What Is An Offensive Lineman?

offensive line of football team
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What Is An Offensive Lineman?

The offensive line is the strength and the backbone of an offense. If you can't block, you can't run plays. As the offensive line goes, so goes your entire offense. So what is an offensive lineman, and what do they do?

An offensive lineman, as the name would indicate, lines up on the line of scrimmage on the offensive side. The line generally consists of two guards, two tackles, and a center.

Tight ends are a hybrid between offensive line and receiver.

What Does An Offensive Lineman Do?

When the ball is snapped, the offensive line is in charge of making the scheme of the play happen, and their assignments vary depending on the play called.

They typically will either block a specific man, or a specific area (zone blocking) if it's a run play. If it's a pass play, they will settle in and do everything in their power to keep the defensive linemen from getting to the quarterback.

Who Should Play Offensive Line?

To be an offensive lineman beyond Junior High, you're going to have to love being physical and playing hard. You need good size and strength in order to be effective on the line.

The offensive linemen are the biggest players on the field, so if you've got the size and the heart, offensive lineman might be the position for you.

How To be a Great Offensive Lineman

To be great, an offensive lineman is going to have to be big.

These guys are the biggest specimens on the field. If you're not gifted with natural size and strength, you should think about trying a different position.

They also have to possess great footwork and agility. As the game gets faster and stronger, it takes more and more skill and strength to make holes for a running back, or protect a quarterback on a pass play.

Footwork is one of the most important aspects of this. Fortunately for many, footwork is something that can be trained, so if you're not good at it, work on it. Every position on the field requires good footwork, so work on it to be a better player, even if you don't end up on the offensive line.

Who to Emulate

Watch the best pros to see what they do. After all, these are the best offensive linemen in the world.

In particular, watch Marshal Yanda of Baltimore and Zack Martin of Dallas at the guard spots and Tyron Smith of Dallas, Joe Staley of San Francisco and Joe Thomas of Cleveland at the tackle position.

For you aspiring centers, check out Travis Frederick, also of Dallas.

Each of these players is considered the best, or near the best, at his respective position.