Alabama Football: LSU and Auburn offensive lines no match for the Tide


Alabama football will have one of the top offensive lines in the SEC in 2018. Based on game experience, LSU and Auburn face tough OL rebuilds.

In 2018, Alabama football will have one of the most experienced offensive lines in college football. Playing experience does not always equate with performance, particularly at skill positions like wide receiver and running back. Where it matters considerably is on the offensive line and in the secondary.

College football analyst Phil Steele does an excellent job of tracking experience levels. Steele’s opinion, widely shared by CFB experts, is the team controlling the line of scrimmage wins most games. History shows experienced lines control the line of scrimmage more successfully than inexperienced lines.

Steele’s data makes no effort to adjust for relative levels of talent. For example, according to Steele, Vanderbilt will have the fourth most experienced offensive line in the SEC. Unfortunately for the Commodores, recruiting top offensive lineman is not a Vandy strength. Even more experienced, the Dores will likely get pushed around by more physical players on SEC defensive fronts.

Most experienced SEC offensive lines

Note: The number in parentheses is the ranking among all FBS teams.

  1. Florida (9)
  2. Alabama (13)
  3. Ole Miss (15)
  4. Vanderbilt (25)
  5. Missouri (29)
  6. Texas A&M (30)
  7. Arkansas (51)
  8. Mississippi State (52)
  9. South Carolina (62)
  10. Georgia (64)
  11. Kentucky (80)
  12. Tennessee (95)
  13. Auburn (114)
  14. LSU (119)

So, will Alabama football’s front seven feast on the offensive lines of LSU and Auburn? Part of the answer is both the Tigers will have worked through some inexperience problems by November. Another consideration is what resources the two teams have for new starters.


The Bengal Tigers must replace K.J. Malone, Will Clapp and Toby Weathersby, the last two lost to the NFL. That is serious attrition, but for at least once, Ed Orgeron deserves some credit. Coach O has brought in two JUCO players, Badara Traore and Damien Lewis. Both could start but Traore could be good quickly. He was the top-rated JUCO offensive lineman last season.

LSU is also fortunate that now senior, Garret Brumfield did not leave for the NFL. Brumfield is a powerful run blocker. Two freshmen that struggled last season, Ed Ingram and Saahdiq Charles are no longer inexperienced. The Bengal Tigers have the pieces to be above average IF new projected, starting center Lloyd Cushenberry can step up his game.


Auburn lost four offensive line starters, Austin Golson, Casey Dunn, Braden Smith and Darius James. The Tigers had a pretty deep bench in 2017 and seven of the returning offensive lineman have SEC game experience. Add to that former 5-Star, Calvin Ashley, who redshirted last season, and the Tigers can piece together a competent offensive line.

Going into the season,  Prince Tega Wanogho is the most experienced in the group. The junior has been inconsistent but he certainly has the physical tools to a strong performer. The Nigerian did not play offensive line in his one season of high school football. Understandably, he is still learning the nuances of the position.

The prognosis for LSU and Auburn

Neither team has much time for their inexperienced offensive lines to improve. Auburn has Washington and LSU in the first three weeks of the season. Along with the early game against Auburn, LSU opens with Miami.

By November each unit can be more than adequate but neither will become a strength for their team. No matter how good they become as run blockers, don’t look for either team to hold up in pass protection against the Crimson Tide.

Next: Tide's Fearsome LB's are coming for your QB

A healthy Crimson Tide defense should stifle Joe Burrow and Jarrett Stidham in November. No matter how much either offensive line improves.