The offseason is a good time to step back and take a look at the bigger picture.
Which Big 12 teams are efficient on offense and defense, excel on third down and consistently create turnovers? Those are just a few of the questions we'll aim to answer during this weekly offseason series. In this series we're looking to expose the programs that build themselves upon certain long-term traits as opposed to riding one or two elite players to short-term excellence.
Today, we continue the series by looking at opponent yards per drop back (passing yards and scramble yards minus sack yards per drop back) to get a glimpse at the Big 12's most efficient pass defenses. (All stats are in Big 12 games only since TCU and West Virginia joined the conference in 2012 via ESPN Stats & Information.)
1. Texas, 5.85: The Longhorns lead the way thanks in part to 112 sacks during this span. The secondary takes advantage of the constant pressure on opposing quarterbacks allowing a Big 12-low 47 passing touchdowns while grabbing 35 interceptions. Don't expect Texas to give up the top spot easily over the next few years with budding stars in the secondary like Davante Davis and Holton Hill to build around.
2. Oklahoma, 5.9: Opponents managed a 32.4 QBR against Oklahoma, the lowest in the Big 12. And while Texas recorded the highest number of sacks, the Sooners got pressure on the quarterback 22.2 percent of opponents' drop backs to lead the Big 12.
3. TCU, 6.29: The Horned Frogs had 49 interceptions during this span to lead the conference. TCU's 179 total blitzes was the lowest total in the Big 12 yet the Horned Frogs allowed the lowest completion percentage (51.7). Gary Patterson's defense doesn't count on overwhelming blocking schemes, instead leaning on stellar covermen like Jason Verrett and Kevin White along with quality pass rushing defensive ends.
4. Oklahoma State, 6.33: The Cowboys faced a Big 12-high 1,592 total drop backs during the past four seasons. Oklahoma State managed a Big 12-best 488 hits on the quarterback but the loss of Emmanuel Ogbah, who had a conference-best 21.5 sacks during the span, will be difficult for Oklahoma State to overcome.
5. Kansas State, 6.36: The Wildcats recorded 88 sacks, ranking third in the Big 12, and managed 47 interceptions, ranking second in the Big 12, to land a spot in the top half of the league. With Randall Evans (27) and Ryan Mueller (25) K-State featured a pair of defenders in the top 10 of disrupted drop backs (sack/interception/batted pass) during this span.
6. Baylor, 6.61: The Bears did a good job getting into the offensive backfield -- creating pressure on 21.6 percent of opponent drop backs -- and managed to hit the quarterback 461 times, which ranked second in the Big 12. Teams tried to test Baylor deep, averaging 10.67 air yards per attempt, which was second-highest in the conference.
7. Texas Tech, 7.06: The Red Raiders had a Big 12-low 27 interceptions and managed just 61 sacks, which ranked seventh in the conference. Opponents tended to try to test Tech's secondary with deeper throws, averaging 10.74 air yards per attempt, which was the highest average in the Big 12 during this span.
8. West Virginia, 7.24: It's been a different story under defensive coordinator Tony Gibson with West Virginia ranking third in the Big 12 in yards per drop back at 6.08 since Gibson took over two seasons ago. The Mountaineers have blitzed 241 times -- nearly 40 times more than second-highest Texas' 203 during the past two years --a clear sign of Gibson's aggressive style.
9. Iowa State, 7.33: The inability to get pressure on the quarterback was a major problem under Paul Rhoads. Iowa State pressured the quarterback 12.4 percent of the time and recorded 53 sacks, ranking last in the Big 12 in both categories during this span.
10. Kansas, 7.56: The Jayhawks had an aggressive approach, blitzing on 26.7 percent of drop backs, ranking fourth in the conference, yet still ranked ninth in actual pressure on the quarterback with a 14.2 pressure percentage.