A Metric for Coach Pete
Rich Linde, January 22, 2014

Joe Nicholson/USA Today Sports (*)

This season's offensive line was much more stable than last season's; of the 65 possible starts in 2013, UW's five regular offensive linemen combined for 62 starts. All five linemen return next season. In this regard, I have thrown the challenge flag out on the recruiting field for Coach Chris Peterson.

See Adam Jude's article (The Seattle Times) on the outlook for the the Huskies' OL in 2014.

"It’s a great honor,” UW running back Bishop Sankey was quoted as saying, this in response to his record-setting season (Sankey pictured above). “I couldn’t have done it without my coaches this year, and also my linemen: Micah (Hatchie), Dexter (Charles), (Mike) Criste, Ben Riva, (Colin) Tanigawa. All those guys, I couldn’t have done it without them."

Considering Washington's prospects for its offensive line this upcoming season and its upgraded stadium and football facilities, is it too much to ask of coach Pete that he replace Sankey, who is headed to the NFL, with a four-star running back this recruiting season?

Corralling a four-star running back will be my measure for a successful recruiting season and will factor into my grade for the head coach as he comes on board -- as if anyone cared.

Touting UW's offensive line prospects for next season warrants devising a quantitative method of measuring its efficiency.

As an example, UW finished third in the Pac-12 in 2013 with respect to our hypothetical offensive line efficiency rating, which is undergoing development.

Computing a hypothetical per game offensive line efficiency

Our hypothetical measure is a function of a team's passing efficiency rating, its rushing yards per carry, its rushing touchdowns and its offensive line's penalty yards. That is,

OLE = PEO + YPC * X + RTO * Y - OLPY

Where PEO = pass-efficiency offense; YPC = yards per carry; x and y = normalizing numbers; RTO = rushing touchdowns offense; OLPY = offensive line penalty yards

For example, in UW's 2013 game against UCLA, which UW lost 41-31, the Bruins dominated the offensive line of scrimmage, 233.52 to 155.24, i.e.,

UW Offensive line efficiency = 146.55 + 2.8*20.57 + 1*5.09 - 54 = 155.24

UCLA Offensive line efficiency = 156.77 + 4.2*20.57 + 4*5.09 - 30 = 233.52

(*) The normalizing numbers X=20.57 and Y=5.09 were chosen so that YPC plus RTO would be equivalent to a Passing Efficiency Rating of 100. X and Y are the averages for the Pac-12 stats involving YPC (X = 90/4.375) and RTO (Y = 10/1.96) for the 2013 season. The numbers 90 and 10 were chosen so that YPC would have more weight in the computation than RTO; the numbers 4.375 and 1.96 are the Pac-12 averages for YPC and RTO. To guard against a meaningless rating resulting from a limited number of carries, the normalizing number x needs to be restricted. For one, if the number of carries is less than z then set x=1, with the value of z yet to be determined. Alternatively, the value of the factor ypc * x could be controlled in a similar way to the limits placed on the NFL's passer rating computation.

More specifically, the equation for OLE is a function of 8 variables and 2 constants:

  • Pass attempts (PA)

  • Pass completions (PC)

  • Yards passing (TY)

  • Number of passing touchdowns (TD)

  • Number of interceptions (I)

  • Yards per carry (YPC; sack yardage figures into the calculation)

  • Rushing touchdowns offense (RTO)

  • Offensive line penalty yards. (OLPY)

  • The values for x and y (Pac-12 averages for the 2013 season)

The complete equation is as follows:

OLE = (TY*8.4+PC*100+TD*330-I*200)/PA + YPC * X + RTO * Y - OLPY

Note that this hypothetical computation correlates with UW's won/lost record (9-4) for the 2013 season, with UW dominating the statistic in its 9 wins and losing the stat in its 4 losses.

Just a thought.

2013 OL Efficiency Ratings in the Pac-12 through all games played (computed 23% of penalty yards, i.e., 5/22).

Team   Passing YPC Rush TD P Yds   OLE   Record
Oregon   164.9 6.3 3.23 15.95   300.87   11-2
Stanford   151.8 5 2.14 10.07   255.49   11-3
Washington   150.3 5.1 2.69 16.30   252.62   9-4
Arizona   126.1 5.3 2.77 8.36   240.86   8-5
UCLA   154.1 4.5 2.77 16.61   244.15   10-3
USC   145.3 4.5 2.23 13.16   236.07   9-4
Arizona State   139.7 4.4 2.57 6.64   236.66   10-4
Utah   121.9 4.1 1.58 10.27   204.03   5-7
Oregon State   146.1 3.5 1.15 11.50   212.47   7-6
Colorado   127.8 3.4 0.83 8.73   193.26   4-8
California   120 3.5 0.83 15.36   180.88   1-11
Washington State   124.7 2.9 0.77 10.98   177.29   6-7
Averages     4.375 1.96          
90/YPC avg; 10/RT avg.   20.57 5.09          

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Richard Linde can be reached at malamute@4malamute.com

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