By Shehan Jeyarajah
When you watch a Baylor football game, it’s impossible to ignore the incredible speed of the offense. The offense has posted huge numbers, averaging 69.7 points per game on the season. The engine behind the success is the offensive line.
Baylor has arguably one of the best offensive lines in all of football, boasting almost 1,600 pounds of total manpower. In fact, the only everyday starting offensive lineman under 315 pounds is senior center Stefan Huber, who weighs “only” 295 pounds. To compare, the University of Texas has one lineman over 315 pounds, and total their line weighs about 50 pounds less.
Through three games, Baylor is top five in rushing yards with 307.0 a game. The Bears lead the nation in passing yards and points for with 444.3 yards per game and 69.7 points per game. Baylor’s first-team offensive line has only given up one sack. The line has only committed two total penalties through three games, and none at all on the left side of the line.
“We study, we get to know the guys in front of us, what they do, how they stance, everything,” senior left guard Cyril Richardson said. “All we do is practice that over and over again until it’s perfect.”
Richardson has been called the “best lineman in America” by head coach Art Briles and is a consensus 2014 first-round NFL Draft pick, as well as on the Outland Award watch list. CBS rates him as the 13th overall prospect.
The rest of the starting lineup consists of sophomore left tackle Spencer Drango, Huber, and sophomore right guard Desmine Hilliard. Senior right tackle Kelvin Palmer has started for the injured junior Troy Baker through the first three games. Baker is cleared to play and is expected to bolster an already deep starting line. The offensive skill players appreciate what they have in this line.
“The offensive line means the world to us,” junior quarterback Bryce Petty said. “We’ve got a lot of good guys up front. Lot of confidence in those guys. They do a lot for us each week. And they set the tone for all of us.”
Junior running back Lache Seastrunk agreed with Petty.
“We move as far as the offensive line can go,” Seastrunk said. “We can’t go if they don’t go. You’ve got a whole bunch of big nasties up front making the offense go. Our whole starting five is just mean.”
Offensive lineman is typically one of those jobs on a football field that stays out of the spotlight. As the saying goes, if you don’t hear an offensive lineman’s name, they’re playing well. The lack of recognition doesn’t bother them.
“When we get credit is when we make the guys around us look good,” Richardson said. “Once we make them look good, we can take pride in that.”