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"Stats Are for Losers?": Syracuse's Tim Lester Big on Statistics While Installing New Offense

Tim Lester's emphasizing stats... we bring up an old quote.

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"Stats are for losers," said Scott Shafer nearly six years ago. And since then, much has changed... including his job title at Syracuse University. We only bring this up because people like to harp on that quote, and it seemed relevant today given:

Offensive Coordinator Tim Lester's emphasizing statistics while installing his new scheme

It's a lengthy collection of quotes from the former college QB, who is now utilizing efficiency metrics, turnover ratios and more to inform every element of the install.

According to the piece, he's targeting the touchdown-to-turnover ratio, in particular, believing it correlates most directly to team success. He states the goal is to be at "plus-2" every game there -- which I'll assume is 3-to-1? Last year's was nearly 1-to-1 (22 TDs to 21 turnovers), which is... obviously bad. He's also pushing yards-per-carry and completion percentage (80-percent on easy throws, 50 percent on tough throws) as other key categories.

Overall, the article gets to bits and pieces of what we're doing with the install and statistics, but there's a decent amount of coach-speak and other anecdotes in there that make it hard to truly pin down exactly to what extent and effectiveness Lester's using these stats. Some of the big ones:

"Because, for Lester, numbers are the key. They still amaze him from time to time, like when he toured the engineering school with a recruit and watched a video in which a class drew a line down a cinder block, placed a heavy weight over the block and watched as the cracked followed that line exactly."

Am I the only one not following THIS line exactly?

"He isn't a gambler but plays blackjack on his family's annual trip to Las Vegas because there's always a statistically correct decision."

So, counting cards? That'll get you tossed out of a lot of Vegas casinos...

"I'm going to put my money on 51 percent every single time, because I know in the end, it'll work. I've just got to get guys believe it."

Ummm... doesn't that mean it WON'T work 49 percent of the time?


You unsure what to think, exactly, after reading Lester's comments. But it does appear that there's a methodology behind this install and an emphasis around key elements that should help Syracuse's deplorable offense rebound this fall (like fixing last year's inexplicable cadence situation).

But seriously, don't play cards with Lester in Vegas. It will end poorly.