Sunday, July 25, 2010

Preview – Offensive Line – Left Tackle


Ask any right handed quarterback, a veteran or a young inexperienced one, what position is the most important to him and you can rest assured the answer will be, left tackle. It is the left tackle’s job to protect his blindside and most teams put their best lineman at the position.

The most versatile starter the past three years for the Dawgs has been all SEC first teamer Clint Boling who has played every position on the line except center. The 6-5, 310 pound senior anchored a line that gave up the fewest sacks in the conference last season, a total of 12 for 96 yards.

Boling returns for his final season and will be a starter, he just won’t know where until it is determined if Trinton Sturdivant has recovered from his second ACL surgery well enough to become the starter at left tackle. 

Sturdivant excelled as a true freshman starting every game and earning a spot on the all SEC freshman team. He tore his ACL in preseason camp in 2008 and took a redshirt while rehabbing the injury. The SEC coaches named him to the 2009 second team pre-season offense but in the opening quarter of the Oklahoma State game he reinjured the knee and missed the remainder of the year.

The 6-5, 320 pound junior feels that his second surgery went much better and has been given a full release to begin practice when pre-season camp opens on August 2nd.

Rising sophomore A. J. Harmon (6-5, 310) has shown the ability to handle the position as well and will see plenty of playing time this year. He can also play left guard and right tackle.

Two freshmen, Austin Long (6-5, 295) and Brent Benedict (6-5, 305) are both recovering from injuries and if released will get the opportunity to compete for a back-up role.

Either way the Dawgs will have plenty of experience at the position.

Personally I would like to see Boling stay at left tackle in a rotation with Sturdivant. This would give the responsibility of protecting a young quarterback to the two most experienced players at the position.

With three consecutive mid-day starts, depth will be a huge factor in the outcome of each game and there would be no drop-off in protection with either Boling or Sturdivant on the field. It would also allow Harmon to back-up Davis at right tackle.

Depth Chart:

Clint Boling, Senior, 6-5, 310, 36 starts

Trinton Sturdivant, Junior, 6-5, 320, 14 starts

A. J. Harmon, Sophomore, 6-5, 310

Austin Long, RS-Freshman, 6-5, 295

Brent Benedict, Freshman, 6-5, 305

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