Countdown to Kickoff: 17 Days

We’re counting down to MSU’s season opener against Oklahoma State on Aug. 31, giving you a significant number to ponder as August trudges on. Today’s number is…



Left tackle Blaine Clausell, a fourth-year junior, has made 17 career starts for MSU. He made 13 of those starts last season, taking over the duty full time.

Left tackle is one of the most important positions on the field, and so there’s a lot of pressure on Clausell to raise his level of play this year. He wasn’t great last year, and quarterback Tyler Russell‘s blindside was not as well-protected as it should have been. Clausell graded out a champion in nine of 13 games, with a season-best 93-percent blocking grade against Tennessee. He graded at 82 percent in the 38-7 loss to Alabama, one of several low-80s grades he received.

Clausell is an imposing presence at 6-foot-7, 310 pounds, but now he needs to be more of a force. There are some awfully good defensive ends in the SEC, and how successful Russell and the offense can be will depend a lot on how well the offensive line can hold blocks.

“Yeah, that’s a big part of something I want to improve on,” Clausell said last week. “I hate seeing the quarterback get hit like that, so we’ve all got to improve on giving him more time so he doesn’t get any more hits.

I am the online content coordinator for Previously at the Journal, I covered Mississippi State athletics (2008-13), high schools (2004-08), and was on the copy desk (2002-04). I'm working on a recipe for bacon-flavored coffee, which would solve all the world's problems.

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