Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday Lunch Thoughts: Dirk Runs Statistics and Fails on Summarizing

Dirk Chatelain of the Omaha World-Herald broke out his spreadsheet to analyze Nebraska's turnover statistics in recent years.  It doesn't take a math major to know that it's not good.  Too many turnovers on offense, and not forcing enough on defense.  But Dirk digs in anyway.  The problem with Dirk's analysis is that he only does two and four year comparisons.  That give you numbers, but what do they mean?

I argue that the only numbers that are relevant now are the 2011 season numbers.  Shawn Watson and Ted Gilmore are gone on offense, and Nebraska has a new offensive coordinator in Tim Beck.  So changes have been made on offense, and we saw improvement from 2010 to 2011, going from losing 16 out of 45 fumbles in 2010 to losing 11 out of 32 fumbles in 2011.

Statistics can be handy to help you identify problems and areas that you need to improve on.  But trying to pin the sins of Watson onto Beck doesn't get you very far in trying to determine what problems still exist.  It would be like evaluating Bo Pelini's defense by combining it with Kevin Cosgrove's disaster of 2007.  The numbers will be altered, but would it be meaningful?

Great wins by Nebraska basketball over Iowa last night, both for the men and women.  I don't get ESPNU, so I didn't see the game and could only listen to the tail end of the game.  Doesn't mean a lot in the grand scheme of things, but at least Nebraska can continue to say "better than Iowa."  (Of course, we've always known that. It's just now that Husker fans have "scoreboard" to point to.)

UNO goalie Ryan Massa appears to be recovering well from a concussion suffered one week ago. That's great news, but I wouldn't rush to get him back into the lineup. If he's truly ready to play next weekend against Bemidji, fine.  But concussions are nothing to take chances with.  Here's hoping he's at full strength in the closing month of the season.

The ugly story about former Nebraska quarterback Patrick Witt and the allegations of assault that may have scuttled his Rhodes Scholarship interview are quite surprising. I'm not sure if we'll ever get the complete truth on this one.  It does cloud my original perceptions of Witt from his 2006 commitment to Bill Callahan.

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