly’s favorite stat: response after turnover.
“It’s not what you do in the turnover battle, it’s what you do (with the turnovers),” Kelly said. “Our defense can create four urnovers, if we go out and score no points, it doesn’t matter. You say, ‘hey, we were plus-4 in turnovers today. What did the offense do with it? It’s been the same exact thing as, we’ve turned the ball over, but our defense goes on the field and pitches a shutout. They did a great job, they picked us up. We talk about that from a statistical standpoint. That’s a huge – that’s a metric that we look at because I think you can control that.”
This isn’t new. Kelly talked about this last September.
Kelly said, “It’s not about winning the turnover battle. It’s about what your response is after the turnover because if you’re defense can do an unbelievable job and put you at +4, but every single time the offense goes 3 & out, you didn’t do anything with what the defense created for you. By the same token, just because you turn it over on the offensive side of the ball, if your defense can go out there and stop them, then that’s what it’s all about.
“So, for us, the only thing we talk about from a statistical standpoint is what is our response after a turnover. Are we capitalizing when our defense creates a turnover, and if we happen to turn it over, does our defense go on the field and stop the opponent from doing something with it. That’s what we talk about and I think that’s the one that has the biggest impact on games.”
An Oregon writer touched on this after reading that article. He’s got some interesting stats for you to check out. His article was written early in the 2012 season so he focused on 2011 data. Still, Oregon was excellent at coming up with turnovers and scoring when they did. The Ducks also defended well when they did turn it over.
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No one questions the logic in Kelly’s thinking. The question is how you put the theory into practice. In other words, how do you make sure to score after a takeaway as opposed to getting the ball off a punt? Is this about playcalling? Is attitude the key?
Kelly isn’t likely to spill the beans here.
My guess is that Kelly puts a focus on this like you would Red Zone offense or 3rd/short plays. You might have special plays, but more important is just that you stress over and over to your players that these are critical situations, regardless of field position. This sounds odd to those of us who have never thought about this as a “key metric”.
The traditional focus is on getting turnovers. Obviously you want to turn them into points, but I can’t recall a coach either keeping track of that or making it a public talking point.
Whatever Kelly’s methods were at Oregon, they worked.
This will be another new part of the game to focus on.