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March 2006

March 2006

10 Impact Stats to Build a High Scoring Machine #3 Scoring Offense

by: AFM Editorial Staff
© March 2006

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In its most simplistic terms, Scoring Offense is probably the most basic of all football statistics. After all, the team that scores the most points generally wins the game. And, as former NY Jets-now Kansas City Chiefs coach Herman Edwards put it so eloquently… “We play to win the game.”

With a potent offense, good things generally happen. Texas was the highest scoring team in the country – through all colleges among I-A, I-AA, II and III as well as NAIA programs – and the only team to average over 50 points a game. In the process, the Longhorns finished 13-0 and won the National Championship.

For putting together the Texas offense, Offensive Coordinator Greg Davis won the 10th annual Frank Broyles award, given to the nation’s top NCAA Division I assistant coach. The Longhorns became just the fifth team in NCAA history to average more than 50 points a game and scored 40 or more points in 12 of 13 games. No other D I-A college broke the 40-point mark more than nine times.

Success followed, as well, with the other divisional leaders in Scoring Offense:

• Division I-AA: Grambling: averaged 44 ppg and finished 11-1

• Division II: South Dakota: averaged 49.7 ppg and finished 9-2

• Division III: Linfield: averaged 47 ppg and finished 10-1

• NAIA: Morningside College averaged 42.3 ppg and finished 12-1

The University of San Diego completed a 11-1 season, averaging 43 point a game. “It’s obvious that you have to score more than your opponent but it’s more than that,” commented former NFL quarterback Jim Harbaugh and head coach at USD. “You need the mindset that you can score on every or any play.

“While I believe turnover ratio to be a very important statistic, of equal importance is third down conversions. Being successful at it, it sets the base for your offense and you can open up to do other things. You also have to coordinate your offense so that it mirrors the skills and abilities of your quarterback. You ideally want a quarterback with all the tools to direct your offense – arm strength, mobility, poise, the ability to read defenses – but you may be limited in what he can do.

“Look at what the Broncos did this past season with Jake Plummer. They took advantage of his skills and what he does best and didn’t ask him to do the things he couldn’t do. His quarterback rating went up, his interceptions dropped and the Broncos had an outstanding year.

“We also believe it’s important to practice scoring; that is, finish each play in practice in the end zone. Backs and receivers should finish each play as its designed to be – a touchdown. We practice that daily and with our back-ups as well.”

Steve Ryan, head coach at Morningside College in Sioux City, IA agrees with Harbaugh. “We don’t look at Scoring Offense per se but, philosophically, focus on the process and not the result. It relates to how well we’re executing and great things happen when you execute. It’s really a two-step process – turnover’s happen and you try to create big plays which create points.”

Morningside’s potent offense averaged over 42 ppg. “We take on the attitude that we’re going to score every time,” says Ryan. Making a few first downs is not good enough. We need to be in the end zone every time we have the ball. We try to add something to our offense each week. Every play is meant to score a touchdown and our offensive calls are such to make big plays.”

The result: a high-powered offense that results in a lot of points.

In April, AFM continues it’s 10-part series by breaking down each of the top ten statistical categories in building a championship team. The March subject: Rushing Defense. To view the original article on ’10 Impact Stats to Build a Championship Team’ that appeared in the July issue of AFM, log onto


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