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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Breaking down Auburn's penalties from last year

In researching my story for today's paper about penalties, I catalogued all of Auburn's penalties last season -- all 97 of them, which resulted in 847 yards of penalties, the second most in the SEC.

Somehow, my total kept adding up to 851 yards when I typed everything out, so I've tacked on 4 yards to one of these penalties. But the numbers are close enough that I think they give you a good idea of where Auburn's penalty yardage came from:

Offense (46 penalties for 350 yards)
  • False start 18-90
  • Holding, offense 9-90
  • Illegal block 3-40
  • Delay of game 4-20
  • Personal foul, offense 2-30
  • Face mask 2-30
  • Illegal shift/motion 3-15
  • Illegal formation 2-10
  • Tripping 1-15
  • Ineligible downfield 1-5
  • Substitution infraction 1-5
Defense (41 penalties for 416 yards)
  • Personal foul, defense 7-105
  • Pass interference 10-94
  • Face mask, defense 7-89
  • Offsides 10-51
  • Roughing the passer 2-30
  • Unsportsmanlike conduct 2-30
  • Holding, defense 2-12
  • Sideline interference 1-5
Special teams (10 penalties for 85)
  • Holding 3-30
  • Illegal block 2-25
  • Delay of game 2-10
  • Roughing the kicker 1-10
  • Personal foul 1-5
  • Illegal formation 1-5
And here's Auburn's penalty breakdown by quarter:
  • 1st: 34
  • 2nd: 19
  • 3rd: 23
  • 4th: 20
  • OT: 1
Lastly, here are some other interesting facts I came across when breaking things down:
  • The Tigers committed nine penalties them that were declined.
  • LT Lee Ziemba and RT Andrew McCain tied for the team lead in false start penalties, with five apiece. That's not surprising, considering they're on the outside and it's hard to be in a stance like that and still hear the snap count.
  • What was interesting, though, was that Ziemba didn't have any holding calls against him. Now, there was one holding penalty against the offense that was not labeled, and Auburn had two unidentified holding penalties against the offense that were declined, so those might have been against Ziemba. But for all the flak he catches about procedure penalties, it's pretty remarkable how few holds he commits, especially at a position like left tackle.
  • Least penalized lineman? Center Ryan Pugh, who had one penalty, an illegal block against Tennessee that cost Auburn 15 yards.
  • The most penalized Auburn player? CB Walt McFadden, who drew six flags. Four were for pass interference, although I think I remember at least one of those being a borderline call.
  • Impressive stat: fellow CB Neiko Thorpe had only one pass interference penalty and two overall, getting hit with a holding call on another occasion.
  • I forgot that Chris Todd got a holding penalty last year. Makes you wonder how a quarterback gets a flag like that.
  • TE Tommy Trott had a few costly penalties but not as many as you would think. He had one false start, two holds and a face mask that came after an interception.
  • Who had the most personal foul/unsportsmanlike conduct fouls? Safety Zac Etheridge, who had three, although DE Michael Goggans would have had three if one wasn't negating for being an offsetting penalty.


Tar Heel Tiger said...

I bet you're throwing that yellow hanky at me ;-)

Andy Bitter said...

I was actually putting the post together when you commented on the previous one. No flags here.

Tar Heel Tiger said...

I love that kind of detailed statistical information. Did that come out of the secret book that you and JGT got that isn't available to AU fans?

Tar Heel Tiger said...

p.s. thanks so much for sharing it with us!!!

Andy Bitter said...

I actually went through the play-by-play online and wrote out all the penalties. That's why I'm 4 yards off somehow.

Tar Heel Tiger said...

holy cow! That's dedication! Or maybe it's a neurosis. I'm not sure.

Andy Bitter said...

I'd lean toward the latter.

Unknown said...

Very interesting stuff. Thanks Andy.

Anonymous said...

AB ...good stuff. These stats will both confirm and refute some of the notions regarding AU penalties.

michael said...

Andy, why do you think refs cheat so much against Auburn?

Andy Bitter said...

Ha! Probably because Auburn commits so many penalties.

Aubie said...

Great info! Penalties cost us a win or two last year.

Acid Reign said...

&nbsp &nbsp I've been trumpeting the same thing about Ziemba for some time. He dominates his guy. 5 false starts ain't that bad for a left tackle, especially if he's playing lock-down. On the other hand, McCain got flagged that many times also, and opened the gate at times.

&nbsp &nbsp Todd got his out of the Wildcat, most likely.

&nbsp &nbsp The way to quick-search a player's penalty yardage is to navigate to the Auburn football website, and go to "statistics." From there, you can control-click up a tab for each game's stat package. Hit control-f, and put the player's name in the search box. O-linemen aren't going to be on the page except in the participation report, and if they got flagged.

&nbsp &nbsp Those game stat pages are amazing entertainment for the hard-core Auburn fan. There's a game play-by-play for every game, dating all the way back to 1996. I've spent many a cold winter night going over a favorite game or two!