Markuson one of the best

Who are the best college offensive line coaches in the country? One scribe believes Ole Miss' Mike Markuson is in the Top 5. Read about it inside.

CBS Sportsline Senior Writer Dennis Dodd is currently penning a series of articles about the best position coaches in the country.

Lo and behold, yesterday he opined about the excellent pool of offensive line coaches in college football and USC's Pat Ruel was named THE "guru" via Dodd.

But after a lengthy story on what makes Ruel tick, Dodd had a heading of "Others To Consider," which consisted of five outstanding OL coaches in their own right. At the top of that list was Ole Miss' own Mike Markuson.

To wit:

"Mike Markuson, Ole Miss: In all 15 seasons Houston Nutt has been a head coach, Markuson has been his offensive line coach. Markuson comes to Oxford on a roll. Arkansas led the SEC in rushing four of the past five seasons. Center Jonathan Luigs won the Rimington Trophy last season, clearing the way for some guy named Darren McFadden."

There were four more "others" listed, all giants in their field: Mac McWhorter (Texas), Hugh Nall (Auburn), Todd Spencer (Georgia Tech) and Rick Trickett (Florida State).

That's some pretty high cotton for any assistant coach to be in. Markuson's inclusion as, arguably, one of the best OL coaches in the country brings to mind the first conversation The Ole Miss Spirit had with Rebel Coach Houston Nutt after he was hired to resurrect the struggling football program at Ole Miss.

When asked about the assistant coaches he would be bringing with him, Nutt did not hesitate.

"I have to have Mike Markuson here," Nutt said emphatically. "No matter what we have to do, we have to get Mike here. He's the best offensive line coach in the business."

Nutt got his man. Marksuon was one of the first to commit to becoming a Rebel coach on Houston's staff, which was met with great relief by the head man.

"Mike was taught by some of the best – Pat Jones at Oklahoma State, Lou Holtz at Notre Dame, Joe Moore at Notre Dame," said Nutt. "He took the best qualities from everyone he was ever around and molded himself into the best at his craft.

"Mike is one of the best fundamental coaches I have ever been around. He's an excellent teacher of techniques and what makes him special to me is that he's just as good teaching pass blocking as he is teaching run blocking."

Nutt even takes it a step further, on a personal basis.

"We build our program on being a family. Mike is a huge part of that. He truly loves his players. He's always in contact with former players because he cares about what happens to them after they graduate, what kind of contributions they are making to society," Nutt closed. "He's not only a great coach, but he's a great friend of mine and of everyone he comes in contact with."

Markuson has developed some outstanding talent in his career.

Currently, there are four Markuson "products" starring in the NFL and several more who are on NFL rosters.

Most notably, Eagles All-Pro OT Shawn Andrews, Colts' starting LT Tony Ugoh, Bengals' starting OG Bobby Williams and Bills' starting OT Jason Peters were pupils of Markuson.

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