Building Blocks For The Offensive Line

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Vance Vice has gone with a pair of freshmen on the left side of the line. (Photo by Jon Fleming)

Casual fans often overlook the offensive line, which has always been recognized as the most important and critical piece of a football team. You simply don’t look at the box score to read the blocking statistics because, well, there really aren’t any for the big guys in the trenches. Although not officially tracked, there are pancake blocks, which is when an offensive lineman knocks a defender flat on their back. Therefore, in order to evaluate the line, you need to look at the offensive results. How many rushing yards did the offense gain? Was the quarterback given time in the pocket to orchestrate a passing game? How many sacks were allowed, were there quarterback hurries or pressures? There are many factors, and the line is often the first to be blamed when the offense is unproductive.

Duke’s head coach David Cutcliffe said it best to reporters, “They’re the greatest humans in football. They have no official statistic. Think about it. We make them up. What do we call them, pancake blocks? Come on, man. That doesn’t show up in the stats. D-linemen get hurries, they get sacks, and they get fumble recoveries. You know what offensive linemen care about? Their team. The scoreboard is the only stat they pay attention to.”

Bravo, Cutcliffe. They are the bell cows of every offense, which is exactly how offensive line coach Vance