2012 Season Schedule | Top Returning Special Teamers | Top Defensive Players
Not many accolades get thrown in the trenches, but if you're a real fan of football, you understand this is the place where games are often won and lost. Take a look at some of the top returning offensive linemen in 2012.
2011 Alabama Statistics
Barrett Jones won a national title last year. He presented a jersey to the President at the White House just months after being named the nation's most outstanding interior lineman as winner of the Lombardi Award. Jones, who will switch to center this year after previously playing guard and tackle, helped Alabama rank 16th nationally in rushing offense in 2011.
2011 Southern Cal Statistics
QB Matt Barkley made things look easy last year after Khaled Holmes got him the ball. Holmes, who was in his first year at center after starting at guard the year before, helped the Trojans post 456.8 total offense yards per game last year, a total that was good for 21st nationally. Holmes also helped USC average 294.2 passing yards per game.
2011 Georgia Tech Statistics
At 6-3, 300 pounds, Omoregie Uzzi fit perfectly into coach Paul Johnson's run-based offense in 2011. Uzzi didn't disappoint as he helped the Yellow Jackets hold down the No. 2 spot on the national rushing list by averaging 316.5 yards per game, trailing only Army (346.5). Uzzi looks for more of the same in 2012 but first has to get back from injury that forced him out of spring ball.
2011 Oklahoma Statistics
Gabe Ikard was already going to be counted on heavily in the Sooner offense, but Oklahoma has lost two other senior offensive linemen to injuries in the preseason, adding to Ikard's load. Last season, Ikard led an offensive line that produced the nation's No. 5 offense with 512.31 total yards per game.
2011 Alabama Statistics
Barrett Jones received most of the attention, but Chance Warmack also played a pivotal role as the Crimson Tide took home the national title a year ago. Warmack, who has started 25 consecutive games heading into 2012, helped Alabama average 36.0 points per game to rank among the top 20 scoring teams in the nation.
2011 LSU Statistics
LSU's defense carried it to an undefeated regular season and a chance at the national title a year ago. If the Tigers want to get back on top, they'll need to improve on the offensive side. They were 86th nationally in total offense (355.1). Luckily, Alex Hurst is back at tackle and will help again after pushing LSU to a No. 22 rushing ranking (202.6) as a junior.
2011 Texas A&M Statistics
When Texas A&M had the ball on offense last year, few teams could slow it down. The Aggies will again rely on Luke Joeckel at tackle to lead the charge after he helped A&M rank seventh in total offense (490.2) and 11th in scoring (39.1) in 2011. TAMU was also fourth nationally in sacks allowed, surrendering just nine sacks in 13 games (0.7 per game).
2011 Wisconsin Statistics
RB Montee Ball will have another chance at the Heisman Trophy in 2012, something made easier running behind an O-line that features Ricky Wagner. A starter at tackle in 24 of the past 26 games, Wagner continued the recent tradition of dominating offensive line play at UW by helping the Badgers rank 11th nationally in rushing offense (235.6) a year ago.