Kansas Youth Revisited: The Offensive Line

Last week I outlined the youth of the football team, relative to the rest of the conference.  While that portrait gives us a good overall view of the team's experience, the distribution of said experience is certainly important as well.  According to common wisdom, as well as this article from the Wall Street Journal,  experience on the offensive line can be a good indicator of success.  As per a suggestion from Owen, and In effort to find a silver lining in my findings from last week, I looked at how our o-line experience stacks up against the rest of the Big 12.  We look to start four juniors (Spikes, Hawkinson, Zlatnik, Marrongelli) and one senior (Hatch), meaning we should have one of the older, wiser o-lines in the conference, right?

I used the same formula here that I used in last week's article.  Each player gets assigned a number based on his class (4 for senior, 3 for junior, etc.).  I then take the average to determine the overall experience of the o-line, first for the starters only, then for all ten on the two-deep.  Here are the rankings for the starters...

1) Oklahoma State (3.8)
2) Missouri (3.8)
3) Texas Tech (3.6)
4) Baylor (3.2)
4) Oklahoma (3.2)
4) Kansas (3.2)
7) Kansas State (3.0)
8) Iowa State (2.8)
8) Texas (2.8)
10) Texas A&M (2.2)

We're in the middle of the pack.  I was a little disappointed to see that, but bear in mind that we're in the middle of the pack with only one senior, meaning next year is going be a tough, veteran group as well.  Next we turn to the experience of the o-line overall.  Before I show the raw data, I'll note that I came up with a complex formula that took into account the overall rating, while also rewarding teams for having older starters.  However, that measure just broke the ties in the list below and didn't alter the order, so I'm not using it (at least for this article).

1) Oklahoma State (3.3)
2) Texas Tech (3.0)
3) Missouri (2.8)
4) Baylor (2.8)
5) Kansas State (2.7)
6) Oklahoma (2.6)
7) Iowa State (2.6)
8) Kansas (2.5)
9) Texas (2.3)
10) Texas A&M (2.3)

Uh oh.  Right back near the bottom.  Oklahoma State's offense looks absolutely terrifying this year, doesn't it?  I guess the main positives to take from our numbers are 1) We have the benefit of an experienced line this year without having to lose a bunch of starters at the end of the season, and 2) The young guys pulling down the overall average now will get the benefit of having veteran players showing them the ropes, and easing them into their PT.  I guess no matter how you spin it, things don't look great for this year, but there's reason for optimism on the horizon.  Hopefully this year's o-line will stay intact and will live up to the expectations we had for them before last season started.  If they do, the offense may be poised to surprise some people come September.

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