Maisel: Depth leads the SEC to championship glory
Ivan Maisel gets it.Most fans look at a depth chart and see a bunch of names and classes, heights and weights. A coach looks at a depth chart in search of a championship. Starters can take a team a long way, but starters can't play every down. Who comes in when a starter needs a break can make the difference between a good team and a championship team.
For all the stars that the Southeastern Conference has produced, it's the second line on the SEC depth charts that has propelled the league to the past six BCS championships.
"Your two is just as good as your one, even your one who is a superstar," Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen said. "You have another guy who's going to step right in and be a superstar. That, to me, is what the top teams have. I look at my depth when I was an assistant coach at Florida and we were winning championships [2006, 2008]. The quarterback room was Tim Tebow, Cam Newton, Johnny Brantley. That's depth."
Depth is going to be the reason why the SEC will likely produce (at least) one of the contenders for the BCS Championship game in Miami in January. We touched on that in this piece, explaining that as talented as USC is, they just don't have the quality depth two- and three-men back at key positions, especially up front.
Star power at the skill position is important. But depth in the trenches is more so.
Scroll down in Maisel's column to the key quote from Alabama's Barrett Jones:
"What I look for is somebody having their hands on their hips," Jones said. "They got their hands on their hips. They look tired. That's when I know we've got 'em. We're about to break the game wide-open. We go into that mode that O-linemen love so much. We start running it every play. They know it's a run, and we know it's a run. It's a great feeling."