Friday, October 31, 2008

Taking pride in your position

About five years ago, I sat on a plane next to a well-known college football coach who told me that if you want to know how good your team is going to be, look at the offensive line.

In his words, "It's not a sexy position, but they make it all work. A good O-Line can give a mediocre QB more time and open big holes for average RBs. Without a good offensive line, even the best backfield is going to struggle."

So after reading this article yesterday, it's no surprise that Texas Tech has played so well this season.

Besides being big -- 6-7, 354 pounds; 6-6, 335; 6-7, 314; 6-6, 325; and 6-3, 287 -- Tech's offensive line features passionate guys who take pride in their position.

As an example of their solidarity, one Tech offensive tackle created t-shirts with nicknames for each member of the offensive line, saying, "It just seemed fitting to have the O-line shirt. It has all of us in some kind of a superhuman form."

The front of the T-shirt reads: Some Think We're Monsters. The back: You Can Just Call Us Heroes.

"Rylan is the Hulk because of his bench press," Moore says. "Hamby is Mr. Incredible because he looks like the guy. Byrnes is the Kool-Aid man, because he's all upper body. Vasquez is Super Hero Indian because he looks like an Indian. Carter is Mankind, the wrestler who paints his face and messes up his hair like Carter does.

"And Marlon, they call him Fat Albert because he has a big old belly and every day at practice he wears a half-shirt, not the most flattering look. They're a fun group to coach. They play hard, they practice hard, but at the same time they have a lot of fun with it."