By AubTigerman /firstname.lastname@example.org on August 22, 2012
Has there been a week go by all summer long, when there hasn’t been something in the news about the importance of the quarterback race at Auburn?
I know the decision of who will be the field general for the Tigers is crucial … I get it. However, while much of the the focus has been on the quarterbacks, a more important barometer for predicting success on The Plains may be how the offensive line shakes out.
A team that finished last season ranked 100th in total offense needs more than a quarterback. It needs a mean, quick, aggressive, offensive line. A cohesive unit that is not only talented but gels together to win the battles of the trenches.
Gene Chizik knows that and that’s precisely the reason he has loaded up on lineman talent in the last two recruiting classes. Ten of the thirteen O-Linemen on the roster are either freshman or redshirt freshmen and the other three are sophomores. While the three sophomores are veterans, only Center Reset Dismukes started all 13 games last season.
Gone to the pro’s are last year’s seniors A.J. Greene and Brandon Mosley. The vacuum left four positions open at the start of camp. And according to reports coming from The Plains the last couple of weeks, Line Coach Jeff Grimes has been rotating player after player through drills.
With the Clemson game now just nine days off, the starters could be named as early as today. Most suspect that Dismukes will be joined by Freshman Greg Robinson protecting the blind side at left tackle and teaming up with Sophomore John Sullen at left guard; with right guard being held down by Freshman Alex Kozan teaming with versatile Sophomore Chad Slade at right tackle.
If that is the lineup, what has happened to Christian Westerman, the guy that Grimes said last year was one of the most talented freshman he had ever coached?
The answer is simple, he will be in the rotation along with top recruits, Avery Young, Jordan Diamond, Patrick Miller, Shane Callahan, and Will Adams.
In fact this group, though young, will give Auburn the best depth on
the line in the four years of Chizik’s tenure. Which could mean that opponents rotating defensive
lineman will not be able to wear down the first unit.
Every one knows that the QB and running backs effectiveness depends on the play of the big uglies. With all the accolades heaped on Cam Newton and the running backs on the Tigers National Championship team, it was five grizzled lineman that made it all possible.
Yes the QB is important … very important, but even the best QB can’t get the job done with defenders in his face. The key to a successful season depends on the line maturing and finding the right chemistry early on.
That’s why I believe the first 4-5 games are the most important games on Auburn’s schedule. By the fifth or sixth game, these young guys have a chance to have grown, to have developed chemistry, and to have matured into one of the best offensive lines in the SEC.
If they do that, then look for Auburn to win at least 10 game this year and play in a New Year’s Day Bowl.
Tags: Alex kozan, Auburn blogs, Auburn Football, Auburn have 10 win season, auburn Tigers, Auburn's offensive line, avery young, chad slade, christian westerman, Gene Chizik, Jefff Grimes, john sullen, Jordan Diamond, prediction on Auburn 2012 season, Reese Dismukes, WillAdams