Engineering projects are underway at football fields in Louisville, as high school football teams enter their second week of training.
Everyone still wears helmets, but team building projects are progressing as planned, as coaches and players combine to put together their best possible teams for the fall. And Atherton head coach Anthony White echoes coaches across the country when he talks about the importance of linemen in his squad’s building project.
“I believe it starts up front on both sides,” White said. “They are called ‘lineman’. They have “-man” at the end. Not everyone has (that). I think linemen are vital pieces, and offensively you have to have this unit that works as one. In defense, this unit must function as a single unit. The games are won in the trenches.
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“We’re at the starting point with everything,” added senior lineman Devin Runyon. “The ball carrier cannot block for himself. The QB cannot throw the ball if it is on the ground. We start everything.
Big players up front don’t always get the glory, but building a solid front on the line of scrimmage is essential to any success a team hopes to achieve. Of course, there are certain size, strength and physique requirements to play on the line. But White also points out the crucial mental component of being a lineman – especially on the offensive side of the ball – which is often not appreciated by the casual fan.
“Offensively you have to be a smart lineman,” said White, entering his third season at Atherton. “These are so many moving parts. Your procedures, your calls (and) your blocking missions. (With) the defense, you have to react and go. (In) attack, you have to react, but you also have to react to what this defensive lineman is going to do. It’s so, ‘If they do this, we do this’ (situations). Your offensive linemen should almost be your smartest kids on the team.
Freshman Benen Lo agrees.
“It takes a lot of quick thinking to figure out what to do,” Lo said. “Go left, (go) right and just (follow) the movements. You have to be a quick thinker.
After:Catching up with new Bellarmine basketball hires as they prepare for campus life Senior lineman Hunter Wallitsch-Walker also reiterated that there is a lot of coordination that goes into operating a functional line. Assignments and blocking strategies change game by game, and everyone needs to be solid in their work and the ever-changing conditions of a game, in order to extend journeys beyond those first three games.
“It takes a lot of teamwork,” he said. “We’re all brothers from the start and we all have to work together to be able to move the line (and) move that line of scrimmage. It takes a lot of teamwork to get the job done. ”
White also has a vision of what he wants to see from the team’s defensive line. Even though defensive linemen are more read and responsive by nature, Whites want them to be able to strike a good balance between aggression and control.
“Semi-aggressive,” White said. “I want you to get to the ball. I want you to win your one-on-one from the start. I want you to wreak havoc. I want controlled madness. I don’t want you to play sporadically. I want you to play aggressive, but I want it to be controlled.
White feels good about the evolution of Atherton’s line at the start of the season, especially compared to last year when the COVID-19 pandemic fundamentally changed the way football teams could. practice. Now they will have their representatives, and they will be all the better in the fall.
“Up front, the more time together the better,” White said. “I like where our offensive line is. I like the time we have been given. We still have some work to do, but I like where we are (at) this time, (compared to where) we were last year.