Scipio Tex on 2020 Big 12 Offensive Lines

Eric Nahlin

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Dec 19, 2011
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By: Scipio Tex, aka Paul Wadlington

A Chris Ash defense predicated on forcing quarterbacks to hold the ball longer than accustomed while the pass rush gets home in combination with clear run fit assignments and a philosophy of setting the edge with bigs has the chance to debut positively against a Big 12 that's currently hitting the reset button on many of its offensive lines.

At least from a pure personnel standpoint.

Let's go school by school, unit by unit, as they appear on the Horn schedule.

Kansas State

The Wildcats will build their running game around the terrific run blocking of guard Josh Rivas, but this is one of the greenest Wildcat units in recent memory. They'll start a pair of redshirt freshman offensive tackles and have only one upperclassman in the starting five. That''s very un-Wildcat like and when it's happened in the past there, the results have been poor. While KSU has traditionally done a fine job of coming together up front with the development of 2 and 3 star OL paired with a conflict focused offense that doesn't always require a clear win at the point of attack to move the football, this OL hasn't been stewing in the developmental vat very long and those 2 and 3 star Wildcat OL usually have RS-SR by their name. Not RS-FR. Catching them early plays to Horn advantage.

Throw in a pedestrian group of running backs and the Wildcats may have trouble playing their brand of ball control early. Look for Skylar Thompson to fling it around a bit more than anticipated. Texas needs to anticipate exactly that in Manhattan. On predictable downs & distance, KSU throwing the ball around is likely good news for Texas.

Oklahoma

The Sooner OL returns 4 starters, including All Big 12 center Creed Humphrey. Important caveat on their power ballad center: Baylor nose tackle Brayvion Roy whipped that ass last year, getting under his pads and disrupting the pocket repeatedly forcing Jalen Hurts bail outs. Styles make fights in all combat sports. Does Texas have anyone with a play style similar to Roy at nose tackle?

Guards Marquis Hayes and Tyrese Robinson are huge and physical. OT Adrian Ealy is pretty good, but overhyped, largely because of the league's paucity of legitimate tackles. The other tackle position is vulnerable and I don't think Bill Bedenbaugh is fully confident in his current options. You might see him move Marquis Hayes out to T if Brey Walker steps up at guard.

Two things to consider:

1. Coaching helps. Lincoln Riley does a great job of putting his OL into good spots with scheme and play design. Bill Bedenbaugh is an elite OL coach.

2. On the other hand, the OU running game has been invigorated by dual threat QBs in Murray and Hurts. This will be a more conventional running attack with Rattler at the helm. OU ran the ball plenty well with Baker Mayfield, but it's a much more solvable problem if Texas can cover their WRs and line up right.

Overall, the Sooners are in good shape here vis a vis conference peers.

West Virginia

I expect Texas to dominate them up front. Last year WVU averaged 2.6 yards per carry and 73.4 yards per game and their leading rusher totaled 367 yards for the season. They lost both starting tackles as well. While the Mountaineers didn't surrender a lot of sacks last year, that was a function of a ball-out-immediately offense that limited big play upside.

Neal Brown is doing a lot of good macro things at WVU, but he needs to show he can solve the OL issues and create some running space with clever scheming a la Holgo.

Texas Tech

They quietly have one of the best interior OL in the Big 12. Guard Jack Anderson had 26 starts under his belt before last year's injury and he'll be an All Big 12 performer. I like Weston Wright as a pass protector at the other guard spot and center Dawson Deaton is underrated. They're all tall and long and do a good job maintaining interior integrity as pass protectors. Only OU likely features a better interior OL. The rub is at OT, where the Red Raiders break in two new starters, including a grad transfer from Wofford.

If tackle(s) pans and they can keep Bowman upright, Tech will have a good offense and will be a real pain in the ass to teams without a base pass rush.

Baylor

They gave up 38 sacks last year and Charlie Brewer took way too many hard hits. Connor Galvin has developed nicely from a too-skinny 6-7 250 high school senior into a 300+ pound solid tackle, but a lot of their success will be predicated on the development of Blake Bedier at the other tackle spot. This group should be better than last year, but unless they see dramatically better pass pro, I fear that Brewer won't finish the year.

Kansas

They lose OT Hakeem Adeniji to the NFL. OC Brent Dearmon will rely heavily on the RPO game to feature the triangle of Parchment, Robinson and Pooka as a means of taking pressure off of the offensive line and create conflict in the defense. They'll be able to grab some big chunks between the 20s doing that. Workable on neutral or favorable downs, but when KU finds itself in 2nd and 13, the red zone, and 3rd and 8, the OL is going to need to win. That will be a problem.

TCU

They lose three senior starting offensive linemen (both starting tackles), including NFL draftee OT Lucas Niang as well as Niang's primary backup. TCU has a good redshirt and development program, but some guys (big RS FR Andrew Coker) will see action a bit earlier than they want. If Colorado State transfer TJ Storment can't solidly hold down a tackle spot for them, they're going to have some basic protection problems. Max Duggan's mobility will help cover some of their sins up front, but a leaky Frog offensive line will create more opportunity for turnovers and the negative feedback cycle that trapped Duggan in some big games last year.

Iowa State

They lose four starters with nearly 100 combined starts. ISU's 2019 OL was more steady and assignment sound than overpowering, but they'll miss that experience. Brock Purdy's quick release and mobility will be a great aid to pass protection, but the ISU running game is traditionally overpowered by higher end front 7s (in ISU's 5 losses, they averaged 67.2 yards rushing per game). Matt Campbell believes this OL is more talented than any he's had in Ames (it's his first group featuring all Campbell recruits) but that baseline inexperience will be an issue early. Good news for the Cyclones is that they play OU and OSU in October and Texas in late November. They can gel a bit. The new starting tackle duo will feature a RS FR and RS SO, respectively.

Oklahoma State

They were hurt by the announcement that starting tackle Dylan Galloway is quitting football, but they return 6-6, 320 pound Teven Jenkins and WVU transfer Josh Sills is a monster run blocker inside at 6-6, 340. Both are All Big 12 level dudes. Fellow interior blockers Bray and Schneider have starting experience and are solid. This is a pretty good unit that might have been really good if Galloway had returned. Add in the mobility of Spencer Sanders and the devastating skill weapons outside and in the backfield, and this OL just needs to do its job to create outsized results.

Bottom Line

The Big 12 is at a relative low in overall OL talent and experience. Particularly at OT, where the Horns clearly feature the best LT in the league. If you're worried about the Longhorn's RT position, take a look at the rest of the conference. That's good news for Texas edge defenders.
 

cavesl

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Sounds like there’s going to be a ton of depth and Bedenbaugh is smitten with his guys. Loves the true freshmen Anton Harrison and he may start at LT. Ealy at RT. And Robinson at RG. Murray isn’t eligible yet.
 

sherf1

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Sounds like there’s going to be a ton of depth and Bedenbaugh is smitten with his guys. Loves the true freshmen Anton Harrison and he may start at LT. Ealy at RT. And Robinson at RG. Murray isn’t eligible yet.
Well I hope we all enjoyed that one year of OU not having a great O line, sounds like normal service is being resumed
 
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Ian Boyd

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Sounds like there’s going to be a ton of depth and Bedenbaugh is smitten with his guys. Loves the true freshmen Anton Harrison and he may start at LT. Ealy at RT. And Robinson at RG. Murray isn’t eligible yet.
Heard that about Harrison today. I bet he gets another year to sit and learn.

Bedenbaugh is tops at recruiting amazing athletes.