While linemen don’t get as much media love as skill position players, football games are still won and lost in the trenches. Along the offensive line where communication and cohesion are necessary, experience is a good indicator of success. Here are some observations and a look at the number of starts each ACC team has returning along the offensive line.
- NC State has the most returning starts at 112, and the current Wolfpack offensive linemen have combined to play 7,670 plays in their college careers. Five current players have started at least 13 games up front with senior R.J. Mattes leading the way with 30 career starts.
- North Carolina has 93 returning starts along its offensive line. Offensive guard Jonathan Cooper has started 35 games for the Tar Heels.
- Clemson has 46 returning starts, but only two players have started games up front. Center Dalton Freeman accounts for 36 starts, which is tops among offensive linemen in the ACC.
- Eight different Florida State players have started games along the offensive line, which leads the league. Boston College, Georgia Tech, and Duke each have seven different players who have started games up front.
- Virginia Tech has the least number of returning starts in the league with just 17. Left tackle Nick Becton has not started any games, but he has split game reps the last two years with Andrew Lanier. The Hokies have to replace four linemen who started a combined 151 games in their college careers.
Returning starts along the offensive line
NC State: 112
North Carolina: 93
Georgia Tech: 82
Boston College: 64
Florida State: 51
Maryland : 46
Miami : 43
Wake Forest : 19
Virginia Tech: 17
For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis from ACC bloggers Shawn Krest and Sean Bielawski, follow @CBSSportsACC.