A hypothetical OL efficiency rating

Since the offensive line is arguably the most important positional unit on a team, a way of measuring its performance efficiency is needed. (Photo: golfing in Lanai, 1987, Lodge at Koele).

Otherwise, as they say, the quarterback gets too much credit for winning and too much blame for losing.

Case in point

For instance, UW quarterback Keith Price's passing efficiency took a nose dive in 2012 compared to his efficiency rating in 2011, falling to 122.42 (80th in FBS in 2012) from 161.93 (7th in FBS in 2011). He was all too ready to shoulder much of the blame for the Huskies' losses last season.

Due to injuries and inexperience on the OL, Price played behind 6 different versions of the OL in 2012.

This year's offensive line was much more stable; as a consequence, Price's PE was 153.3, second best in the conference. Of the 65 possible starts in 2013, UW's five regular offensive linemen combined for 62 starts.

Also, UW running back Bishop Sankey rushed the ball better than the year before, when he averaged 110.7 yards per game.

"It’s a great honor,” Sankey was quoted as saying, this in response to his record-setting season. “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."

Sankey averaged 143.8 yards per game (5.7 yards per carry; 327 carries), finishing second best in the Pac-12.

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 + RT * Y - OLPY - 5 * SA

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

For example, in UW's 2013 game against UCLA, which UW lost 41-31, the Bruins dominated the offensive line of scrimmage, 223.52 to 135.24, i.e.,

UW Offensive line efficiency = 146.55 + 2.8*20.57 + 1*5.09 - 54 - 5 * 4 = 135.24

UCLA Offensive line efficiency = 156.77 + 4.2*20.57 + 4*5.09 - 30 - 5 * 2 =  223.52

(*) The normalizing numbers X=20.57 and Y=5.09 were chosen so that YPC plus RT 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 RT (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 RT; the numbers 4.375 and 1.96 are the Pac-12 averages for YPC and RT. 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 10 metrics:

  • 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 (RT)

  • Offensive line penalty yards. (OLPY)

  • Sacks allowed (SA)

  • 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 + RT * Y - OLPY - 5 * SA

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          

 

 

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

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