Breaking down the SEC- Offensive Line


Today we look at the big boys on the offensive side of the ball:

1. Alabama– Just as LSU has the best DL in the nation, Bama has the best OL in the nation. Four starters return-Barrett Jones and DJ Fluker are consensus All-SEC players. Chance Warmack and Anthony Steen are the other returning starters. Top lineman recruit from a couple of years ago Cyrus Kouandjio takes over at LT. This group is special. (1st by ESPN and Steele)

2. LSU– With the 1st best DL and the 2nd best OL in the SEC, it’s easy to see why LSU wins games. They return 4 starters and had the SEC’s 2nd best running game in 2011. Tackles Alex Hurst and Chris Faulk are the best of the bunch, but Jr Guard Josh Williford is no slouch himself. With a new QB in 2012, you can bet Ol Lester will be pounding the rock up inside behind these guys. (2nd on ESPN, tied for 3rd by Steele)

3. Texas A&M– new to the SEC, Texas A&M’s OL will be put to the ultimate test in 2012. They should fare just fine with four starters returning- including 2 OT’s that should be high draft picks in Jr’s Jake Matthews and Luke Joeckel. They have a new QB this year in College Station- so this group will be very important in helping A&M transition to SEC defenses. (3rd by ESPN and 2nd by Steele)

4. Arkansas– staying in the West, the fourth best group for 2012 should be Arkansas. They have 3 starters returning, led by Travis Swanson and Alvin Bailey. They protect the best QB in the SEC- and he helps take some pressure off of them in the run game. Knile Davis being back should help make this group’s job easier as well. (4th by ESPN and 6th by Steele)

5. Florida– another group with four starters returning. They struggled at times last season, but should be vastly improved in 2012. One fear I have with them is learning their 3rd offense in 3 years- not an easy task. It’s hard to get cohesion when you are always doing things differently and making different calls. Tackle Xavier Nixon leads this group. (10th by ESPN and 5th by Steele)

6. Auburn– this group returns 3 starters and finds themselves running a new offense. They have alot of talent and should adapt to the new run blocking schemes since leaving the Spread. Center Reese Dismukes is very good- but the worry I have is them starting two R-Freshmen on the left side. Guard Eric Mack was shot this Spring in the hip- they need him healthy. (8th by ESPN and Steele)

7. Tennessee– Tennessee returns all 5 starters and pass protected very well, but couldnt run-block a lick. They are hoping it was due to youth and the run game will improve. Guard Dallas Thomas is the best of the litter, followed by Ju’Waun James at Tackle. (6th on ESPN and 3rd by Steele)

8. South Carolina– only returns 2 starters- but has others who have made multiple starts in their careers. Center TJ Johnson is good, and he will have to help this bunch get ready for a tough season opener on the road at Vandy. (5th by ESPN, 8th by Steele)

9. State– Lots of questions to be answered with this group in September. Two starters return, along with two others that have starts under their belts. Guard Gabe Jackson is one of the SEC’s best, Center Dillion Day proved he is tough as nails, and Blaine Clausell improved alot after being thrown to the wolves early in the season as a R-Fr. If Tobias Smith can return from injury and Charles Siddoway can live up to his billing out of JC, then this group can be pretty good. State will have better depth in 2012 than it did in 2011 (9th by ESPN and 10th by Steele)

10. Vandy– has three starters returning to a group that was 6th in the SEC in rushing last season. They will have a new Center and RT to break in and they will have a tough debut vs South Carolina. But this is a solid group and will hold it’s own in 2012.

11. Missouri– only 2 starters return for Mizzou and they have to adjust to college football’s best DL’s every week. This group is also lightweight, averaging 295. I dont think you will see any All-SEC performers out of this group. (7th by ESPN and Steele)

12. Georgia– the Achilles heel for the 2012 Georgia football team. This group needs to get better in a hurry. Only 2 starters return and they are counting on young linemen to fill in those holes. If Georgia doesnt win the East- their OL will be the reason. (11th by ESPN and 10th by Steele)

13. Kentucky– returns only two starters and has a tough road ahead of them. But at least one of them is a good one in Guard Larry Warford. (13th by ESPN and Steele)

14. Mississippi– only 2 starters return to a group that wasnt very good last season. They have brought in some jucos and a new offense to try and help. This group simply wont be very good in 2012 and people should feel sorry for whomever their QB is this season. (14th by ESPN and Steele)