SFA Football 2012 Preview: Offensive Line
Aug. 17, 2012
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - No quarterback in the country was better protected last year than Brady Attaway and that could be the case once again this season with four of five starting offensive linemen back for the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks this season.
In 2011 the Lumberjacks put the put the ball in the air more than all but two teams in the country - 544 times - but somehow managed to only allow five sacks all season. That is a sack allowed for nearly every 109 pass attempts and an average of just .45 sacks per game for the season, which was tied with Tennessee-Martin for the best average in the country, although the `Jacks put the ball in the air 189 more times than the Skyhawks.
With 13 linemen on the roster, the `Jacks will boast an average body of 6-4, 302 pounds, while the prospective starting five weighs in with an average of 6-5, 311 pounds. Three of the five projected starters have garnered all-Southland Conference honors at least once, anchored by senior center John Steel who has been all-SLC each of the past two seasons and has started all 23 games the `Jacks have played over the past two seasons and 35 games overall for his career.
He'll be flanked likely by guards Austin Wright and Ryne Chambers, while tackles Corey Dickerson and Andrew Ratliff round out the group, giving SFA three seniors, a junior and one sophomore up front. Wright was an honorable mention all-SLC selection last season in making a successful return to the field after having his 2010 season cut short after a leg injury early in the season.
Dickerson comes in as one of the most imposing figures the league has to offer, standing in at 6-9, 320 pounds and having earned all-SLC honors in 2010. Ratliff played in all 11 games as a redshirt freshman in 2011 while making eight starts, while Chambers has already logged 20 games worth of experience himself after just two years removed from high school.
But the `Jacks will dip down into its offensive line ranks throughout the year and has plenty of options to turn to including Greg Hall, David Dane, Garrick Smitherman and Jeremy Neff in addition to four linemen who signed on in the spring. Hall will likely also see time in the starting lineup having already started 14 games in his first two years as well.
Aug. 13 - Quarterbacks