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Offensive Line


There are great players and then there is great depth. The Badgers have both. The blocking treasure chest starts on the left side where two Preseason All-Americans will line up. Senior tackle Gabe Carimi (6-7, 315) and senior guard John Moffitt (6-5, 323) will keep the ground game traditions alive and well in Madison. Carimi is a big but athletic presence on the outside and brings 36 career starts to the table. Moffitt is also versatile enough to play the center position if need be which gives offensive line coach Bob Bostad terrific flexibility. This was the Big Ten's No. 1 ranked rushing offense in a league where carrying the football means life or death. Five starters are back so in addition to Carimi and Moffitt, seven other returnees are worthy of breaking into the first team depth chart, which has equaled some great competition. Right tackle Josh Oglesby (6-7, 331) started all but three games because of an injury. Right guard Kevin Zeitler (6-4, 312) started every game in 2009. Center Peter Konz (6-5, 312) started nine games and three to four others have shared starting duties at some point in their career. Paying attention to the size numbers, it's easy to see where the beef is located...somewhere on a collegiate football field in Wisconsin.

Ohio State

The Big Ten offers a wealth of offensive lineman as Ohio State continues the trend here of producing top rated blocking units. By the end of last season, this group helped the Buckeyes roll up five straight games of at least 200 yards rushing. All five starters are back. Over the past few seasons this offensive line has been extremely inconsistent. One moment they look like world-beaters and at other times they are far from it. On paper though, this group is loaded. The feeling after spring ball is that this could be the year it all comes together. Center Mike Brewster is getting used to this system, which is obviously important as he makes the line calls. Both tackles J.B. Shugarts and Mike Adams are looking for their first healthy season. Coaches were hoping that Adams would step up this spring and take over the left tackle spot and he has seemed to accomplish this task looking slender and stronger. Bryant Browning is a former tackle that has emerged as one of the leaders after a very productive season at guard. At the other guard spot is Preseason All-American Justin Boren, the former Michigan transfer who is widely regarded as the best lineman on this team. His nasty reputation usually lives up to the billing. If champions are truly made up front, count Ohio State as the Big Ten Champion.


This could be the best offensive line in the SEC, which easily equates into one of the better offensive lines in the country. Tackle Trinton Sturdivant and guard Tanner Strickland have been nagged by injuries the past couple of seasons. Three years ago, some of these guys played as freshmen and the future looked ever so bright before the injury bug bit. Center Ben Jones is the hard-nosed center that earned All-SEC recognition last fall. He is a third-year starter as a true junior. Left tackle Clint Boling did the same (All-SEC) and also finds himself on several preseason All-American lists. Boling is a four-year starter who has played every position on this line except center. Guard Cordy Glenn started every game in 2009 and Chris Davis has 38 on his career resume. Including right tackle Josh Davis, all five starters are back from last year and they are all juniors and seniors. If this group stays healthy, the Dawgs can compete for the SEC title despite having a new quarterback. Great things are expected out of this group.


Like last year, Auburn will have a proven, SEC-tested line. Four senior starters are back, and two or three of them should be suiting up on Sundays in the near future. That would include Lee Ziemba. The 6'8 left tackle has started 38 straight games. The other leader is senior center Ryan Pugh who has started 28 straight games. Both have been selected as Preseason All-Americans. Pugh and Ziemba will be four-year starters, which is pretty rare in this league. Senior Byron Isom can play either guard spot as can senior Mike Berry when he is 100% healthy. Berry is one of the team's biggest blockers and one of the smartest. The only open spot is at right tackle where one of the nation's top JUCO prospects, Roszell Gaydon, is fighting for the job. Auburn is poised to be one of the surprise teams out of the SEC based on a sound running game, a new quarterback with lots of promise and a veteran offensive line that will give all of the young skill people plenty of time to evolve.


Four of five members return from a unit that produced some of the nation's best numbers a year ago. Granted they took a hit with the loss of big right tackle Chris Marinelli, but this should continue to be on of the nations best regardless of who carries or throws the football behind them. The Cardinal allowed only seven sacks last season, the second fewest in the country, and also paved the way for Gerhart's national-best 1,871 rushing yards. The anchor is fifth-year senior Chase Beeler. The former Oklahoma transfer gives this unit the luxury of having an experienced leader at the ever-crucial center position calling the shots. Both guards who flank Beeler, Andrew Phillips and David DeCastro, earned All-Pac Ten honorable mention last fall, as did left tackle Jonathan Martin. The battle to replace Marinelli is between a pair of fifth and sixth-year seniors Derek Hall and James McGillicuddy respectively.


Just Missed: Boise State, Florida State, TCU, Utah