The Big-12 has seen its fair share of moving and shaking this offseason, and ESPN blogger David Ubben has covered all of it. He kindly gave us a few minutes of his time to talk about the O-lines around the conference. He also gave us a shoutout on the ESPN Big-12 blog, for which the writers of this blog are very grateful.
You can see David's work throughout the season at www.espn.com/blog/big12.
What is the overall strength of the offensive lines in the Big-12?
It's good, but not great. Oklahoma State is the league's best, and Baylor is really underrated on a national scale. I've got the Bears as the second best line, closely followed by Texas A&M and Missouri, who both return four starters from good lines in 2010. However, both teams only loss: Centers.
Is there a team in the Big-12 you think will be most impacted by the loss of last year’s senior center?
Probably Missouri. They look like they're going to put Travis Ruth, an experienced junior, in Tim Barnes' slot, but Barnes was a three-year starter and an All-Big-12 talent. His knowledge and ability to adapt is going to be tough to replace.
Are there any up and coming first year centers you think may exceed expectations?
It's a little early. We haven't heard a lot of these guys get a ton of credit from the coaching staffs, so we'll see.
What team in the Big-12 poses the biggest defensive threat to an offensive line?
Missouri, definitely. Their defensive line is loaded. It's deep and has the most top-end talent. If newly eligible Sheldon Richardson is the real deal, too? Offensive lines better look out.
Who do you think will emerge as the best center in the conference?
I think it'll be a close race between Ben Habern at Oklahoma, Grant Garner at Oklahoma State and Philip Blake at Baylor.