Which school is OLU? These five programs can stake a claim
Which program is OLU? Many times, this is determined based on history. But we thought it would be interesting to base it off current NFL rosters. Below are the teams that were the best candidates, along with Farrell's verdict.
The case: A lot of credit for Alabama’s ability to move the ball and score points goes to the skill players and there have been plenty to come through Tuscaloosa, but the Crimson Tide have also pumped out exceptional offensive linemen over the years. This list proves that. Alabama has quantity and quality each and every year.
Tony Tsoukalas, BamaInsider.com: “Alabama has a whopping 10 former offensive linemen on NFL rosters. Of that bunch, six are former first-round picks while two were selected in the second round. While Alabama might not have an offensive lineman selected in this year’s draft, the Crimson Tide’s stacked offensive line this season is a sign it isn’t slowing down in terms of producing elite talent at the position.”
The case: Over the years, LSU has established its reputation for running the ball behind a massive offensive line and utilizing fantastic running backs to get the job done. That system has helped the Tigers win a lot of games. With eight offensive linemen from LSU in the NFL, the Tigers boast an impressive haul and more could be on the way.
Mike Scarborough, TigerBait.com: “Offensive linemen from the Les Miles years was a sore spot. For most of his tenure at LSU the only NFL guy was Barksdale who was a converted defensive lineman. That fact had a hand in Cam Robinson leaving Louisiana and playing for Alabama. That changed the following year as LSU has had more offensive linemen make their way to the league as Jeff Grimes stocked things pretty well. New OL coach James Gregg appears to be continuing that.”
The case: Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz coached offensive linemen at different stops in his career including with the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens before taking over at Iowa. That eye for talent and development continues for the Hawkeyes and they’ve put out a bunch of high-end linemen over the years. Ten currently are on NFL rosters.
Blair Sanderson, HawkeyeReport.com: “With Kirk Ferentz being a longtime offensive line coach, including a stint in the NFL before taking over as head coach at Iowa, the Hawkeyes’ program is all about developing tough, physical offensive linemen. Whether they come in as a four-star, a two-star or a walk-on, every Iowa starter seems to end up in an NFL camp after graduating and more than their fair share end up making a roster somewhere.”
The case: Stanford is known as a physical team up front who will pound the ball behind a massive offensive line. That’s one reason why the Cardinal has been such an attractive team for high-end linemen especially in recent years as coach David Shaw has implemented his playing style to perfection.
Jacob Rayburn, CardinalSportsReport.com: “Stanford's offensive line is the foundation on which Cardinal built a successful program that has featured a 1,000-yard back in all but one season in the past 10 years. The legacy of David DeCastro, Cameron Fleming, Joshua Garnett, Kyle Murphy, Andrus Peat, David Yankey and others will be carried on by future stars, such as Walker Little and Nate Herbig.”
The case: Having the Matthews family on this list always helps, but Texas A&M has pumped out an impressive list of offensive linemen over the years. The Aggies have just as many offensive linemen in the NFL as LSU which is an impressive thing to note. Last recruiting cycle, A&M signed three four-star offensive linemen.
Mark Passwaters, AggieYell.com: “Texas A&M should absolutely be OLU. No school can match its run of success from when Jim Turner first arrived with Mike Sherman until today. Look at the first-round draft picks: Luke Joeckel, Jake Matthews, Cedric Ogbuehi, Germain Ifedi. That's not in one draft - that's four in a row, showing sustained excellence. The Aggies' 2012 line was one of the best ever assembled, with Joeckel, Matthews and Ogbuehi joining Patrick Lewis and Jarvis Harrison up front. Last year, all five of them were in the NFL. Ifedi, Avery Gennesy, Joe Cheek and Jermaine Eluemunor have already started a second generation of Aggie linemen in the bigs, with Koda Martin, Connor Lanfear and Erik McCoy likely to join them in the next couple of years. A&M as OLU? Oh, yes.”
FARRELL'S VERDICT: IOWA
The Hawkeyes have a great group in the NFL currently and they have done a great job consistently producing offensive linemen without being a blue blood program like some of the others. Iowa has long been respected for this under Kirk Ferentz and it deserves the title with guys such as Bulaga, Scherff and Yanda leading the way.