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Kentucky’s Air Raid, A Statistical Beauty

(Photo: Darrell Bird, 247Sports)



I appreciated Kindsey’s post from earlier that tried to shine a light of optimism.  The site needs good positive perspective.  As a habitual optimist, I appreciate it more than most, but tonight I’m going to rain or her parade.

I was a big Shannon Dawson fan, even when they struggled throughout the year, but then I saw this year’s passing numbers.  They’re bad.  Actually, “bad” doesn’t do them justice.  For a person that falls under Hal Mumme’s Air Raid tree, these numbers are horrific.

Here is where Kentucky ranked in a variety of national categories according to, going from best to worst.

  • 79th in completions per game, hauling in 17.2 passes per game.
  • 80th in QB sacks per game; the QB was tackled 2.4 times a game.
  • 87th in yards per completion at 11.6.
  • 89th in passing yards per game with 198, only 151.7 through their last three games
  • 89th in incompletions per game with 15.1 passes failing to connect per game.
  • 97th in completion percentage. UK QB’s completed 53.24% of their passes, only 44.9% in their last three games (Vandy, Charlotte, UofL).
  • 111th at interceptions thrown per game, 1.3 an outing.
  • 113th in team passer rating at 103.5. 

The man that’s going to turn it all around next year, Drew Barker, completed only 47% of his passes for 317 yards and 1 touchdown during the final three games of the season.  Granted, he was pulled rather quickly against Vanderbilt and these reps are meant to be teaching moments, but those numbers don’t reveal to many positives to build upon.

Terrible passing stats don’t entirely fall on the shoulders of the offensive coordinator and the quarterback, but most of it does.  If this replicated at all in 2016, I don’t want to know the dire consequences.


Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

27 Comments for Kentucky’s Air Raid, A Statistical Beauty

  1. Pete
    9:36 pm December 5, 2015 Permalink

    What a joke. The only air in this raid is in the football.

  2. JaredCarterIsMyHomeboy
    9:50 pm December 5, 2015 Permalink

    I don’t guess drops are counted as an official stat are they? We’d be last in the nation there.

  3. kyjohn
    10:15 pm December 5, 2015 Permalink

    Statistics don’t lie,and they proves what most of us knew,UK was a bad football team this past season.And with most of the cast returning one can only expect more of the same next year.

  4. Long Dong Silver
    10:20 pm December 5, 2015 Permalink

    I’m sure am looking forward to 20 posts a day about shitty last season, until next August!

    • scorpiocard
      11:19 am December 6, 2015 Permalink

      Its uk football. There are only three kinds of posts. Preseason delusional unfounded optimism posts. Midseason uh oh what is happening not this again posts. And post season “shitty last season” posts. Wake up. Its a never ending cycle. Quite entertain I must say though.

    • KTower
      1:11 pm December 6, 2015 Permalink

      You must be hung over because you vocabulary is usually more impressive.

      Thanks for the post.

    • Long Dong Silver
      1:28 pm December 6, 2015 Permalink

      Well, my vocabulary must be waaaaay behind yours! That private schooling, and all. By the way, how’s the counseling going? Those Brothers shouldn’t have touched you so inappropriately.

  5. bosshogg24
    10:41 pm December 5, 2015 Permalink

    Those kind of stats will get most OC’s fired, both of Stoop’s hires have been failures!

  6. The Professor
    10:42 pm December 5, 2015 Permalink

    This mess lay at he feet of Stoops. He hired an inexperienced OC just like his DC and it shows on the field. We had nearly everyone back on offense and regressed tremendously. The only difference in this year’s team and 2014 was Dawson and the numbers are worse in nearly every category. So I blame Stoops for another obviously terrible hire.

  7. UKBlue1
    11:01 pm December 5, 2015 Permalink

    Not that I’m taking up for Stoops or Dawson, but those numbers don’t paint a total accurate picture. Dawson had the same problem that Neil Brown had, we didn’t/don’t have a strong enough Offensive Line that could block in order to give a QB enough time to run through his reads. The O line also wasn’t giving WR’s enough time to get open. The fact our OL was so bad, it required a RB some times more than 1 to stay back to help block on pass plays. The same goes for keeping a tight end in to help block instead of out as another passing option. In order to help buy time; this is also the main reason why our QB had to go out of the shotgun. Doing theses things also telegraphed to the defense that we were running a pass play allowing the defense to set up to defend the pass. The fact are WR’s were more than likely not going to catch the ball also deters the use of pass plays. The main difference between Dawson play calls verses Neil Brown, Neil had the QB’s run again because we didn’t have the OL that could protect.

    • MegatonRange
      11:24 pm December 5, 2015 Permalink

      Settle down there, UKBlue1, we can’t have reason or logic posted here. This site is for Internet tough-guys & brilliant football minds, all hidden away in Mom’s basement or drunk on the couch.

    • Long Dong Silver
      11:50 pm December 5, 2015 Permalink

      What about the internet football minds and brilliant tough guys?

    • Long Dong Silver
      12:25 am December 6, 2015 Permalink

      Or, internet guy minds & brilliant tough football?

    • huck
      1:01 am December 6, 2015 Permalink

      I have a hard time believing that Eastern, was bigger and stronger, all over the field, with more depth. I don’t know what the problem is, but lesser players beat them all over the field. Somehow it was common for our players to play way below their potential. JMO

  8. cats42301
    12:54 am December 6, 2015 Permalink

    Since Dawson didn’t call the plays at WVU and didn’t really have a proven track record, it is a travesty that the UK football team, program and season was pretty much used as a guinea pig to determine whether Dawson had what it took to be an OC in the SEC. As Matt and others said throughout the season, this team did not have any identity offensively. This offense in no way resembled an Air Raid philosophy. A major part of an air raid offense is to play up tempo, to not let the defense a chance to substitute players, to get them confused. Auburn, although not air raid, was a good example of playing up tempo in their game against us, they had us confused and in the wrong alignment on D several times because of the speed of their offensive execution. .Air raid philosophy is to normally attempt 50+ passes per game and running 75+ plus plays per game. Almost any fan who watched this team throughout the season could tell what play was coming next based on offense alignment. If us amateurs could tell, you know DC’s have no problem. A lot of the plays being called did not match the situation. Such as the attempted sideline deep pass attempt on 4th and 1 at Vandy. There were just too many play calls that left us all asking WTF. Stoops and Brown (Whom I believe left for Troy for more reasons than just because it was a head coaching position) in year 1 hat we just didn’t have the WR’s to be an air raid team.Whitlow and Smith just did not have the arm strength or consistency to throw the ball mid range/deep. So Stoops went and recruited some good, fast receivers and some (Bone, Baker) have some height and some (Badet, Johnson) are ultra fast and I just don’t think we are using them correctly. Any idiot knows if someone like Baker is being double/triple teamed and the D is playing man, that somebody is open. Towles and Barker both had multiple instances of missing wide open receivers and staring them down, a reason for a lot the INT’s Hardly ever did they scan the entire field, mostly due to poor protection. Our receiving corps is 100% better than year 1 but we just don’t seem to take advantage of their strengths, height, as in Baker and Bone, ultra speed, Badet and Johnson and others. How many times throughout the years have tall receivers killed UK because of being able to go up and catch passes over our short dbacks?.Other than the fade to Baker in the EKU game I haven’t seen many WR’s even have an opportunity to take advantage of height, like Bone and others. Towles threw many attempts to Baker but he dropped most..Other than Baker I don’t recall any attempts to take advantage of height, like Bone etc. I don’t remember any press really conferences where Dawson was really asked to explain his offense philosophy in depth, I only remember him giving excuses
    Over and over like the.”if it would have worked you all would be praising me” statements. Apparently Stoops is going to give Mr. Hehasagreatoffensivemind” another year which I do not understand why Stoops is willing to stand by a coach who was clearly in over his head I don’t know. I was always of the philosophy to cut your losses soon when you realize you have hired the wrong guy. Football or any college/pro sports is not a place where as a head coach you can let your personal feelings/friendships get
    in the way of doing what’s right for your team. I hope I am wrong but that’s exactly what Stoops is doing to me, keping Eliot, Dawson etc. because he doesn’t want It to affect their friendships. Well at least in December 2016 they’ll have the company of each other as they update their resumes.

    • cats42301
      12:57 am December 6, 2015 Permalink

      Sorry for the length of my comments, I had it edited down and saved on my laptop and I sent the wrong one!

    • FunkyMonkey
      10:39 am December 6, 2015 Permalink

      That was a really excellent correct analysis.

  9. Stopover
    12:54 am December 6, 2015 Permalink

    BBN leads the country in being bamboozled. Where has Cal’s dribble drive gone? For that matter what is his offensive or defensive philosophy?

  10. dean winchester
    1:00 am December 6, 2015 Permalink

    Im just shocked cats paw or rest of the story haven’t chimed in. Like death, taxes, and inflation….they can be counted on to be constant sources joy, optimism, and all around good times with all things uk football.

  11. Craig Sagers Suits
    1:17 am December 6, 2015 Permalink

    Those numbers are awful and were expected… by me. I’m pretty sure the Louisville Male High team would run roughshod all over this one. If they couldn’t, it’d be close, Male by 3.

  12. StevieGotLoose
    8:29 am December 6, 2015 Permalink

    You are a Towles man that is obvious. Barker may have been better had the pathetic coaching staff had the b***ls to play him earlier in the year. Especially after they said that the 2 were splitting reps 50/50 in practice. I do not trust any coach on this staff. We look like a high school team compared to every team we play. We all know the tale of how Barnhart called Rich Brooks about what coach he could talk to when he fired Morris after his second year. He wasn’t looking to hire Brooks, he was retired. Brooks volunteered to do it. Barnhart is clueless and I don’t trust him to ever make a decent hire in football. Don’t forget Billy Gillispie either.

  13. Bill the Cat
    9:09 am December 6, 2015 Permalink

    Sometimes a couple of basic plays can make a difference. Not enough swing passes getting RBs 1:1 against a LB, coulda put the TE up on the line and sent him down the middle seams…just two plays that I think would have kept the offense on the field a bit longer this year and may have translated into that elusive 6th win somewhere on the schedule. However, this year we kept the TE in the backfield blocking and the single set backfield formations didn’t allow the back to go out for the swing pass. ?????

    Would love to see our RBs going against a LB in open space or Conrad running past a MLB on a seam route. They are too talented to keep back there pass blocking.

  14. BBpaul
    9:32 am December 6, 2015 Permalink

    I believe the first thing to do is replace the “Air Raid” siren with the sound of a Submarine prior to diving.

  15. Loserville Hater
    10:11 am December 6, 2015 Permalink

    I’m not a Shannon Dawson fan, but fair is fair. No OC in America could have had much offense with receivers like Dorian Baker dropping passes, and that swiss cheese offensive line. Fix those problems and if we still don’t have an effective offense, I will be the first to call for Dawson’s job.

    • FunkyMonkey
      10:45 am December 6, 2015 Permalink

      if Baker can’t catch a pass then why do you play him?,…. sorry, but it back to coaching issues imo.

  16. Howdy Doody
    10:22 am December 6, 2015 Permalink

    Geeez…just let this loser season DIE. We have all next season to beat a dead horse…again…

  17. FunkyMonkey
    11:03 am December 6, 2015 Permalink

    This is a great article, shows exactly where we stand statistically as an Offense. Thank goodness Nick is keeping the heat on and bringing to light the problems. That is the only way you’re going to get change. There are a lot of us who care about football 12 months of the year and have true dedication to the program. Thanks Nick for showing exactly where we stand.