Saturday was Collin Oliver’s best game and other advanced OSU metrics

Saturday was Collin Oliver’s best game and other advanced OSU metrics

The OSU linebacker from Edmond Santa Fe has never been better, according to Pro Football Focus metrics. And OSU’s strength may be its running back.

Sam Hutchens

By Sam Hutchens

| Sep 12, 2023, 6:05am CDT

Sam Hutchens

By Sam Hutchens

Sep 12, 2023, 6:05am CDT

Advanced analytics corroborate what anyone likely gathered from watching Oklahoma State’s 27-15 victory at Arizona State.

Collin Oliver was phenomenal.

Pro Football Focus awarded the junior OSU linebacker an 88.3 on a 0-to-100 grading scale for his performance Saturday. Oliver had four solo tackles, three assists, two tackles for loss, a pass breakup and a forced fumble.

It was the highest PFF grade of Oliver’s career.

Coach Mike Gundy credited moving to an even front formation with four down lineman for the big night. It allowed Oliver to line up at the line of scrimmage more often and create mayhem.

“We played odd, but we played even,” Gundy said postgame. “Mixed it up. Ultimately, that’s where I’d like to get to.”

Oliver’s performance against Central Arkansas graded at 43.7 in Week 1. He took five snaps as a defensive lineman against the against the Bears. PFF credits him for 20 snaps as a defensive lineman in week 2.

Analytics love OSU’s running backs: It truly is a three-headed monster, according to PFF. With two weeks of data, the three highest graded OSU players on offense are all running backs.

Ollie Gordon (76.1) leads with Jaden Nixon (75.1) and Elijah Collins (75.0) just behind.

Mike Gundy said OSU’s running game still needs improvement. The Cowboys are averaging 131 rushing yards and 4.2 yards per carry.

“For two weeks we’ve gotten away with not running the ball well in the first half,” Mike Gundy said. “Our luck is going to run out eventually. That’s not a secret. That’s what the offensive staff has been told. That’s what I told myself in the mirror. And that’s what the players have been told.”

The high grades do indicate that PFF thinks Gordon, Nixon and Collins are maximizing the opportunities they have. Gordon has the best grade on running plays (84.0), Nixon scores the best on passing plays (81.3) and Collins has the best pass blocking grade (77.2)

Through two weeks, Gordon grades out as the No. 53 halfback among the 133 FBS teams.

Rangel leads quarterbacks in PFF grades: Gundy said Monday he is not ready to anoint a starter. It would be right, he said, to pick one after the game when Garret Rangel, Alan Bowman and Gunnar Gundy were solid against ASU.

“They all played pretty good,” Mike Gundy said. “Graded out almost 88% mentally as a group. Stay the course.”

PFF graded out each quarterback similarly. Rangel (68.7) had a slight edge over Bowman (62.8) and Gunnar Gundy (59.8)

Bowman was 11-for-16 for 113 yards. Rangel was six-for-nine for 46 yards but had a touchdown pass. Gundy completed five of his seven passes for 32 yards and a score.

The OSU coaching staff also does its own grading evaluation. That’s where the combined 88% comes in. Coaches assign a mental grade on every play a quarterback makes after watching film to evaluate pre-snap and post-snap responsibilities and reads. Mike Gundy said it is an in-depth formula that is hard to score well in.”

“(The combined 88% mark) are good grades,” he said. “Last week they graded close to 90. Which is a really high grade for a quarterback.”

 

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Sam Hutchens covers Oklahoma State sport for Sellout Crowd. He interned for The Stillwater News Press in 2021 and The Guthrie News Leader in 2022, where he won a first-place OPA award for in-depth reporting. He has also covered sports in southwest Oklahoma for The Lawton Constitution. He strives to tell you the OSU sports stories that you want to tell your friends about. You can email him at [email protected] and connect on Twitter (X) @Sam_Hutchens_

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