Mississippi State Football 2013 Impact Players: No. 3, Blaine Clausell

Spruce Derden-US PRESSWIRE

You've got to be able to protect the blind side in football. It's an essential part of the game, and one that's separated good teams from great ones over the years. The man charged with that task this year is Blaine Clausell.

Blaine Clausell has just about seen it all in his time at MSU.  In just the second game of his freshman season, Clausell was suddenly thrust into the middle of a very important SEC game at Auburn, as starter James Carmon went down with a knee injury.  Clausell had a rough outing, as could be expected from nearly any freshman, and the Bulldogs lost a heartbreaker in a season that would prove less than satisfying.

Fast forward two seasons later, and the 6'7" junior from Mobile is a veteran on the offensive front, and one that has been cemented at that very same left tackle position nearly the entire time since his first game in 2011.  Blaine hasn't drawn any rave reviews as an individual, but he was a part of an offensive line that gave up just 19 sacks total in 2012.  His lack of rave reviews isn't necessarily a knock on Clausell either, it's just that his efforts have been overshadowed at times by his lineman neighbor Gabe Jackson, and center Dillon Day.

It goes without saying though that Clausell's 2013 season is vitally important to MSU's chances at success this year.  Without protection on the blindside, a quarterback is shaky, he rushes passes, and he's generally a different player if he doesn't feel like the man behind him can defend the part of the field that he can't see.  Since that tough day in 2011, Clausell has served in that position, and for the most part, he's served it well.  He'll need to do that again this year, because a young receiving corps could mean more decision time and longer route development this season.

[apologies for a large portion of the material repeating from yesterday, but in my defense, they are two players who play next to each other on the offensive line]

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