Tennessee’s offensive line growing, but still needs more

Tennessee’s offensive line growing, but still needs more

A couple of weeks ago, we started looking at the size of the defensive front seven, ultimately finding that Tennessee’s projected starting lineup should be in the upper tier with Alabama and Georgia this fall. But what about the other side of the ball? Is Tennessee’s offensive line big enough to hold its own against monster-sized defensive fronts?

The benchline for the cumulative weight of the Vols’ offensive line starters was 1,532 pounds in 2017. It dipped to 1,505 in 2018, but is projected to be back around 1,535 this fall. If everything falls right, it could be 1,579.

But how does that compare to Tennessee’s SEC opponents this fall? Unfortunately, not great. Here’s the info:

Even though Tennessee’s projected starting lineup includes all five guys weighing in at over 300 pounds, it still comes in last on that list. Even if you make the most favorable assumptions, the Vols’ are still only sixth on that list at 1,579 pounds.

There are basically three, maybe four, tiers here. First, Georgia is in a class by itself at a monstrous 1,643 pounds. Their lightest starter is 318, and the rest of the guys are 320, 330, 335, and 340 pounds.

Missouri, Mississippi State, and Alabama are all over 1,600 pounds. You can go and ahead include Kentucky, which comes in at 1,592, in that tier or give them their own.

And then come Vanderbilt, Florida, South Carolina, and Tennessee, all 1,550 and under.

At this time, we have no data on the correlation, if any, between cumulative weight of the offensive line and offensive profiency. But I will note that of the teams on that list, the most prolific offenses last fall were Alabama, Missouri, and Georgia.

Tennessee’s made some progress in this area, and if the guys can continue to bulk up over the summer, they could make some additional headway. But this data may be some indication that they’re still going to have a challenge when push comes to shove this fall.

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