Since taking the kidneys of the Auburn football team months ago, Bryan Harsin and his staff have been working hard to fill in gaps on the roster and recruited hard for positions that have been more or less neglected or overlooked the past few years.
One of the main recruiting concerns for the Tigers right now is improving the offensive line. Though there are plenty of returners heading to the Plains, there will be a new style of play from new O-Line coach Will Friend and they will have to be better at protecting the quarterback.
Despite much discussion on how Harsin and Friend intend to revamp the OL and concerns heading into the upcoming season, there is one publication that is more than optimistic for the Tigers. Yes, you read that correctly. SB Nation’s LSU site, And The Valley Shook, named Auburn football’s offensive line as the # 1 unit in the SEC heading into the 2021 season:
1 AUBURN. Something I harp on nearly every year when I do these ratings is this: NO ONE KNOWS ANYTHING ABOUT LINE PLAY. It’s the hardest position group to evaluate, and I find the narratives do not match up well to actual performance. A common refrain in preseason previews so far has been that Auburn needs to improve their line play and… that’s crazy. It is one of the best lines in the SEC already. The Tigers average 2.95 ALY and 5.53 sacks / 100 att, both in the top quartile of the conference. Additionally, they return four starters and 89 career starters. They are near the top of literally every metric, and almost everyone is coming back, including star center Nick Brahms.
Though ATVS writes a glowing review of Auburn football’s offensive line, it was not enough to trick Tiger fans into false hope for the coming season:
Auburn is listed at the # 1 line in the SEC for 2021! As noted, only allowing 5.53 sacks per 100 attempts. Time for a film breakdown thread:
– Lifelong Phoenix Suns Fan (@PabloEscobarner) July 9, 2021
– The Jboy Show (@thejboyshow) July 9, 2021
We definitely did not watch the same o-line last season https://t.co/QXlmB56NWO
– Sam Stokley (@ SamStokley2) July 9, 2021
Everyone is hopeful that the new coaching regime on the Plains will build the returning talent into a successful offensive line, but ranking them as the # 1 O-Line heading into the season seems a little much.