In many ways, the Auburn football offensive line provided a breath of fresh air this past weekend. The line looked solid in the Tigers’ season opener, which is something the team struggled with all last season.
The success of the o-line in game one can in part be attributed to the addition of quite a few guys from the transfer portal during the offseason. During the first drive of the game, only one of the offensive lineman was a returner from last season in Kam Stutts, who lined up alongside Dillon Wade, Avery Jones, Gunner Britton, and Izavion “Too Tall” Miller.
The lineup changed on the very next drive, adding in Jeremiah Wright, and by the end of the game, 13 of the Tigers’ 15 offensive lineman on scholarship played at least one snap against the UMass Minutemen.
According to head coach Hugh Freeze, the Tigers hope the continue the rotations throughout the season, noting that the coaches are very comfortable with eight or nine of the guys as the team returns to a more “Auburn fast” style of gameplay.
Gunner Britton, who transferred in from Western Kentucky, lined up at three different spots during the game and was named the Southeastern Conference Offensive Lineman of the Week on Monday. He reiterated the importance of a deep OL room, per The Opelika-Auburn News:
"“The more the better,” Britton said. “If you can have nine guys that play a position and you don’t skip a beat, that’s a big thing in offensive lines. Most teams have six or seven guys who can play and once you get to lineman eight and nine, it’s kind of hold onto your seat and hope it goes well.“For us to play nine guys and rotate them pretty seamlessly, I think it’s awesome. … That’s what you want, is to have as much depth as possible at every position. It’s something that’s important.”"
While the Auburn football coaching staff is still working to make Payton Thorne comfortable under center and solidifying how best to utilize Robby Ashford, it will be key to have a solid offensive line throughout the rest of the season.