Josh Kendall

Defensive linemen make life tough in the SEC

dmclemore@thestate.com

Later this week, we will have a story about South Carolina’s offensive struggles and how they relate to the Gamecocks offensive line, but there was an angle that didn’t make it into that story that I’d like to explore a bit this morning.

It’s not about offensive linemen, so much, but about the defensive linemen they have to block in the SEC.

“I can look at who we've played, and Myles Garrett and (Daeshon Hall) from A&M are two as good of defensive ends as there are in the country,” Will Muschamp said before his team played Missouri this season. “Charles Harris for Missouri is as good of a defensive end as there is in the country. (Derek) Barnett the other night, he's two sacks away from Reggie White's record. Reggie White was pretty good, alright. There's some really dominating rushers in our league. One-on-one matchups are very difficult. Florida's got some defensive linemen that are all going to play on the next level, moving forward. So I think that what makes this league different is the defensive linemen.”

And Muschamp didn’t even get to Alabama and Auburn and their pass rushers. Barnett, Auburn’s Carl Lawson, Alabama’s Tim Williams, South Carolina’s Darius English, Harris, Alabama’s Jonathan Allen, Alabama’s Ryan Anderson and Kentucky’s Josh Allen are all in the nation’s top 50 in sacks this season.

“I think it's really hard to consistently block for sustained periods in our league because there's some elite talent in our league and it will show up in April (at the NFL Draft),” Muschamp said.

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