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2011 BCS Champ. Position Breakdown - O Lines
Auburn C Ryan Pugh
Auburn C Ryan Pugh
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Jan 7, 2011


The position-by-position breakdown of the 2011 BCS Championship - Offensive Lines

2011 BCS Champ. Breakdown

Auburn vs. Oregon - Off. Lines

- CFN 2011 BCS Championship Preview  
- CFN 2009 BCS Championship Breakdown - Florida vs. Oklahoma   
- CFN 2010 BCS Championship Breakdown - Alabama vs. Texas

CFN 2011 BCS CHAMPIONSHIP POSITION BREAKDOWN

- Quarterbacks | Running Backs
- Receivers | Offensive Lines
- Defensive Lines | Linebackers
- Secondaries | Special Teams | Coaches

By Pete Fiutak

Auburn: While Cam Newton and the Tiger running backs don’t need much room to move, it helps to have a veteran line up front with four senior starters paving the way. The goal of the line is to open up a little bit of a crease for the ground game, and to hold on for dear life as long as possible on pass plays, since Newton is prone to bounce around and hang on to the ball for six days. Since Newton is so big and so mobile, pass rushes don’t seem to bother him all that much, but it’s still a chore for the Tiger front five to have to block for nine-Mississippi and not look bad at times doing it. This isn’t a massive line but it’s a tall group that works well on the move and has adapted over the last few years to the changing personnel in the backfield.

The star is 6-8, 319-pound senior Lee Ziemba, who has served as the rock at left tackle for the last four years and has flourished with the offensive changes. A one-time top recruit, he’s built to be a top pass protector but he’s tough enough to flatten defenders in the ground game and is good on the move. While he’s not a brick wall against the better pass rushers, he’s a great technician and wins more than his share of battles. The other First Team All-SEC star is center Ryan Pugh, a very smart, very sound veteran. While he has seen time at right tackle, he’s far better suited for the interior where he’s a perfect quarterback for the Tiger attack. Very tough, he fights through everything and always produces.

Oregon
: Oregon’s offensive line is in roughly the same boat as Auburn’s. The difference is that this group has to do more running than most, having to hustle up as part of the up-tempo style without getting winded on its own. It’s not quite right to call this a finesse line, but it’s a finesse line. However, when the team desperately needed one big drive, it got the best nine minutes of the year from the Duck line that flattened Cal’s nasty defensive front to pull off the 15-13 win.

Last year the line was green and spent the year trying to jell. This year, all five starters have more than 20 games of starting time logged, with center Jordan Holmes the anchor. At 6-5 and 300 pounds, he’s a bit tall for the position, but he’s perfect for the wall blocking and interior pass protection that the offense needs. Just plain nasty at the point of attack, he’s able to flatten tired tackles still panting from the up-temp style. Add in the footwork and agility to get up the field in a hurry, and he has become the total package, while senior left tackle Bo Thran has grown into a whale of an all-around blocker after staying healthy this year. Named the team’s most outstanding blocker in 2009, he has the requisite athletic skills to be a top pass protector, recording the fastest 40 time and a 28.5-inch vertical leap of all the linemen.

ADVANTAGE
: Oregon. Auburn has the benefit of Newton and all he does in the backfield, but the Duck line is better in pass protection and is better at what it needs to do. Considering Auburn’s defensive front relies on speed and quickness, Oregon’s offensive front is built for a game like this.

CFN 2011 BCS CHAMPIONSHIP POSITION BREAKDOWN

- Quarterbacks | Running Backs
- Receivers | Offensive Lines
- Defensive Lines | Linebackers
- Secondaries | Special Teams | Coaches