Thursday, June 20, 2013
FSU Countdown: No. 32 Austin Barron
By David M. Hale
Throughout the summer, Nole Nation will be counting down the 40 players we're projecting to make the biggest impact on the Seminoles' 2013 season, taking into consideration everything from experience to potential to their spot on the current depth chart.
What he's done: Barron was among the bevy of freshmen to get playing time during the 2011 debacle on the offensive line, seeing action in nine games and starting three, including the bowl win over Notre Dame. But when FSU added two new tackles for 2012, shifting Bryan Stork back to center, Barron ended up as one of the odd men out. Still, Barron remained FSU's most reliable lineman off the bench throughout the season, getting one start early in the year and working this spring as the top alternative should Bobby Hart not perform at right tackle.
Where he's at: Even with the departure of Menelik Watson for the NFL, Barron again appears to be the sixth man on the offensive line totem poll, but that won't necessarily preclude him from winning a job this fall. Hart turned in a strong spring and remains atop the depth chart at right tackle for now, but few players are so tenuously attached to their spot. If Hart slips up in fall camp, expect Stork to slide out to tackle and Barron to be back in the starting lineup at center.
What's to come: It's probably unfair to suggest Barron's 2013 season will be dictated largely by Hart's success or failure, but it makes sense that Jimbo Fisher won't want to reshuffle multiple positions on the line if he doesn't have to, and Stork is a lock for a starting role -- either at center or right tackle. Still, Barron earned plenty of praise even while running with the No. 2 offense the past year, and the experience -- both as a starter and a reserve -- is incredibly valuable to an FSU team with little depth on the line. Barron may not be a starter from Day 1, but odds are he'll play a few key snaps at some point this season, and when Stork graduates at year's end, he'll certainly be ready to step into the starting job for 2014.