SEC Network ranks the conference's best offensive lines for 2015
Most of the preseason interest in the SEC has centered around quarterbacks, with as many as seven teams unsure of the starter.
But, as the SEC has proven on numerous occasions, a great offensive line can make all sorts of quarterbacks and running backs into productive players.
SEC Network analysts Greg McElroy and Matt Stinchcomb have been ranking positional units and players in the last few weeks and recently came across the conference’s offensive lines. Stinchcomb supplied his so-called dream team of current linemen (see below) in addition to ranking the five best SEC offensive lines.
Here’s what Stinchcomb said.
No. 5: Alabama
No. 4: Arkansas
No. 3: LSU
No. 2: Auburn
No. 1: Georgia
Stinchcomb also had an interesting take on the Razorbacks. Though he expressed weariness of angering Bret Bielema, he also acknowledged that Arkansas averaged just 4.0 yards per carry during SEC play last season. Perhaps the Hogs haven’t yet lived up to their reputations as being physical bullies.
“They’re better protectors than they were pushers a season ago. When you look at the way that they played versus in-conference opponents … (Arkansas’ rushing offense) dropped all the way down to nine versus SEC defenses,” Stinchcomb said. “That’s something that if that’s going to be their identity, they’re going to have to be better at it. When you look at the yards before contact, they’re going to have to ratchet that up as well.”
LT: Laremy Tunsil, Ole Miss
LG: Greg Pyke, Georgia
C: Evan Boehm, Missouri
RG: Vadal Alexander, LSU
RT: Cam Robinson, Alabama
- Georgia’s offensive line is crucial toward any title run the Bulldogs make this season. UGA features a new offensive coordinator, a new offensive line coach, a new starting quarterback and a new starting center. David Andrews was a great leader, but the team returns four starters from a unit that was more effective than it got credit for last season. As long as players like Pyke and John Theus continue opening holes, it won’t matter who wins the quarterback job or whether Nick Chubb, Sony Michel or Keith Marshall is getting carries.
- Speaking of Georgia, who else wants to see this running game attack the Alabama front seven (Oct. 3 in Athens, Ga.)? Is there a better strength-against-strength matchup in the trenches across college football in 2015?
- It’s hard to argue with Boehm’s 40 career starts. But Alabama’s Ryan Kelly (first-team All SEC) and Texas A&M’s Mike Matthews (second-team All SEC) are more touted players during the preseason. There are some very good centers in the SEC this year. It won’t be a surprise if the conference retains the Rimington Trophy that went to Auburn’s Reese Dismukes in 2014.
- The SEC West claimed four of the top five spots within Stinchcomb’s offensive line rankings. Defense may win championships, but lately, the West Division has held an edge — and a large portion of that edge has been offensive.