The march through the 2014 college football season is on the downhill side (say it ain't so!) and many of the experts are getting ready to pick their all-conference teams. The mid-season picks are already in the books and one choice to include a certain "bottom-heavy" guard had us wondering...how do you select all-conference offensive linemen?
For most positions, statistics can tell you who is the best. Backs and receivers have yards, touchdowns, and highlight plays. Defenders can count tackles, sacks, and interceptions. Offensive lineman are different. They usually only get noticed when they mess up. In order to avoid that they must:
- Stand in between a large, angry man and their quarterback long enough that said quarterback has time to throw a pass.
- Push back large, angry men in a synchronized fashion such that the smallest person on their team can carry the ball past the large, angry men unscathed.
Beyond deciding who is the most, ummm, obstructionist of all, ranking linemen involves a very rigorous set of criteria. We were lucky enough to obtain the top-secret worksheet that sheds light on this mysterious process.
We also found out there is also something known as the Gregory scale. This can only be used to evaluate 11-ish o-lines per year, but is quickly working its way into the advanced stats lore despite the small sample size.
1 Gregory: lineman is directly responsible for giving up a hit that resulted in the quarterback questioning the very purpose and meaning of life
2 Gregorys: the running back won't leave the locker room at halftime, points at his linemen and keeps mumbling "they're supposed to keep the bad man away"
3 Gregorys: the refs get tired of calling holding and only throw the flag when the defensive end swats down a pass while the tackle is clinging to his back
4 Gregorys: Most plays went to the other side, but the lineman was enough of an obstruction that the backside pursuit only brings the runner down near the line of scrimmage instead of waaaaaay behind it
5 Gregorys: Offers so little resistance to a pass rush that the ref throws a flag for roughing the passer on an otherwise clean sack because the ref feels sorry for the quarterback victimized by the disparity in talent between his offensive linemen and the defenders who schooled them
#77 scored a perfect 5 Gregorys (even from the Russian judge) for this example: