Chris Low of ESPN’s college football blog took to the task of ranking the top ten duos in the Southeastern Conference, with a pair of Kentucky’s experienced offensive linemen making the list. Guards Larry Warford and Stuart Hines ranked as the tenth-best duo in the conference, and were the only pair of offensive linemen featured in the ranking. The conventional wisdom is that Kentucky’s offensive line will be the team’s greatest strength, and Low agrees:
10. OG Larry Warford and OG Stuart Hines, Kentucky: The Wildcats enter the 2011 season with four starters back on the offensive line, a group that should be the strength of the team. One of the reasons why is the Warford-Hines combo at guard. They’re road-graders in the run game, but equally good in pass protection.
It’s not an understatement to say that for any success this year’s UK team has, the offensive line will be the foundation. If the unit plays well, Morgan Newton and the other relatively inexperienced skill position players will have a much easier time adjusting to their roles and offensive success is a lot more likely. If it plays poorly things will be much different, and not in a good way. I think it will play well, and Warford and Hines are the main reasons why.
In slightly related news, Low created this ranking in the spirit of the release of the preseason watch list for the Pony Express Award, which will attempt to fill a void not occupied by the other 643 college football awards by recognizing the best two- or three-person tandem in college football. UK linebackers Danny Trevathan and Ronnie Sneed were named to the watch list earlier this week, but you already knew that because the same list was released in June and we posted it then. Apparently they felt like you needed a reminder, so there you go.
As you were.