Greetings, Lion fans, and in this preview of the 2019 season, we’ll take a look at one of the most overlooked, yet highly important position groups, the offensive line.
Offensive linemen labor in obscurity. As fans, we all see the long pass completions, the thrilling moves by running backs, and the numbers change on the scoreboard. The group that makes this all possible? the large gentlemen up front. We never hear of these guys, and when we do, it is usually involved with a penalty flag.
The offensive line is an unusual group. There is a level of communication and trust that must be achieved. There is a delicate balance between protection in the passing game, and total aggressiveness in run blocking. Offensive linemen do not receive the accolades that come with, say, a quarterback sack, scoring a touchdown, or kicking a game winning field goal, offensive linemen take their joy in wins.
The Lions have had a long history of great offensive linemen. From the days of Coach Boley Crawford and his ***s Ants, Lion linemen have blazed a trail to two National Championships, countless Lone Star Conference titles, and produced NFL level talent.
The 2019 group look to build on this great tradition. They return three of five starters, losing tackle Malik Ellis and guard Jordan Smith. The returning group is:
Christian Hernandez RG- 6’1″ 265, RS-Jr.-Hernandez stepped right in and never missed a beat. An aggressive run blocker, Hernandez was a welcome addition.
Amon Simon LT- 6’5″ 275, RS-Jr.-Simon is the veteran of the offensive line. A starter on the 2017 National Championship team, Simon adds experience and a steadying presence.
Travis Dafft C- 6’1″ 255, RS-So.-Dafft has done at one of the most difficult positions in football today. Aside from left tackle, which protects the quarterback’s blind side, the center is responsible for the snap to center in the shotgun or spread formations, often with a defender directly over him. Dafft did an outstanding job in this area. He was also a solid blocker in both phases, run and pass blocking.
Two newcomers look to make an impact on the upcoming season. Redshirt Junior Ryan Pleschka, 6’2″,290 lbs., and Brian Taylor, 6’2″, 275 lbs., and a redshirt Senior, both saw considerable action in 2018, and are looking forward to an expanded role in 2019.
The Lions have traditionally been one of the most productive offenses in all of Division II. The reason? A big, quick, aggressive, and dominant offensive line. They look to be loaded again. The scoreboard looks to be lit up often.
See You at The Hawk.