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What to the Advanced Stats Say About John Donovan's Offenses?

Updated: Jan 17, 2020

Washington Football has a new Offensive Coordinator in John Donovan. How have his past offenses fared?

Washington's 2019 offense struggled despite talent, an experienced offensive line, and a blue-chip transfer quarterback, Jacob Eason. The Huskies parted ways with previous offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Bush Hamdan to search for someone who could inject new energy into its offense. Head coach Jimmy Lake settled on John Donovan, whom has served the last four years as an assistant coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

While Donovan did not have play duties for the Jaguars he served as an offensive coordinator in college for two teams: Penn State (2014-2015) and Vanderbilt (2011-2013). The results are mixed. Below you will find how the advanced stats from Beta_Rank and S&P+ rated Josh Donovan's offenses nationally during his time calling plays in college. Note, there are 128 FBS college football programs.

Penn State 2015 Beta_Rank Total Offense: 65th | Rushing: 62nd | Passing 51st

S&P+ Total Offense: 71st | Rushing: 40th | Passing 64th

Penn State 2014 Beta_Rank Total Offense: 108th | Rushing 111th | Passing 87th S&P+ Total Offense: 110th | Rushing: 115th | Passing 85th

Vanderbilt 2013

Beta_Rank Total Offense: 70th | Rushing 65th | Passing: 57th

S&P+ Total Offense: 65th | Rushing: 93rd | Passing: 77th

Vanderbilt 2012

Beta_Rank Total Offense: 53rd | Rushing 51st | Passing 51st

S&P+ Total Offense: 70th | Rushing: 100th | Passing 51st

Vanderbilt 2011

S&P+ Total Offense: 64th | Rushing: 22nd | Passing 60th

*Beta_Rank data dates back to 2012

It's important to note that offensive productivity depends on both scheme and talent. To this end, Vanderbilt doesn't pull the top players in the SEC. Additionally, Donovan was hired at Penn State in the midst of a 4-year bowl ban and during a difficult time to recruit due to the cloud that hung over the program resulting from the sexual abuse scandal. Still, one can see why the enthusiasm among Washington fans is tepid. This was not the splashy acquisition of a proven coordinator that many expected. But you never know, only time will tell whether or not this was a good hire.

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