Weber views offensive line
as another ‘skill’ position
and the key to BNL’s success
By Justin Sokeland
The days of the slow, slothful, sluggish, soft offensive lineman at Bedford North Lawrence are over.
That’s the old standard. Take the big, hefty kids and stick them up front to block. Bigger was better. Not anymore. Speed is now as important as strength. The intelligence quota number is as crucial as a bench press total.
Size is still a factor. BNL will have four returning starters up front in 2015, and none of them are small, with three weighing over 260 pounds. But they are solid, not spongy. Quick, not rooted in place. Smart, not dense. They have to be.
“People don’t understand,” BNL coach Steve Weber said. “It’s not just blocking the man over you, they have calls to make, they have to identify the defense and what steps they are taking. Then they have to react to the defense if it moves. So there’s a ton of stuff.
“In my opinion, they’re the best athletes on the field.”
Now, note that Weber smiled when he said that. Note that Weber, a former offensive lineman, is biased. But also note that BNL’s read-option demands power and movement to create quick-strike holes. Note that success in football, in its simplest form, is based on running the ball and stopping the run. It all happens up front.
“Without the line, our triple option is going nowhere,” Weber said. “In my mind, we win or we lose according to that.”
There’s truth, and pressure, in that statement. Weber views the line as another “skill” position, which normally refers to the ballhandlers. He would like stats to discuss, just like rushing yards or a completion percentage. He wants them noticed, more than when they jump offside or get flagged for holding.
It takes a certain mindset, a willingness to compete, an eagerness to collide, a passion for pain, to play the position.
“It’s fun,” said BNL senior Nick Franklin. “I just love blocking people. I started in the fourth grade and I’ve played right tackle since then.”