I am going through the seven stages of grief after DEBACLE (not that DEBACLE). I am somewhere between the stage three and four and trying real hard to make sense of it all.
One of the common excuse for our poor performance has been that our offensive line is so young that we should have expected (historically) bad performance out of them.
But is our offensive line REALLY that young? I have yet to see anyone quantify exactly how young our offensive line is compared to other top programs. So, I figured I'd do it myself, thinking that it will help me through my grieving process...
It just ended up making it worse.
I looked at the offensive line depth (from Rival) of every team in AP Top 25 and noted how young/old they are. I then assigned point values - one for frosh, 1.5 for redshirt frosh, 2 for sophomore, 2.5 for redshirt sophomore, and so on. Using this method, Michigan boasts an average line experience of 2.8. How does that compare to other schools?
Here is the complete list of Top 25 schools with 3 or less experience value.
|Texas A&M||OT||Jake Matthews||JR||3||2.7|
|Texas A&M||OT||Cedric Ogbuehi||RJR||3.5|
|Texas A&M||OG||Jarvis Harrison||RJR||3.5|
|Texas A&M||OG||Germain Ifedi||RFR||1.5|
|Texas A&M||C||Mike Matthews||SO||2|
As you can see above, there are 9 teams in top 25 with 3 years or less average experience. A few, including LSU and UCLA have offensive line that is SIGNIFICANTLY younger than Michigan. Amazingly, even with those very young offensive line with freshmen and sophomores, they have managed not to have historically bad offenses with competent rushing attack.
Based on this data, I think blaming our offensive line woes just on experience is not correct. It does not help, but lack of experience does not automatically mean that they will bad. When you have two NFL tackles, you should be able to perform at least average, if not better.