The Badgers Freshman Football team finished their season with five wins and three losses. At their banquet, each kid was recognized for his strengths and contributions. But, throughout the season, some of the guys contributed a lot, but weren't publicly recognized much.
While quarterbacks, running backs, pass receivers, tacklers, and many other position players in football hear their names on the P.A. more or less often, there is a group who are mostly unheralded, the offensive line. When they are doing their job, the quarterback has time to hand off or pass the ball, the running backs spring loose for long runs and the offense runs smoothly.
Some of the offensive linemen for the Badger freshman team were #54 Garrett Chartier, #61 Willy Andrews, #79 Jonathan Jarman, and #75 David Rupp. There are others, but this was the group who agreed to speak about their role. According to them the line has several jobs, depending on the type of play being run. They block the defense to open gaps for the runners. On passing plays they hold the line to create a pocket for the passer. They have to work together to make sure the defense doesn't get through too soon.
They said that to be on the line, you have to like hitting and be strong. They are, as a group, taller and heavier than most of their teammates. Chartier, at 6'1 and 185 lb. is pretty typical. Leg strength is particularly important and they have special exercises like bear crawls and quarter eagles.
All the linemen agreed that if the line is working well and doing their job, you don't notice them much. The center gets the ball to the quarterback smoothly and the gaps appear for the runners. If the line isn't able to work properly, then the offense sputters.
These linemen said that although they have had to work hard to fill their places, they enjoy what they do. They know that even if the fans don't hear their names, they are essential to the team.