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Monday, August 15, 2011

Brigham Young Cougars: 2011 Offensive Line Preview

With the exception of the Florida State game, the Brigham Young Cougars offensive line had a solid season. The men up front paved the way for BYU’s best season running the ball since 2001. They also improved from allowing a sack on 5.5% of pass plays in 2009 to just 4.9% in 2010. The overall win-loss record, however, left a negative perception. Left tackle Matt Reynolds saw his very high NFL draft stock fall appreciatively enough that he decided to return for his senior year.

Joining Reynolds on the line in 2011 will be three other starters from the 2010 campaign. In total, BYU returns 107 career starts on the offensive line.

Just like last year, Reynolds is garnering a lot of pre-season accolades. He has been included on the Outland Trophy and the Lombardi Award watch lists. This year Reynolds isn’t alone. Left guard Braden Hansen has joined Reynolds on the Outland Trophy watch list. In fact, all four returning starters have made Phil Steele’s list of top draft eligible players at their respective positions. Reynolds is the #5 tackle. Hansen is the #12 guard. Terence Brown is the #19 center. Braden Brown is the #63 tackle. As a whole, Phil Steele ranks the BYU offensive line as the ninth best in the country.

The lone starter to replace is Jason Speredon at right guard. Houston Reynolds, Walter Kahaiali’i, and Ryker Mathews are competing for that spot. Any of these three should fill the spot nicely.

The depth on the offensive line is great. Just two years ago, most of the starters didn’t have a healthy man backing him up. Now almost each sport on the line is filled with high quality players three deep.

If the first day of full contact in fall camp was any indication, the offensive line is going to play with a chip on their shoulders in 2011. Matt Reynolds clearly understands how important a strong season is for his future. If BYU wins 10 games and the offense looks good in the key road games, then he will be drafted very high.

The truth is, in football it all starts up front. The offensive line will determine how high the offense flies. If the line is good, then the offense will be good. If the line is great, then the offense will be great. If the line can play inspired ball, the offense will rival the best offenses in BYU history.

Other 2011 Previews: Season Preview, Quarterbacks, Wide Receivers, Running Backs, Offensive Line, Defensive Backs, Linebackers, Defensive Line, Special Teams

The Editor appreciates all feedback. He can be reached via email at bluecougarfootball@gmail.com

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