How much will Auburn's returning OL experience *really* matter in 2021?
Auburn's OL was inexperienced in 2020, and it showed. Bringing back all those starts in 2021, though, doesn't guarantee improvement.
(Todd Van Emst/Auburn Athletics)
Auburn’s offensive line has been a major storyline for four years running.
The recruiting aspect of the Tigers’ front five most likely played a rather large part in the end of the Gus Malzahn era. The on-field performance has garnered even greater scrutiny, with the Tigers finishing 70th, 83rd and 69th nationally in yards per play from 2018 to 2020.
Auburn fans braced for the worst ahead of the 2020 season, when the lone returning starter experience on the offensive line came in the form of center Nick Brahms. Graduate transfer Brandon Council brought 24 career starts with him, but they came at struggling MAC program Akron.
While the Tigers only averaged 5.58 yards per play and 25.1 points per game in 2020, the advanced statistics weren’t overly harsh on the offensive line.
According to Football Outsiders, Auburn finished 18th nationally in line yards, an advanced statistic that seeks to split the “credit” for successful runs between offensive lines and r…