Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Thesis


College sports; College sports; Football--Coaching; Football--Offense; Football--Scouting;


The popularity of college football is indisputable. In 1987, over 350 million people attended NCAA football contests which pushed the three year attendance figure from 1985 to 1987 to over one billion. Because of this popularity, however, intense pressure to win has been placed on players, coaches and administrators. To confound the problem, offenses have grown in complexity since the early years of college football. To assist teams in preparing for upcoming opponents, coaching staffs view films of the opponent's previous games. The coaches gather information from the films and develop tendencies in hopes that the upcoming opponent will repeat these tendencies. This study analyzed the effectiveness of these previous tendencies toward future play selections. Eight opponents of the University of Northern Iowa were tested using the chi-square statistical method for goodness of fit. The study tested goodness of fit between previous and current run/pass proportions given four situational factors: opponent; down and distance; field position; and hash mark. If offenses followed previous tendencies, scouting would be a worthwhile endeavor for coaching staffs. If not, scouting and tendency development is an inefficient way for coaches to spend their limited time. The results of the study overwhelmingly support the use of tendency development. All four situational factors provided a better than 50-50 chance of repeated run/pass proportions. Specifically, the best predictors include the right hash mark, the down and distances of second and long and second and medium, and the field positions of the -26 to the -49 yard lines, the SO to the +30 yard lines, the +29 to the +6 yard lines, and the +S to the +1 yard lines.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts


School of Health, Physical Education, and Leisure Services

First Advisor

Nancy P. Hamilton

Second Advisor

Larry D. Hensley

Third Advisor

Iradge Ahrabi-Fard


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Date Original


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1 PDF file (60 leaves)



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