As we put a wrap on the roller coaster ride of a rebuilding season in 2009, I've decided to ask for the community's help in fashioning the 2009 Mizzou All-Season Team. Just like I did in 2007 before the Cotton Bowl, putting together the All-Season Team will help recognize the top performances of the season at each position this past year.
Today, we select our top performance by the offensive line. As much as I'd love to be knowledgeable enough to select top individual performances by the linemen, unit voting is (sadly) most effective. Nominees after the jump.
NOMINEES (in chronological order):
- Offensive Line vs. Bowling Green: If we were awarding All-Season honors based on one half of football, the offensive line's performance in the second half might have been a shoo-in. But we can't forget how flustered the offensive line was early in the game, which only amplified Blaine Gabbert's confuzzled state. The line picked up three first half holding penalties, but rebounded to pave the way for a comeback victory.
THE LINE: 4.11 yards per carry, 1.0 sacks allowed, 14 rushing first downs, 3.62 line yards per carry
- Offensive Line vs. Furman: This game was still at the point in the season where the Missouri line was just absolutely ravaged by penalties. Missouri opened the game with a false start the preempted a three-and-out, but the Tiger line got its act together from there, especially in pass protection. Missouri allowed just one sack (which came in the fourth quarter with Jimmy Costello quarterbacking on 3rd and 16 -- not a recipe for avoiding a sack), although the Mizzou ground game left a little to be desired. According to Bill C.'s numbers, the Mizzou O-Line accounted for only 2.88 line yards per carry.
THE LINE: 5.44 yards per carry, 1.0 sack allowed, 7.4 yards per play
- Offensive Line vs. Kansas State: It's a long stretch between the Furman game to the K-State game, but it wasn't exactly an easy stretch for the O-Line. The line played relatively well against OSU, but was marred by the hits taken by Gabbert and a few key breakdowns on short-yardage rushes. But all that midseason strife led into what I consider to be far and away the unit's best performance of the season when Mizzou went to Manhattan. Blaine Gabbert was barely even challenged in the pocket for the majority of the day, and when it came time for the Tigers to pound the rock, the line was effective in helping Derrick Washington put the game away.
THE LINE: 5.6 yards per carry, zero sacks allowed, 3.94 line yards per carry
- Offensive Line vs. Iowa State: In addition to being one of the line's more productive games, it was also one of the cleanest, with a false start by Austin Wuebbels being the line's only penalty of the day. In retrospect, it was a wholly nondescript day for the offensive line, and I mean that as a compliment, not a slam.
THE LINE: 3.07 line yards per carry, zero sacks allowed, 14 rushing first downs, 4.0 yards per carry
- Offensive Line vs. Kansas: They were truly the unsung heros of Mizzou's last second Border War win. The line surrendered only one sack, kept pressure off of Gabbert for most of the day, and helped guide the rushing attack to its best performance of the season.
THE LINE: 1.0 sack allowed, 3.53 line yards per carry, 13 rushing first downs, 7.1 yards per carry