The midway point of the SEC season has given us reason to look at the best offensive players, the best defensive players, even the best coaches.
But what about those guys who never get any publicity (unless they get caught holding) and those guys who are typically the backbone of your team?
Name the last team to win an SEC championship with a bad offensive line. For that matter, name me a team that won an SEC title with an average offensive line.
Honoring the big uglies up front, here are my top 5 offensive linemen in the SEC through the first half of the season. They’re listed alphabetically:
Alabama sophomore offensive guard Barrett Jones: Alabama has a bunch of guys who’ve played well on the offensive line this season. Jones has been a staple at his right guard position and is as consistent as the day is long.
Arkansas senior offensive tackle DeMarcus Love: He’s been Ryan Mallett's protector on the blind side. The Hogs had some problems with the rush in the Alabama game, but Love remains one of the better left tackles in college football.
Florida senior center Mike Pouncey: The snap problems earlier in the season marred what has otherwise been a dominant stretch of football for Pouncey. His natural position is probably guard, which is where he played last season.
Mississippi State senior offensive tackle Derek Sherrod: The Bulldogs’ left tackle has been named the SEC’s Offensive Lineman of the Week twice in the last three weeks. He’s a big reason Mississippi State is third in the SEC in rushing (211.8 yards per game) and has only given up eight sacks in six games.
Auburn senior offensive tackle Lee Ziemba: It’s hard to imagine Auburn playing a game and Ziemba not being at left tackle. He’s made 44 consecutive starts for the Tigers, who are leading the SEC in total offense with an average of 483 yards per game.
Here are five others who just missed the cut:
Georgia senior offensive tackle Clint Boling
Florida senior offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert
Auburn senior offensive guard Byron Isom
Ole Miss junior offensive tackle Bradley Sowell
Alabama junior center William Vlachos