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UK Front Seven’s Tackles for Loss and QB Sacks

Is there a direct correlation between accumulated tackles for loss and wins? How about QB sacks? Kentucky finished 12th in the SEC with 63 tackles for loss which is six lower than its 2016 total (69). Noticeably, the Cats increased its QB sack total from 21 in 2016 to 30 in 2017. This post will address the front seven. Secondary analysis to follow.

Let’s take a look at the data: 

Opponent

Tackles for Loss

QB Sacks

@Southern Miss

8

2

EKU

3

1

@South Carolina

3

2

Florida

4

1

Eastern Michigan

7

5

Missouri

2

1

@Miss State

3

0

Tennessee

12

7

Ole Miss

7

3

@Vanderbilt

6

5

@Georgia

1

1

Louisville

2

0

Northwestern

5

2

(*Bold=Win)

Average Number of TFL’s per Win/Loss

-Wins: 5.85 tackles for loss per win. 

-Losses: 3.66 per loss.

Average Number of QB Sacks per Win/Loss

-Wins: 3.2 QB sacks per win.

-Loss: 1.16 per loss.

 

Kentucky averaged 2.19 more tackles for loss in victories than in losses. It also totaled 2.04 more quarterback sacks in wins. So, both categories greatly factor in the Win/Loss category. The Cats had its most explosive conference games against Vanderbilt and Tennessee. Its lowest defensive explosive play contests occurred in UK’s worst two losses vs. Georgia and Louisville.

All SEC outside linebacker Josh Allen was constantly fighting double-teams and sliding protections during certain-pass downs. With a defensive line that at times struggled, the X factor for Matt House’s unit was the Jack Linebacker position (Denzil Ware/Josh Paschal).  It must be noted that Denzil Ware was an all-conference performer and was twice named the SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week and Josh Paschal is a rising star within the Southeastern Conference. The duo’s numbers in UK’s two games with the highest TFL/QB sack production were elevated. The two combined for 3 QB sacks and 3 TFL’s vs. Vanderbilt. Earlier in the season they racked up 2.5 TFL and 1.5 QB sacks against Tennessee. Conversely, Ware/Paschal recorded zero tackles for loss and zero quarterback sacks in Kentucky’s lowest two explosive-statistical performances against Georgia and Louisville. These numbers (both positive and negative) are by no means solely on Josh Paschal and Denzil Ware. 2018 could see significant statistical increases and consistencies for both players but they will need a drastic improvement from their line-of-scrimmage mates.

Linebacker Totals (Returning Players)

Name

Position

Tackles for Loss

QB Sacks

Denzil Ware

OLB (Jack)

9

6.5

Josh Paschal

OLB (Jack)

4.5

3.5

Josh Allen

OLB

9.5

7

Jordan Jones

SLB

7.5

2

Boogie Watson

LB 

2

2

Eli Brown

SLB

2

0

UK failed to establish a consistent, disruptive pressure from its interior defensive linemen which significantly lessens edge defender’s efficiency. Kentucky has to become more troublesome for opposing offensive lines from its organic three defensive linemen within the 3-4 scheme. A healthy and year older Quinton Bohanna can be an answer. He could potentially receive help from true freshman Marquan McCall. Other than Bohanna, the nose tackle position failed to meet expectation in 2017 and was at times a liability. Defensive ends TJ Carter, Kengera Daniel, and Calvin Taylor Jr. must increase the position’s explosive numbers and beyond line-of-scrimmage disorder. Defensive tackle Adrian Middleton is now a senior. Mark Stoops needs him to produce as such. Kordell Looney showed flashes in his first season and should benefit from experience. Rising senior Tymere Dubose played his best game as a Wildcat in the Music City Bowl. Dubose has all the tools to star. If he does or not lies squarely on his shoulders.

Defensive Line Totals (Returning Players)

Name

Position

Tackles for Loss

QB Sacks

Adrian Middleton

DT

3

1

TJ Carter

DE

3

3

Calvin Taylor

DE

1

1

Kengera Daniel

DE

1

1

Tymere Dubose

DT

1.5

0

Kordell Looney

DT

1

0

Regardless of the how and by whom; the Kentucky defense must figure out a way to increase its tackles for loss totals and continue to rise in its number of QB sacks. Much of the blame for UK’s 13th place pass defense was laid at the feet of its secondary. A portion of that was warranted and will be addressed at a later time. However, the truth of the matter is that pass defense is an 11-man operation. With 10/11 defensive starters returning; it’s mandatory that the front seven improve in these two statistical categories.

Article written by Freddie Maggard

Former University of Kentucky Quarterback and Andy Griffith Fan Club President

9 Comments for UK Front Seven’s Tackles for Loss and QB Sacks



  1. shelby
    6:22 pm January 24, 2018 Permalink

    Our DL has been, at least in my opinion, the weakest link on this team for quite a while. Seems like we never get penetration from our bigs up front … only off the edge.



    • Luether
      8:38 pm January 24, 2018 Permalink

      Agree. Unless and until Ky recruits more SEC caliber linemen and linebackers, this weak link will continue…



    • Rembrandt
      9:53 pm January 24, 2018 Permalink

      Until we can get a real pass rush against SEC opponents, we will not close the gap. A lot of this falls on Middleton, Looney, and our defensive ends. It can’t always be the linebackers.



  2. Marc
    6:51 pm January 24, 2018 Permalink

    Nice breakdown. It would be interesting to see stats on QB hurries and knock-downs. Data I have seen in fantasy football shows that a quarterbacks completion percentage declines directly with the number of QB hurries. The sack is an impact play but hurries is really the secret to defending the passing game.



  3. Smyrna_Cat
    8:09 pm January 24, 2018 Permalink

    It would seem, on average, we had more tackles for losses against bad teams, and less against good teams.

    I suggest we play more bad teams.



  4. apocalypse
    7:39 am January 25, 2018 Permalink

    Our defense has been an issue for years and years. When was the last time we actually had a solid defense that we could count on to get some stops, early 80’s?
    It doesn’t help that our secondary, even loaded with experience, cannot cover anyone. I’ve never seen so many open receivers running through a secondary. Just lock them up man to man and send 7 rushers, it’s not like the receivers wont be any more open.



    • Rembrandt
      9:15 am January 25, 2018 Permalink

      To answer your question, the last time UK had a “solid defense” was 2008. Our 2008 defense had Jeremy Jarmon, Corey Peters, Myron Pryor, Micah Johnson, Braxton Kelley, Sam Maxwell, Danny Trevathan, Marcus McClinton, David Jones, Winston Guy, and Trevard Lindley.

      If you look at roster construction as a building process, criticisms of our defense at this point have been a little bit overblown. Maggard presented stats showing a gradual improvement in areas of play that must continue to improve. Ten starters and most key backups are returning. That’s huge. Our secondary is more talented than they get credit for. You say they “can’t cover anyone”, but you are overlooking the reason. You could make any secondary in the country look bad if there is no pass rush. If Alabama didn’t have a pass rush, I guarantee Saban’s secondary would look bad at times. Our defense will continue to improve. A better pass rush will do wonders. Paschal, Carter, Bohanna, Whittaker, McCall, and Hawkins are interesting young players. Allen is back. 2018 could be a breakthrough.



    • shelby
      9:43 am January 25, 2018 Permalink

      Our defense was MUCH better when stoops made the calls in 2016 as opposed to 2017 when he turned it over to House.



  5. Glenn Fohr
    8:54 am January 25, 2018 Permalink

    Until we change to a 4-3 scheme, things are not going to get better. in the 3-4 we are always outnumbered at the point of attack and we always lineup three yards off the ball. Allen would be better not put in space all the time. Pascal is a true 4-3 DE. Ware is a true outside linebacker.