In the weeks leading up to Texas A&M's bowl game, GigEmNation will take a look back at how the Aggies performed position by position and give each group a grade based on that performance. Today, we look at the offensive line.
Highlights: The was probably the best and most consistent position group on the team this season. The front five of tackles Luke Joeckel and Jake Matthews, center Patrick Lewis and guards Jarvis Harrison and Cedric Ogbuehi did a stellar job of protecting redshirt freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel and giving him plenty of time to operate. The unit paved the way for an offense that ranked No. 3 in the country in total offensive yards (552.3) and scoring (44.8 points per game) and in the top 15 in both passing and rushing yards per game.
The two tackles are likely high draft picks should they choose to enter the draft, and Lewis played perhaps the most important role of the group. His responsibilities included calling protections and dictating the tempo so that the Aggies' offense could run at the breakneck pace that coach Kevin Sumlin desired.
Lowlights: There were some early struggles in the running game. It took a few games before the unit was fully comfortable with the style of blocking that the offense requires. The linemen operate almost exclusively in a two-point stance, even for running plays. Once the season progressed, so did the line, and the running game began to pick up.
Surprises: Health. The unit was able to stay healthy all season along and all five starters started all 12 games. That's some good fortune.
Grade: A. Since they don't give an "A-plus" in the collegiate grading system, we'll follow suit, but if there was a group that could earn that grade, it's this one. Manziel named his starting five linemen by name during his Heisman Trophy acceptance speech and deservedly so, because they were as big a reason for his -- and the offense's -- success as much as anything or anyone. Kudos is due to offensive line coach B.J. Anderson for his work with this group, getting them to adapt to the style and perform at a high level all season.