UW's Offensive Line: A Critical and Thoughtful Analysis

It’s no secret that the best way to win a football game is to control the line of scrimmage.  Whether it is Oregon, Alabama, or Stanford, spread, pro, or power any offense’s success hinges on the skill of its offensive linemen.  Some out there have claimed that this topic has been beaten to death and others have watched a few spring practices and claim miraculous development without anything other than a wink and a “trust me”.  These same people are the ones who think that 4-5, 5-4, 5-4, 5-4 is incremental progress and that the special season is always next year (it’s only a year away!).

There is no reason to trust those that say “let it play out” or blindly close their eyes to the reality around them.  Husky fans deserve critical thoughtful discussion of every issue surrounding UW football. Let’s take an in-depth look into UW OL recruiting (04-13) versus the rest of the Pac12 OL recruiting (09-13).

 Offensive line recruiting comes down to two things; the number of players and the quality of the players. Measuring the quality of the player is obviously subject to opinion so I will not be using my own methodology, but Scout.com’s rankings system. Scout.com has developed an adjusted player score (APS) that allows one to score a players quality based on that player’s position rank, total number of players ranked at that position, and star ranking. This ranking system creates two scores, position points and star points. The star points are simple and detailed below.

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The position points awarded are more complicated, these are based on that player’s position ranking and the total number of players ranked that year by scout. The best way to understand is by example, let’s use new UW Center commit Dan Crane and WSU Center commit Carlos Freeman.

sam2.png

The position points are then added to the star points to give use the total recruit score.

Dan Crane star points (40) + Dan Crane position points (96) = Dan Crane total score (136).

Carlos Freeman star points (40) + Freeman position points (56) = Freeman total score (96).

This process was repeated for every single offensive lineman (OT, OG, C) that committed and signed to a Pac12 school from 2009 recruiting class to present (2013). These scores were then put together into class scores which were then added to total OL recruiting scores, shown in a graph below representing 2009-2013.

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As shown the UW offensive line recruiting from 2009 to 2013 places UW 8th in the Pac12 in total OL recruiting and significantly behind the top 1/3 schools of UCLA, Oregon, Stanford, and USC.

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Now that you have all the information to compare UW OL recruiting to its peers around the Pac12 let’s play everyone’s favorite game and compare UW under Sark (2009-2013) to the worst coach in UW history (Tyrone Willingham 2004-2008). Some may claim that UW sitting at 8th out of 12 in OL recruiting after 5 years isn’t all that bad or that UW (and likewise Sark) is on the right road to recovery.  Let’s take a look at UW OL recruiting from 2004 to present.

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It is obvious from all the data shown that there is no improvement or urgency when it comes to Offensive line recruiting at UW. Sark is recruiting at the same level as the worst coach in history, a coach who “hated recruiting” and alienated local recruits. Likewise those that claim there is a new urgency for the current staff when it comes to OL recruiting have ignored the previous 5 years and having nothing to offer but “let it play out” lines. It is apparent that any way you cut this, UW is and has recruited extremely poorly at the most important position in football. In order for UW to rise out of mediocrity into national relevance UW must improve its OL recruiting. Unfortunately Sark has made it clear that he does not value OL recruiting or is incapable of recruiting to the top half of the Pac12.

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