Versatility is key for the KU football team
- Aug. 22, 2012
- 0 Comments
In football, every play in practice, scrimmages and games is accompanied by multiple collisions between athletes in great shape on each side of the ball. However, injuries happen even with protection. Hamstrings pull, ACLs tear and bones fracture.
No team can avoid injuries, but the Jayhawks prepare their top backup offensive linemen to play multiple positions in case they need to step up later in the season.
“You don’t always have 10 guys you can play a game with at offensive line,” coach Charlie Weis said. “Sometimes to get the best players, people are going to have to be a swing tackle.”
Having the offensive linemen know more than just their role on each play not only helps in an emergency but also allows them to work as a unit to protect the quarterback or create a hole for the running back to slip through.
“You can’t be five individuals on the offensive line,” offensive line coach Tim Grunhard said. “You need to come together and be a fist. And so everyone needs to know the role, the technique, the fundamentals and the assignments of everybody else.”
Yet, blocking in one position on the offensive line can be different from another position one spot over.
“There’s obviously some different things you have to do if you’re a left tackle and say you’ve been playing guard,” Grunhard said. “There’s some different angles and kicks, but the basic fundamentals of getting your hands inside and getting your head back, keeping your feet in good position. You pass block with your feet; some people think you pass block with your hands, and obviously you use your hands, but your feet get you in the best position.”
Senior center Trevor Marrongelli played both guard positions before moving to his current position. Marrongelli said by learning to pass block either way, he can set up what the offense needs of him.
“The biggest part is the pass set,” Marrongelli said. “It’s tweaked a little bit, moving from right to left.”
In Weis’s pro style offense, players need to be able to play multiple positions. For example, each receiver might have a different route, but Weis expects all of his receivers to know each receiving position and step into that role when called upon.
“When you’re rotating, the defense can’t key into what you’re doing and bracket you and try and double you or know the tendencies of the route you run,” senior wide receiver Daymond Patterson said. “So it makes it a lot harder for them.”
This also allows the Jayhawks to get the best 11 healthy players on the field at all times,
“If one guy goes down, you don’t have to actually put the next guy that’s behind him in,” Patterson said. “You can move somebody else from another position over there if the other guy is a better fit to go in.”
— Edited by Christy Khamphilay