The NC State Offense: Digging A Little Deeper

Now see here, pal, I got some FEI to improve. - Liz Condo-USA TODAY Sports

I was curious how this year's Thomas-led offense compared to the offense led by Mike Glennon last season, so I had a gander at a few of the more advanced stats that are available. (The YPP figures paint a fairly clear picture on this subject, but there is more, so much more!)

What I ended up finding, I'll admit, surprised me. I realize Glennon's offense was severely limited by the fact that he was the only mechanism by which NC State could move the ball, but I honestly didn't expect some of these figures to be so comparable.

OFEI
Rk
Team OE OE
Rk
FD FD
Rk
AY AY
Rk
Ex Ex
Rk
Me Me
Rk
Va Va
Rk
OSOS
Pvs
Rk OSOS
Fut
Rk
78 NCSU 2012
.-279 93 .637 87 .386 99 .107 88 .167 33 .302 103 .149 76 n/a n/a
98 NCSU 2013
-.219 85 .724 35 .458 66 .103 77 .138 71 .358 82 .345 55 .347 69

That's a lot to take in. Here are the definitions of those various categories, most of which are straightforward:

  • OFEI: Offensive FEI, the opponent-adjusted efficiency of the given team's offense.
  • OE: Offensive Efficiency, the raw unadjusted efficiency of the given team's offense, a measure of its actual drive success against expected drive success based on field position.
  • FD: First Down rate, the percentage of offensive drives that result in at least one first down or touchdown.
  • AY: Available Yards, yards earned by the offense divided by the total number of yards available based on starting field position.
  • Ex: Explosive Drives, the percentage of each offense's drives that average at least 10 yards per play.
  • Me: Methodical Drives, the percentage of each offense's drives that run 10 or more plays.
  • Va: Value Drives, the percentage of each offense's drives beginning on its own side of the field that reach at least the opponent's 30-yard line.
  • OSOS Pvs: Offensive Strength of Schedule to date, the likelihood that an elite offense (two standard deviations better than average) would have an above-average OE rating against each of the defenses faced thus far.
  • OSOS Fut: Offensive Strength of Schedule remaining, the likelihood that an elite offense (two standard deviations better than average) would have an above-average OE rating against each of the defenses remaining on the schedule
  • NC State is actually better in terms of first down rate and the percentage of available yardage it's gobbling up. Our rate of explosive drives is about the same but to beat the Thomas-missed-big-play-opportunities horse again, well, you know.

    Drives of 10+ plays are down this season, because that one marathon against Clemson only counts a single time, even though it felt like four separate drives.

    But despite the similarities in a lot of these raw categories, the true measure is OFEI, where the Wolfpack ranks 20 spots lower than a season ago. And that seems about right to me. State's offense had obvious flaws (against teams not named Miami, Clemson, or UNC) but it certainly felt a tier above the Pete Thomas version.

    There are only four power-conference teams lower in OFEI than NC State (including Wake Forest!), so Brandon Mitchell, son, you got some work ahead of you.

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