Texas Longhorns Insider: A Look Back at the Offensive Line
By Bryan Dietzler
Brian Bahr/Getty Images
One of the most influential causes of the Texas Longhorns’ fall from grace this past season was a result of the play of their offensive line. The line struggled to protect new quarterback Garrett Gilbert and give him the time that he needed to throw the ball and make some plays. The offense was therefore unable to move the ball effectively and the Longhorns lost a lot of games as a result.
Things did start to pick up for the offensive line towards the end of the season but it was a little too late. Perhaps next season the line will be in much better shape and will help the Longhorns win more games.
Let’s take a quick look at the guys that started on the offensive line this season as well as those that didn’t get a chance to play but will be back to try it again next season.
RT Britt Mitchell-This senior ended the season as the starter at the right tackle position and started 11 games at the position overall. His experience helped keep the line together (as much as possible) over some of the rough patches that the offensive line had to face. He’s not going to be around next year so his experience will be missed.
RG-Mason Walters-Freshman (Redshirt) Mason Walters was a new addition to the team last year and his lack of experience did show often during the season. He played in all 12 games for the Longhorns and made his early mistakes but started to solidify as the season wore on. He can play tackle as well but his home for the next few years in Texas should be at the right guard position.
C-David Snow-Snow was a junior this season and helped add some stability to the offensive line. He’s one of the more experienced players on the offensive line and is set up to be one of the better centers in all of college football next season. He could even be an NFL prospect with a good 2011 season.
LG-Trey Hopkins-Hopkins was a true freshman in 2010 and he participated in 11 games this past season. He came to Texas with a lot of accolades and looks like he will have a good future with the Longhorns but he was part of the problem with the line this year as they needed to undergo a youth movement and that cost the team some wins.
LT-Kyle Hix-This was Hix’s last season with the team as he was a senior and the most experienced guy on the offensive line. He did a good job at holding down his side of the field and played with a lot of intensity. It was good having him on the line as well because he helped keep the younger guys lined up and added some experience. He will be missed.
OT-Paden Kelley-Kelley, a freshman (not a true freshman), backed up at both the right and the left tackle positions this season. He participated in six games this season and has a chance to crack the starting lineup next season.
OG-Garrett Porter-This second-year player backed up at the right guard and center position this season and participated in 11 games with the Longhorns. He is a part of a bright future on the offensive line and could contend for a starting spot next season.
OG-Thomas Ashcraft-Ashcraft is a freshman this season and will be another valuable asset on the offensive line in the coming season. He spent his time backing up at the left guard position but did see some action in 10 games this season. Look for him to get a shot as a starter this spring.
The Longhorns have some other players that will be back to help out on the offensive line next season. They include freshman guard Mark Buchanan, sophomore offensive lineman Dominic Espinosa, freshman offensive lineman Ryan Rodriguez, freshman offensive lineman Drew Russo and junior offensive lineman Nick Zajicek.
The Longhorns are crossing their fingers that the guys that they have on the roster for next year will be able to handle the tough ins and outs of playing on the offensive line. They will also hope that the experienced gained this year will help them out in what promises to be a tough 2011 season.