FanPost

Chris Cosh: Should He Stay Or Should He Go? Measuring His Progess Over Three Years

Much anger has been exerted on this site for the perceived lack of progress that has been the trademark of the Chris Cosh Defense. This year, however, after winning ten games (with several key late-game defensive heroics) the narrative has emerged that Cosh has seriously improved this defense from a year ago. So, the question is begged, which is the correct viewpoint? The only way to know for sure is by comparing the numbers from every year.

Overall Defense

Year YPG Rank Passing Rank Rushing Rank Total YPP
2011 398.80 76 3207 104 1578 39 4785 5.66
2010 445.69 106 2786 52 3008 119 5795 6.40
2009 339.92 39 2815 83 1265 16 4079 5.40

Initially, based solely off the overall yardage numbers, you would have to say that yes, Cosh has improved the defense. A closer examination, though, reveals that while Cosh has improved the rushing defense from an abysmal 119 ranking and 3008 yards, his passing numbers declined from a 52 ranking to 104th and 3207 yards, with one game (Cotton Bowl!) left to play. However, his passing numbers did not increase as much as his rushing numbers decreased (421 yard vs 1430 yards), thereby accounting for the improvement seen in his overall numbers. Furthermore, we have played a much tougher schedule this year, especially in regards to passing teams, so further examination is required based upon his performance against the opposing team's average game totals.

Difference Per Game

Year Total Yards* Passing Yards Rushing Yards YPP 3rd Down %** RZ TD %** RZ FG %** Red Zone %**
2011 -40.49 10.17 -50.66 -0.20 -1.74 -2.58 -3.78 -8.99
2010 37.15 -9.73 46.89 1.16 2.96 6.30 -1.85 4.45
2009 -38.73 -13.43 -25.30 -0.06 1.55 1.03 -5.60 -4.57

*To make the comparison more informative, I have excluded the KSU game stats from each team's overall numbers.

**Percentages are measured in percentage points. So, if we held a team to 2.75 below their season average of 30%, we would have held them 27.25%.

Unfortunately for those advocating for Cosh's removal (myself included), these numbers would suggest that this has been the best defense of the Bill Snyder 2.0 era. While the total yards are on par with 2009, 3rd down and Red Zone defense have shown marked improvement. Our only hope of finding statistical proof of decline is to look at other defensive stats, such as INTs and Sacks, which have been remarkably consistent over the years.

Miscellaneous Defense

Year Interceptions Rank Sacks Rank
2011 18 T5 19 T83
2010 13 T49 20 T85
2009 13 T30 20 T82

But that consistency is misleading. If you compare those numbers next to the number of plays that were run, you find that this defense has dropped off somewhat in sack production. That could be an indicator that the our ability to pressure the quarterback has declined.

Per Play Defense

Year Pass Attempts Sack % INT % Yards Per Pass Attempt Rush Attempts Yards Per Rush Attempt Yards Per Play
2011 447 4.25%5 4.03% 7.17 399 3.95 5.66
2010 400 5.00% 3.25% 6.97 507 5.93 6.40
2009 395 5.06% 3.29% 7.12 362 3.49 5.40

What does all of this mean? Everyone is free to draw their own conclusions, but to me, the numbers show that Cosh, when given the right athletes, can coach against the run. He is really good at stopping the rush in 2/3 years (and historically bad in the other year, but there was a noticeable lack of speed at linebacker).

However, his pass defense has remained consistently weak. The only "good" year he had , 2010, was in retrospect not very good at all and only in comparison to how awful we were against the run. This also seems to fit well with real world events. We now have a Co-Defensive Coordinator in charge of passing. Perhaps that is because Cosh is not that good against the pass? And if you look back on when our defense dropped off after 2003, it also coincided with the rise of the passing offense. I would submit that the reason for that was that Cosh could not come up with a scheme to contain those offenses. I would also submit that he still has not done so.

Except we are forgetting something here. These numbers have been 'deflated' from the weaker non-conference teams. If we only include stats from games against major conference competition, we see a different story.

Difference Per Game

Difference Per Game vs FBS

Difference Per Game vs BCS

Year Total Yards Passing Yards Rushing Yards YPP Year Total Yards Passing Yards Rushing Yards YPP Year Total Yards Passing Yards Rushing Yards YPP
2011 -40.49 10.17 -50.66 -0.20 2011 -23.12 13.69 -36.82 -6.57 2011 -19.53 22.09 -41.62 0.12
2010 37.15 -9.73 46.89 1.16 2010 38.28 -16.93 55.21 1.19 2010 37.24 -15.94 53.19 1.19
2009 -38.73 -13.43 -25.30 -0.06 2009 -13.02 1.58 -14.60 0.40 2009 -5.41 6.58 -11.99 0.52

These numbers show us that against the 2009 defense may not have actually been that good, once you remove the two FCS teams and UL-Lafayette from the schedule. Furthermore, Cosh's 2011 defense also weakens considerably when faced with stiffer competition. Only his 2010 defense was a consistent performer; it was bad across the board.

Still, Cosh's 2011 defense is pretty stout against the run. Whether tat is because teams don't bother running against us because they know they can pass, or whether it is simply because Arthur Brown is a beast, we can not say definitively at this point. All we know for sure is that against BCS competition, Cosh's defense has improved by 90 yards against the run, and regressed by 40 yards against the pass.

For anyone interested, here is the raw data set from which I drew these numbers:

2011 Defense

Total Offense Offense Per Game Against KSU Difference
Opponent W L Total Passing Rushing Total Passing Rushing YPP Total Passing Rushing YPP Total Passing Rushing YPP
EKU 7 5 3966 1624 2324 360.55 147.64 212.91 5.45 129 119 10 2.43 -231.55 -28.64 -202.91 -3.02
Kent St. 5 7 2839 1664 1175 258.09 151.27 106.82 3.94 199 81 118 3.37 -59.09 -70.27 11.18 -0.57
@Miami 6 6 4533 2785 1748 412.09 253.18 158.91 6.06 411 272 139 7.09 -1.09 18.82 -19.91 1.03
Baylor 9 3 6426 3928 2498 584.18 357.09 227.09 7.54 429 346 83 6.92 -155.18 -11.09 -144.09 -0.62
Missouri 7 5 5343 2627 2716 485.73 238.82 246.91 6.42 326 214 112 4.94 -159.73 -24.82 -134.91 -1.48
@TT 5 7 5067 3679 1388 460.64 334.45 126.18 5.67 580 461 119 6.04 119.36 126.55 -7.18 0.37
@KU 2 10 3636 1798 1838 330.55 163.45 167.09 4.72 286 210 76 3.92 -44.55 46.55 -91.09 -0.80
Oklahoma 9 3 5695 3861 1834 517.73 351.00 166.73 6.20 690 520 170 9.20 172.27 169.00 3.27 3.00
@OSU 11 1 6109 4133 1976 555.36 375.73 179.64 7.01 575 502
73 9.13 19.64 126.27 -106.64 2.12
aTm 6 6 5482 3245 2237 498.36 295.00 203.36 6.17 482 210 272 5.42 -16.36 -85.00 68.64 -0.75
@Texas 7 5 4538 2204 2334 412.55 200.36 212.18 5.58 310 119 191 4.19 -102.55 -81.36 -21.18 -1.39
ISU 6 6 4346 2387 1959 395.09 217.00 178.09 4.97 368 153 215 4.72 -27.09 -64.00 36.91 -0.25
AVG -40.49 10.17 -50.66 -0.20

Some interesting items from this season:

1. We only allowed opponents to gain more than their season average in 3 games this season. We were 1-2 in those games. (TT, OU, OSU)

2. Despite going into 4OT with aTm, we still managed to keep them under their season average in every category (including total yards) except rushing.

2010 Defense

Total Offense Offense Per Game Against KSU Difference
Opponent W L Total Passing Rushing Total Passing Rushing YPP Total Passing Rushing YPP Total Passing Rushing YPP
UCLA 4 8 3487 1573 1914 317 143.00 174.00 4.67 313 120 193 5.00 -4.00 -23.00 19.00 0.33
SW Mizz. State
5 6 4233
2043
2190
423.30
204.30
219.00
4.53
447
281 166 5.30
23.70
76.70 -53.00 0.77
*ISU 5 7 3516
1969
1547 319.64
179.00
140.64 5.94
293
122
171 4.30
-26.64 -57.00 30.36 -1.64
UCF 11 3 4892
2518
2374 376.31
193.69
182.62
5.86
344
92
252
5.00
-32.31 -101.69 69.38 -0.86
Nebraska
10 4 5574 2108 3466
428.77 162.15
266.62 5.70
587
136
451
11.30
158.23 -26.15 184.38 5.60
@KU 3 9 3557
1942
1615 323.36
176.55
146.82 4.33
331
228
103 4.00
7.64
51.54 -43.82 -0.33
@Baylor 7 6
6179
3649
2530
514.92
304.08
210.83
6.40
683
404
279
9.00
168.08
99.92 68.17 2.60
OSU 11 2 6763
4496
2267
563.58 374.67
188.92 6.92 511
298
213
6.70
-52.58 -76.67 24.08 -0.22
Texas
5 7 4590
2784
1806 417.27
253.09
164.18 5.24
412
272
140
4.80
-5.27
18.91 -24.18 -0.44
@Missouri
10 3 5325
3292 2033 443.75 274.33 169.42
5.60
440 208 232 6.90
-3.75 -66.33 62.58 1.30
@Colorado 5 7 4314 2672 1642
392.18
242.91 149.27
4.95
476
225
251
6.80
83.82
-17.91 101.73 1.85
@UNT
3 9 4503 2077 2426
409.36
188.82
220.55
5.32
459
161 298 8.70
49.64 -27.82 77.45 3.38
*Syracuse 8 5 4197 2375 1822 381.55 215.91 165.64 4.97 498 239
259 7.70
116.45 23.09 93.36 2.73
AVG 37.15 -9.73 46.89 1.16

2009 Defense

Total Offense Offense Per Game Against KSU Difference
Opponent W L Total Passing Rushing Total Passing Rushing YPP Total Passing Rushing YPP Total Passing Rushing YPP
UMASS 5 6 3942 2419 1523 394.20 241.90 152.30 5.59 212 102 110 3.50 -182.20 -139.90 -42.30 -2.09
@UL-Laf. 6 6 4054 2513 1541 368.55 228.45 140.09 5.05 287 185 102 4.40 -81.55 -43.45 -38.09 -0.65
@UCLA 7 6 4027 2710 1317 335.58 225.83 109.75 5.01 359 186 173 6.20 23.42 -39.83 63.25 1.19
Tenn. Tech 6 5 2981 1765 1216 298.10 176.50 121.60 5.04 107 126 -19 2.40 -191.10 -50.50 -140.60 -2.64
*ISU 7 6 4370 2239 2131 364.17 186.58 177.58 5.28 371 164 207 5.50 6.83 -22.58 29.42 0.22
@TT 9 4 5381 4474 907 448.42 372.83 75.58 5.89 739 554 185 9.90 290.58 181.17 109.42 4.01
aTm 6 7 5754 3347 2407 479.50 278.92 200.58 5.92 301 314 -13 4.40 -178.50 35.08 -213.58 -1.52
Colorado 3 9 3528 2533 995 320.73 230.27 90.45 4.47 244 184 60 3.60 -76.73 -46.27 -30.45 -0.87
@Oklahoma 8 5 5052 3466 1586 421.00 288.83 132.17 5.43 458 294
164 6.40 37.00 5.17 31.83 0.98
KU 5 7 4768 3483 1285 433.45 316.64 116.82 5.79 301 241 60 4.70 -132.45 -75.64 -56.82 -1.09
Missouri 8 5 4794 3278 1516 399.50 273.17 126.33 5.68 433 298 135 8.50 33.50 24.83 8.67 2.82
@Nebraska 10 4 4151 2193 1958 319.31 168.69 150.62 5.28 267 166 101 4.20 -52.31 -2.69 -49.62 -1.08
AVG -38.73 -13.43 -25.30 -0.06


*game played at "neutral" location

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