Wednesday, November 29, 2017

"You Can't Get There from Here"

Welcome to those who have made it here from "McGee Doesn't Tell Recruits What They Want to Hear" written by's Chris Bahn. I have improved the formatting and added information here which was previously linked. In my mind, and maybe only there, the details of this post likely changed perceptions of any Bobby Petrino/John L. Smith recruiting class. Leading up to this post, Arkansas' 2010 recruiting class was roundly criticized as failing to be up to the standards to win in the SEC, much less win the SEC. However, Coach Petrino's circumstances and success at Louisville on a national level conflicted with the idea that Coach Petrino would fail to recruit players who would succeed. If Petrino succeeded, were his recruits really of poor quality? If Petrino succeeded with recruits of a poor quality, how did he do it? -- SharpTusk Originally published February 7, 2010

Needing some direction lately, we've rolled down the Hog Bus window and asked the Recruiting Fellas, "How we can get to the SEC or National Championships?"

Their replies? "You can't get there from here."

In Bobby the Builder instead of looking outward to all of the recruits who are available, I turned the viewer back to Bobby Petrino and the Razorback Team believing that the key to understanding any players that he recruits starts with understanding him. Simply, Petrino thinks empirically and in terms of mathematical efficiency in order to maximize the benefit of many coaching decisions he makes.
As applied to recruiting, the "needs" he was trying to fill were determinable and not some eye-balled guess at the direction Coach Petrino would take the team.

I re-worked the current player distribution graph when more detailed scholarship information on players and positions came my way. It's worth a look at the breakdown:

Distribution of Players by Position and Eligibility Spring 2010

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This is a close estimate and some of it will change after players, like Neal Barlow who didn't play, actually have a year of eligibility restored. Some of it will change as players change positions. For the graph above, 4 years of eligibility represents the 2010 recruiting class.

Put aside reality for a moment and consider the "ideal distribution" (just think, "we'll even all the players and classes and positions") of players by position and by years of eligibility remaining. The chart would look something like this:

Ideal Distribution of Players by Position and Eligibility

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Putting the actual numbers of players at a position next to the "ideal" number for everyone but kicking and punting squads, here's how they look together:

Actual v. Predicted Distributions of Players by Position

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Players generically labeled as defensive backs (DB) might be cornerbacks or safeties as well. All-in-all, for putting together a group of 85 people, the actual is close to the ideal.

The whole reason this is important is that it's my belief that Coach Petrino would like a program that "reloads." The goal is to build a "consistent, Top 10 team." Logically, that goal won't sell out one year for another or have gaps at some position in some years. ALL the players are important every year!
As they were giving directions, the Recruiting Fellas said, "You can't win in the SEC with 2 and 3 Star players. You can't get there from here."

Let's think about this for a moment. The implications are that Petrino is being "out-recruited" by others and isn't executing a viable plan to get the Razorback Bus where we want it to go. Further, Bobby Petrino's analytical mind failed to construct a football system without redundancy or alternative means to accomplish the goal.

What other road to winning the SEC and National Championships is there?

It's developing players.

When I've suggested that, others have said,

"Petrino and staff are no better at developing players than any other SEC Coach."

"Florida and Alabama recruit have recruited much better talent than Petrino. Those schools send a lot of players to the NFL."

"We're starting off behind. Period. End of Story."

I take some consolation in the fact that these folks at least agree that a player getting drafted by an NFL team has some NFL talent.

Quick Quiz:

Including the 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 NFL Drafts, which team had the most players drafted --

The answer is Louisville with 21 NFL players drafted.

Over that time period, SEC schools had the following numbers of players taken in the NFL Draft.

Arkansas -- 14
Florida -- 19
Alabama -- 15
Tennessee -- 18
Mississippi -- 11

Let's look at the Louisville players drafted by the NFL.

I've included the "pick number" used to take the player in the NFL draft, the player's name, playing position, school, draft round, year began at Louisville, Rivals Stars and Rivals link.

Now we can compare the fact that the player was drafted by the NFL to an estimate of the player's ability at the beginning of his college career.

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Of 11 player rankings I could readily find (information before 2002 isn't available), NINE of the NFL Draftees were 2 or 3 Star players when signed by Louisville.

* 0
** 5
*** 4
**** 2
***** 0
unk. 10

If you noticed that some of the players were from 2002 and before, Petrino didn't recruit them. Arkansas Coach John L. Smith did!


If you're inclined to think that Petrino is just as good at "coaching up" players just as well as anyone else, you might change your mind.

Urban Meyer and the Florida Gators' program certainly HASN'T COACHED UP PLAYERS.

Through these five drafts, he's had no 2-star players and only 3 3-Star players drafted. The rest were 4 or 5 star players. I couldn't find a rating for one Florida player using

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In the Recruiting Classes leading up to these classes, I counted around 11 or so 5 star recruits. Florida has had only a handful of 2 Star recruits. I counted more than 40 3 Star recruits from the classes leading up to these Drafts. They had even more 4 Star recruits than 3.

Few "average" Florida players made it to the NFL while Petrino and Company's "average players" were going to the NFL in greater numbers than Florida's "star players."

There are TWO ways to get there from here.


NFL Draft Information for Selected SEC Schools from 2005-2009
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