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Mashing Spuds & Catching Crabs

Husky Stadium, Seattle, Washington. The following grades the University of Washington's effort position by position for its second game of the 2016 season, this against the Idaho Vandals. UW (2-0) won the game 59-14.

QB Jake Browning and his talented receiving corps were outstanding. The Husky defense came to play. Special teams were superb. The coaches were at their best.

However ...

In my mind, it was a bittersweet victory: the running game needs to improve before Pac-12 play. If it doesn't post better numbers, the Dawgs who are number 8 in the AP poll will relinquish their lofty ranking and, on an offday, catch a crab in the Montlake cut on their way to the shell house to pay homage to the "Boys in the Boat."

Click on this link for the statistics "Stats Idaho Game

Quarterback; Grade A  -- True sophomore Jake Browning completed 23 of 28  passes for 294 yards and five touchdowns. With 16 seconds off the clock in the first quarter, he hit Dante Pettis with a 21-yard touchdown pass, capitalizing on a special teams recovery of an Idaho fumble on the opening kickoff.

Browning's pass efficiency on the day was a super sensational 229.3, and is 207.6 on the season (second best in the nation). Jake's five TD passes ties a Husky record. Following the first drive of the third quarter, he was replaced by J. K. Carte-Samuels, who was 4 for 5 for 62 yards and one TD pass.
Offensive Line
; Grade B: The Huskies' Offensive Line Efficiency rating was 340.42 compared to Vandals' 174.06. Whoever wins this stat usually wins the game. The OL is the most important positional unit on the team, which is why this stat tracks with wins and losses. (See the calculation below).

The Huskies posted 126 yards rushing, averaging 4.2 yards per carry. Needless to say, the running game needs improvement before the start of conference play.

Pass Receivers: Grade A: 356 yards passing, 13.2 yards per completion, with a mix of 10 different receivers, proved more than adequate.

Ball Carriers; Grade B: 126 yards rushing, averaging 4.2 yards per carry, won't cut the mustard in league play.

Special Teams: Grade A: Tristan Vizcaino kicked off eight times, averaging 64.1 yards per kickoff, with five touchbacks. He averaged 49.5 yards on 2 punts. Cameron Van Winkle booted a 34-yard field-goal; he posted one touchback on his 2 kickoffs.. Special teams recovered a fumble on its opening kickoff.

Defense; Grade A:
The defense yielded 322 total yards, most of it coming when the game was out of reach and undergoing statistical machinations; its defensive passing efficiency rating of 112.14 was more than adequate..

Coaching; Grade A: From Macbeth, William Shakespeare:

"So well thy words become thee as thy wounds;
They smack of honor both. Go get him surgeons."

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, its third-down conversions; its number of offensive plays; its offensive line's penalty yards and its sacks allowed. That is,

OLE = PEO + YPC * X + RT * Y + TDC * NOP - OLPY - 5 * SA

Where PEO = pass-efficiency offense; YPC = yards per carry; x and y = normalizing numbers; RT = rushing touchdowns; TDC = third-down conversions; NOP = number of offensive plays; OLPY = offensive line penalty yards; SA = Sacks Allowed

In the game against the Spuds, the OLE's were:

UW Offensive line efficiency = 232.44 + 4.2 *20.57 + 1*5.09 + 63 * 5/10 - 5 - 5 * 2 = 340.424

Idaho's Offensive line efficiency = 112.14 + 2.7*20.57 + 1*5.09 + 76* 7/17 - 10 - 5 * 4 =  174.06

(*) 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 yuck * 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 12 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)

  • Third-down conversions (TDC)

  • Number of offensive plays (NOP)

  • 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 + TDC * NOP - 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.



Richard Linde can be reached at richardrlinde@gmail.com

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