I’ll be honest here- judging an offensive line is not one of my strong suits in judging a football team. Bear with me.
Offensive lines are judged by results, correct? In that case, Tech has had a very impressive offensive line over the course of the years, and has been the most proficient area of the football team in terms of churning out NFL talent (six offensive lineman have been drafted since 2005). Last season, Tech allowed 1.46 sacks per game (tied with Baylor and Oregon among others), which given the amount of times Tech dropped back to pass, is an outstanding number.
Unfortunately, this is not last season and Tech no longer has Le’Raven Clark, Jared Kaster, or Alfredo Morales. Bummer.
According to the spring depth chart, Tech plans on rolling out with three new offensive line starters: Madison Akamnonu at Left Guard, Justin Murphy at Right Guard, and Terrence Steele at Right Tackle. Akamnonu and Steele are both redshirt freshman, and Murphy is a sophomore whom started five games for the Red Raiders a year ago. Senior’s Baylen Brown and Tony Morales are projected to start at left tackle and center, respectively. Here’s an easier way to look at the projected O-Line:
LT- Baylen Brown
LG- Madison Akamnonu
C- Tony Morales
RG- Justin Murphy
RT- Terrence Steele
The right side of the offensive line is going to be a focus. Having Murphy play in five games last year helps a little bit to get used to the pace of play and live game action, but Steele has yet to play a snap in a Tech uniform.
Baylen Brown getting the nod to replace Le’Raven Clark at left tackle is encouraging and in a weird way also discouraging. Encouraging in the fact that this coaching staff trusts and believes in Brown to play arguably the most important position on the O-Line. Discouraging in the fact that Akamnonu and Steele were both looked to replace Le’Raven at LT. Steele is starting at the other tackle, but you would still like to see him start at that LT. There is a great chance that I’m just overthinking and the coaching staff loves the play of Brown at LT and Akamnonu at LG. It’s hard not to have confidence in the staff in terms of its handling of the O-Line.
It's nice to see Tony Morales get another year to play as a Red Raider. Morales, a senior, had several medical redshirt years before playing in ten games last season. He has been at Tech since 2011, and it's a cool story that he gets another year to play in scarlet red and black.