Pancake SZN

Texas High’s coaches and players discuss importance of offensive linemen


Photo by Braylen Garren

Senior offensive linemen Briley Barron, Richard Jackson and John Jack eat pancakes in the center of Tiger Stadium. The Tigers play the Hallsville Bobcats at home on Sep 23, 2022 at 7 p.m.

Story by Braden McKinnon, Staff Writer

A pancake block is described as a block in which an offensive player completely knocks the defensive player down and onto their back. This completely takes the defender out of the play and creates a number of advantages for the offense. This is a goal for each offensive lineman every play.

The offensive linemen have arguably the most important position groups on the team. They are the five men in the front of every play. Their goal, to protect the quarterback and running back from the opposing team’s defense as much as possible. If not, complete disaster.

“Quarterbacks especially really depend heavily on pass protection, so they have time to go through the reeds,” head offensive line coach Jeremy Harrell said. “If you’re not physical up front, usually everything kind of crumbles, at some point or another.”

Offensive linemen have one of, if not the most, difficult positions on the football team. They have to be perfect every play, and if they aren’t, the entire play falls apart.

“You always have to be ready because one mess up from you and the whole play is done for,” senior offensive lineman Briley Barron said.

Practicing for this kind of pressure is not an easy feat. Practices for linemen are extremely rigorous and tough.

“We have a two [to] two and a half hour practice on Monday and Tuesday. It’s 105 degrees outside, and some of these guys are 6’5” 300lbs and some of them are 5’10” 280lbs,” head coach Gerry Stanford said. ”So you’re having to carry that weight around in 105 degree heat, hitting somebody constantly for two [to] two and a half hours, and that’s a lot on a body.“

These players are also in constant communication during a game. If they aren’t and one player mishears their assignment, the entire play is screwed from the get-go.

It takes winning upfront to win games.

— Briley Barren

“What people don’t see in a game is how much they’re talking to each other before the ball is snapped on about what’s to take place and communicating,” Stanford said. “It’s a very complex math problem on what’s fixing to take place then, all of a sudden the ball is snapped, and it all changes.”

Although it is an extremely important position, it doesn’t always get the love or recognition it deserves.

“It’s not a glorified, sexy position at all, by any stretch of the means,” Stanford said. “But if you look at the NFL right now, the guys who are getting paid the most are the guys who can protect the quarterback, and the guys who can rush the quarterback.”

However, offensive linemen are very proud of what they do and the position they play.

“The unspoken pride about the offensive line is we don’t need all the credit and glory,” Harrell said.

The offensive linemen can seemingly have an amazing game all night and make one mistake, then it seems like they screwed everything up.

“We do good things, and that’s just what’s expected,” Harrell said. “We only really get spotlighted when either we have a penalty, somebody misses something or we don’t pick up the right person and the quarterback gets hit. Things like that.”

The game is won and lost in the trenches so focusing on the offensive line is a very important part of the game.

“It takes winning upfront to win games,” Barron said.