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Just The Sports: Imitated and Duplicated

Just The Sports

Friday, November 16, 2007

Imitated and Duplicated

A poorly kept secret in college football is there are very few innovators among the coaching ranks. The rest of the coaches are glorified copycats, taking note of what works for other teams and then implementing them in their own programs in the following seasons. One need not even squint to see the widespread use of the spread offense, allowing teams to put up more points and also turn their quarterbacks into even riskier professional prospects. Coaches are even known to copy ineffectual strategies, as evidenced by the puzzling popularity of unorthodox kickoffs and rugby-style punts instead of simply trusting their coverage teams. This season, the most noticeable act of plagiarizing has come from head coaches imitating what Urban Meyer and the Florida Gators did with Tim Tebow last year and utilizing their own back-up running quarterbacks in the same way.

Due to the fact the LSU Tigers are in the SEC conference with Florida, I will focus on Ryan Perrilloux and compare what he has done so far this season to what Tebow did last year on the championship Gators team. Surprisingly, since I consider Tim Tebow to be a singular talent (most likely because I have a natural affinity for left-handed athletes being left-handed myself) I predicted before I started compiling data from the play-by-play of both teams' games available on that Perrilloux would have no chance of equaling Tebow's success. However, my thinking was not exactly accurate.

As far as running the ball, Tebow has a slight edge over Perrilloux, only because he has a higher success rate (58.4% to 51.3%). Other than the fact Tebow did a better job of gaining a successful amount of yardage, Perrilloux has been just as explosive a runner as Tebow. Tebow gained 4.8 extra yards per successful run while Perrilloux has amassed 4.6 extra yards per successful run so far this season. It is also worth noting that Tebow failed by an average of 3.7 yards and Perrilloux has done so by an average of 3.5 yards.

Ryan Perrilloux knocks Tebow of the 2006 season off his pedestal a bit by having had better passing statistics in his back-up role. A lot of the credit for his superiority is due to 20/25, 298 yards, three touchdown game against Middle Tennessee when he started in lieu of Matt Flynn, LSU's regular starter. Because of that performance, Perrillou has a passing success rate of 72.5% with 11.0 extra yards per successful pass and 5.7 yards needed per failed pass. Tebow's 2006 passing stats of a 64.9% passing success rate with 12.3 yards per successful pass and 5.2 yards per failed pass are not shabby, but are no equal for what Perrilloux has done for the Bayou Bengals.

They are also equal in scoring touchdowns. Tebow scored thirteen touchdowns in fourteen games last year and Perrilloux is a little ahead of that pace with nine touchdowns in nine games played.

On the field, Perrilloux has every shot to be as good with LSU as Tebow currently is at Florida, but talent will mean nothing if he is unable to change his attitude and find a way to stay out of further trouble.

Note: Successful runs gain 40% of yardage on first down, 60% of yardage on second down, and 100% of yardage on third/fourth downs. Successful passes gain 45% of yardage on first down, 60% of yardage on second down, and 100% of yardage on third/fourth downs.



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