Best of the Bunch-Offensive Line
Written by Curt Popejoy on 06/25/2012
College football is all about matchups. That's the biggest difference between college and professional football. Great pro coaches use schemes, and great college coaches exploit individual matchups. When it comes to the offensive line, that's the heart and soul of any college team. Those front line matchups can make a ground game dominant and a passing game efficient. And those of us who are fans of the big uglies this is a great season. I had to narrow it down to 4, but there are easily 10 groups who could have made this list. Much respect to the groups at Wisconsin, Oregon and USC, you all have fabulous groups that just missed the cut.
4. LSU - I have a feeling by the end of the season I'll have wished I'd have put this group higher. Most college teams are happy if they have one top flight tackle, but the Tigers are fortunate that in Alex Hurst and Chris Faulk they have 2. The left guard position is still up in the air, but Center PJ Lonergan and RG Josh Wiliford round out an excellent group. The strength of the group is in it's run blocking as 3 of the top 4 backs last season averaged more than 5 yards per carry. This year I expect them to really come around in terms of pass protection as Head Coach Les Miles will almost certainly throw it more with Zach Mettenberger under center.
3. Oklahoma - You won't hear the Sooners among the talk for elite draft prospects, but there might not be a more experienced and veteran group. They return 4 starters and another player, Sophomore Guard Adam Snead that have a total of 102 carer starts. 3 of the returning linemen are Seniors and the other a Junior and this group helped a really rag tag group of running backs average 4.5 yards per carry not to mention only allowing 11 sacks. This unit is deep enough that backup C Ben Habern is a legit NFL draft prospect and he may not start this season. Assuming they are healthy all season this unit should be dominant all season long.
2. Texas A&M - If the LSU Tigers have the best pair of tackles in all of college football, than the Aggies are a close second. Juniors Luke Joeckel and Jake Matthews are both 3 year starters and true bookends. The entire Aggies line returns in tact with 2 Seniors, OG Brian Thomas and C Patrick Lewis and a talented Sophomore OG Cedric Ogbuehi. This is a run heavy offense and the line did it's job allowing 5.1 yards per carry but also only allowed 9 sacks in 2011. Their first year in the SEC they will definitely be put to the test.
1. Alabama - 3 of the 4 best offensive lines are in the SEC? Yep. If there is a consensus about any positional unit in all of college football, it's probably the Crimson Tide at No.1 here. If there is any translation between NFL Draft Prospects and how good they are in college, than the Crimson Tide have it in the bag. I have OT DJ Fluker as my top tackle, I have OG Chance Warmack is my top guard, and C Barrett Jones as the top Center. And I could probably have put Jones as in the top 3 of any of them. And the reason Jones is moving to C is because Alabama has a super talented Sophomore in Cyrus Kouandijo ready to step in as the next great Alabama tackle. This group is dominant in both run blocking where they averaged 6 yards per carry. You can't have that much talent across the board and not be the BEST OF THE BUNCH!
Last Edited: 06/25/2012