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of its chances for success.Auburn center Reese Dismukes pass blocks during the Tigers' 43 38 win over Georgia in 2013. Dismukes has 37 career starts for the Tigers. (Todd Van Emst/Auburn Media Relations)Alabama's 2012 offensive line is now considered among the school's (and probably the SEC's) best ever, with two starters eventually taken in the first round of the NFL draft, two others drafted and the fifth catching on as a free agent. And Auburn's run to the 2013 SEC title was punctuated by an offensive line led by a pair of two year starters and a budding superstar at left tackle who eventually went No. 2 overall in the draft.So how do the SEC teams stack up in returning offensive line experience for 2014? I dug into the various teams' rosters and media guides to find out, adding up each squad's total number of career offensive line starts to rank them 1 thru 14.I ultimately decided not to include tight ends in the equation. While some teams utilize tight ends as a vital part of their run/pass blocking strategy, others use them as little more than an extra receiver and others still have expunged the position from their offense altogether.For more of our comprehensive coverage of the SEC, go to our SEC page.And for the record, I'm not counting starts made by players at other positions (such as tight end or defensive line) or at other schools, though those will be noted within each team capsule. Also, in at least one case, I'm not counting the career starts by a player who is out for the season due to injury.The results might surprise you. Here goes .1. South Carolina (107 returning starts): A talented, veteran offensive line is a big reason the Gamecocks are the popular pick to win the New Balance 623
a veteran offensive line can often be the key in a given team's championship run, or in its emergence as a title contender. While fans and many in the media tend to focus on returning players at the skill positions, how much experience a team has on its offensive line can often be a better gauge New Balance Leadville V3
How do SEC teams stack up in terms of offensive line experience
SEC East this season. Cann (38 career starts) is the leader here, though tackles Brandon Shell (23) and Corey Robinson (22) also have nearly two years' worth of starting experience. Junior guard Mike Matulis (10) is back after missing a year due to shoulder surgery. Clayton Stadnik (7) and Cody Waldrop (6) return after splitting time at center last year.2. Auburn (91): The Tigers actually have 105 returning starts, though guard Alex Kozan (14) is out for the season following back surgery. Auburn is still second anyway, thanks to three year starters Reese Dismukes (37) at center and Chad Slade (35) at guard. Tackle Patrick Miller (14) is also a returning starter. How well the Tigers replace Kozan and No. 2 overall NFL draft New Balance Fashion Sneaker pick Greg Robinson at left tackle could go a long way in determining their chances to repeat.3. Texas A (88): The Aggies might start a true freshman at quarterback, but if so, he'll have a veteran front five to protect him. Tackle Cedric Ogbuehi a likely NFL first rounder in 2015 and guard Jarvis Harrison each have 30 career starts, while tackle Germain Ifedi and center Mike Matthews both started all 13 games in 2013.4. Mississippi State (81): Another group with lots of experience, as center Dillon Day (34) and left tackle Blaine Clausell (29) each have more than two years' worth of starts on their resumes. Guard Ben Beckwith (12) is also back, though the other two line positions have little in the way of veteran presence.5. Vanderbilt (79): The Commodores return five players who have started at least the majority of one season, though none with two full years in the starting lineup. Center Joe Townsend (21) leads the way, joined by guards Jake Bernstein and Spencer Pulley (both with 17) and tackles Andrew Bridges (15) and Andrew Jelks (9).6. LSU (75): The Tigers' line should be among the most talented in the league, with four returning starters in tackle La'El Collins (25), guard Vadal Alexander (22), tackle Jerald Hawkins (13) and center Elliott Porter (13). There's a bit of an experience black hole at the other guard position and among the backups, however.7. Kentucky (73): Two year starting tackle Darrian Miller (26) leads the Wildcats' line, along with guard Zach West (21). Tackle Jordan Swindle (12) and center Jon Toth (11) also return with starting experience, while three backups also have at least one career start.8. Missouri (72): In center Evan Boehm (26) and tackle Mitch Morse (25), the Tigers have a pair of two year starters on their line. Tackle Connor McGovern (14) is also back, though the two guard positions will be manned by new faces.
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