An After Action Review, or AAR, is a US Army tool used to analyze the success or failure of an intended mission/action. Let’s apply this evaluation method to the Kentucky-South Carolina football game:
WHAT WERE INTENDED RESULTS
— Win the football game
WHAT WERE ACTUAL RESULTS
— Won the football game 17-10
WHAT CAUSED OUR RESULTS
— Defensive improvements in the following areas: assignment, tacking, desire, and resolve
— Steady, intentional, and forceful run game
WHAT WILL WE SUSTAIN? IMPROVE?
— Rushing for 216 yards. I harped on the pregame show that UK had to rush for over 200 yards. Carolina was allowing 192 per game; 200 wasn’t a stretch and figured to be a proper benchmark to secure the win.
— Win time of possession. UK-32:40, SC-27:20. Mark Stoops found a way to keep his defense off the field more than his opponent.
— 1-2 punch of Boom Williams–Benny Snell. Williams: 15 carries, 123 yards, 1 TD, 8.2 yards per carry. Snell: 16 carries, 77 yards, 1 TD, 4.6 yards per carry.
Boom Williams is leading the SEC in the following statistical categories: Long rushing plays, 16–10+ yd gains, Long scrimmage gains, 17–10+ yd gains. He’s also the league’s 3rd leading rusher.
Benny Snell’s 5 rushing TDs are also tied for a conference best.
— Explosive defensive plays. Kentucky: 5 QB sacks, 6 tackles for loss, 3 pass breakups, and 1 QB hurry.
— 3rd down defense: 3/13
— Offensive rushing yards per carry advantage: UK: 4.3, SC-2.6
— Offensive line depth/rotation. Reserve guards Logan Stenberg–Bunchie Stallings joined tackles George Asafo-Adjei–Landon Young/Kyle Meadows during a critical 4th quarter, touchdown drive.
— 4th quarter offensive intention and strategy. Kentucky did not attempt a 4th quarter pass. Offensive coordinator Eddie Gran deployed an effective and steady rushing attack to salt the clock and finalize the mission’s intent with a victory.
— Resolve: Kentucky overcame a first half turnover and scoring margin to win the game in the second half.
— OLBs Josh Allen and Denzil Ware: Allen-7 tackles, 1 QB sack, 1 TFL. Ware-5 tackles, 2 QB sacks, 2 TFL. Denzil Ware (an OLB/DE) was named as the SEC’s defensive linemen of the week for his play against South Carolina.
— Defensive line’s gap/assignment responsibility. NTs Matt Elam and Naquez Pringle played their best game of their careers by occupying interior blockers and clogging inside run lanes. DEs Courtney Miggins and Alvonte Bell also played their best football by lessening containment losses and forcing QB Brandon Mcllwain to make early decisions in the RPO scheme.
— 3rd down offense: 4/13. Kentucky is converting 36.3% on 3rd down for the season.
— Turnover ratio: UK-2, SC-0. This pattern cannot continue. Kentucky is currently 123rd in the nation with a -1.50.
— Allowing explosive defensive plays. South Carolina applied pressure on many occasions and accumulated 4 QB sacks. 2 could have been categorized as QB error, but disruption was consistent. The Gamecocks also produced 6 tackles for loss. This category was especially significant on 1st down plays.
— Missed tackles for loss. Linebackers and defensive linemen both had Carolina ball carries dead in their sites for a TFL, then simply missed.