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SEC Power Poll: All-SEC Offensive Line

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If you're reading this site, you're probably already a pretty fervent college football fan. And so you don't need to be told yet again that everything the quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers and tight ends do would all be in vain were it not for the largely nameless -- or large and nameless -- gentlemen who man the offensive line. Let us name just five of them: The All-SEC Offensive Line.

Position Player Team
C Antoine Caldwell Alabama
OL Michael Oher Mississippi
OL Andre Smith Alabama
OL Herman Johnson LSU
OL Phil Trautwein Florida

Perhaps it isn't surprising that Alabama was the only team to place two players on this squad. The Tide have the league's second-ranked rushing attack, with 196.5 ypg, and allowed just 17 sacks this year.

As for Caldwell -- the man has a way of seeing the future. Back when it was preposterous to think it, he said of his decision to return for his final season:

"I'm the type person, I don't want to regret anything I do in life. And I feel like, if I was in an NFL training camp or playing for a team and I look back and see, 'Alabama won the SEC champinship,' I might fall out."

They fell just short, but who thinks Caldwell regretted his decision? Caldwell, Smith and their teammates along the Alabama line are one of the main reasons the Tide surpassed the preseason expectations.

Michael Oher, you might have heard, had a book written about him. And for an offensive lineman, that's about as good as it gets. Ole Miss' rushing attacked ranks third in the SEC, at 183.4 ypg, and in Oher's primary area of responsibility -- protecting the QB -- the Rebels are tied for 23rd in the country, allowing just 16 sacks for a loss of 86 yards.

Herman Johnson's name is also on the AP All-American list, the first time that's happened for an LSU lineman in 11 years. Les Miles is typically effusive about the guy:

Herman is a tremendous football player who plays a huge role on this team, both on and off the field. If they gave an All-America award for a person’s character, values and integrity, Herman would be on that list as well.

And how could we have an All-SEC Offensive Line without someone from Florida? The Gators ranked first in rushing in the SEC with 229.8 ypg. While Florida's skill players have plenty of speed, they needed the blocks to get started, and Trautwein and Co. provided those blocks. Helped out by Tim Tebow's mobility, the Gators OL also kept the quarterback standing: 16 sacks allowed, fewer per game than any SEC team save Kentucky. It was hard enough to tackle a Florida runner if you could get to him. With a decent block, you had no chance.