As promised, although a day late, I am going to introduce you to some of the guys who make up a football team. I’m so excited about talking about what these guys do, because football is so much more than just a bunch of guys on the field trying to put the fear of God into each other. Yes, I’m saying this is a game that takes some brains. While a lot of the thoughtful work is left to the coaches and coordinators, the guys on the field have to constantly assess what is going on around them, and make adjustments to their game play accordingly.
On that note, the first person I’m going to introduce you to is the quarterback. This guy is usually the highest paid member of a professional team, and is the leader of every offense. He is usually the liaison between his coach and his team while he is on the field. He is responsible for calling plays while in the huddle. At the line of scrimmage, he’s the guy yelling the signals. After he gets the ball from the center, he will do one of three things: hand the ball off to a running back, throw the ball to a receiver, or run the ball himself. A team’s ability to score points starts with this guy. He has to be aware of his surroundings at all times. The opposing team’s defense comes at him like a bunch of headhunters, hoping to tackle him for a loss of yardage, or to make him fumble the football. He has to be able to see downfield and make adjustments to the play, especially if one of his teammates misses an assignment. Quarterbacks need to be men who command their teammate’s respect to be effective leaders.
Another important guy on the field, who doesn’t receive enough respect IMO, is the center. He is called the center because he lines up in the middle of the offensive line; there is a guard and a tackle on either side of him. He snaps the ball to the quarterback on a majority of the offensive plays on the field. Pretty simple, right? Simple in and of itself, sure. The center snaps the ball to the quarterback on the quarterback’s signal, so he must be aware of the signal count. He must make a clean delivery to the quarterback while worrying about the hit he will have to take from the defense. He must also know his fellow offensive linemen’s blocking assignments. The offense does not know how a defense will line up until they actually line up. And the defense is allowed to move, or shift, prior to the snap (the offense is not able to move prior to the snap). It is the center’s responsibility to communicate with his offensive line their blocking assignments as the defense changes, in a way that the defense doesn’t know what he’s communicating. This guy has to be physically and mentally tough. When a coach finds a good center, he wants to keep him. The other guys on the offensive line look to him to provide leadership and stability.
For those of you who are visual learners, here’s how an offensive line lines up across from the defense:
LT LG C RG RT
LT = left tackle; LG = left guard; C = center; RG = right guard; RT = right tackle
So now you’ve met two of the guys who make up the offense. Next, we’ll tackle (pun intended) the rest of the offensive line.