Penn State Football

How do advanced statistics impact Penn State?

At his Tuesday press conference, James Franklin brought up Bill Connelly’s S&P+ ratings, a metric that ranks Penn State 11th in the country based on explosiveness, efficiency, field position, finishing drives and turnover margin.

Franklin expanded on his staff’s use of advanced statistics.

“I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s been a driving factor in decision-making, but I think all these analytic companies have done a really good job of being able to put some metrics on some things,” Franklin said. “Whereas in the past it was a gut feeling, now you can really go and check where you’re at.”

Franklin noted that Penn State director of football operations Michael Hazel is “an inquisitive guy” and his staff brought in analytic minds over the offseason.

Still, the coach isn’t going to abide by everything the resources suggest.

“For us, it’s just another piece of information that you use. We like it. We value it. But we’re not one of these people that are going to follow it to a ‘T,’” Franklin said. “Because if you go with those people, you’re supposed to go for it every single time on 4th-and-1 … And if it doesn’t work out, it’s not like I can come in and say, ‘Well, the analytics company said it was the right decision.’ People aren’t going to want to hear that.”