A Note on Data Analysis

We love to chart games at Xs and Oz (as of the 2001 Troy State game, we've charted 27 individual games from eight different seasons -- 2216 individual plays and counting), but the real fun comes in analyzing the data we generate. Below you'll find explanations of the basic analyses that we perform as soon as we've finalized a game chart. At first glance, we're interested in the formations and plays Nebraska runs, how often they run them, and how productive they are.

Brief Explanations of the Analyses

Formation Frequency lists the formations that Nebraska has run, in order of most often used to least. If you don't recognize the formations, please refer to the Xs and Oz Formation Chart.

General Play Type evaluates the six basic categories of plays that Nebraska runs: Power, Option, Traps, Counters, Play Action Passing, and Dropback Passing. Frequencies of each are shown, as a percentage of total offensive plays. We've used our own judgement here and there, but we generally use the text of Milt Tenopir's Assembly Line as our guide for assigning plays to categories.

Play Selection displays the plays run year-to-date, in order of most frequently run to least. Note that we analyze plays in directional pairs (for example, "41/49 Pitch", "11/19 Base Option"), which allows us to consider all occurrences of the same play together, regardless of whether it is run to the left or the right.

Option Pitch-Keep shows the percentage of QB keeps and pitches in the option game, which any Cornhusker fan can tell you has been a hot topic during the Eric Crouch era. QB carries include plays where the defense penetrates to the QB before he has a chance to make any kind of pitch/keep decision. It's worth noting that from that perspective, the percentages are biased toward the QB.

The Average Starting Field Position Analysis is, well, self-explanatory. We've noted drives that end in scores.

If you have suggestions for other data you'd like to see tracked every week, email us at mays@inebraska.com, and we'll see what we can do.

NOTE: The totals and percentages you'll see in our summaries exclude the following types of plays: punts, field goals, plays killed by penalties, field goal attempts, QB spikes to stop the clock, and taking a knee at the end of the game. We hang on to two-point conversions, though. That might not be consistent, but heck, when points are at stake, you've gotta pay attention!