Fumble Recoveries Are Luck, Get Over It

This post refers to mgoblog.com

Brian Cook on fumble recovery rates:

Look at those Alabama numbers, which stretch back to a time when they were run by incompetents. Now they’re run by Nick Saban, collector of all first round draft picks and ruthless destroyer of offense. Saban’s arrival has coincided with Alabama’s fumble recovery rate going… nowhere, maybe getting a tiny bit worse. If coaching had a significant impact on fumble recovery rates, wouldn’t Alabama be a perfect case study?

I think that coaches think they have an impact here, but the things they do are all the same things: run to the ball and be alert. There’s no technique and no strategy, so the impact they can have in this department is limited. Therefore Michigan’s recovery rate last year was an anomaly and we should not expect it to repeat, or even expect it to be significantly above the 50.3% national rate.

If you aren’t a Michigan fan, let me explain, Michigan had a ridiculously successful fumble recovery rate last season, and the diehards are insistent that this is based on coaching and skill and not luck. The problem is that anyone who has analyzed this extensively says the exact opposite, fumble recoveries are mostly luck.

When you stop and think about this, it makes plenty of sense. A football is not round and therefore it’s very difficult to predict where it’s going to bounce or roll. Sure having more guys near the ball when it happens improves your chances slightly, but not to the degree which Michigan succeeded at last year.

Even watching a game live you can see with your own eyes that most of the time fumble recoveries appear to just happen, as opposed to being a guy who got setup perfect for where the ball was going to go.