I am often asked my opinion on things that involve football. The questions range from how to find which player position best suits a child to who I think will win the Super Bowl, and pretty much everything in between. I have many thoughts on the game, on coaching, and on improving performance, so I am starting Passing Thoughts to share some of those thoughts. I welcome your comments and conversation. –KR

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Think Football: Roundtable with the OLine Coaches

The OLine/DLine Challenge Clinic will be held May 20-21 at the Fieldhouse. In the last blog post, I invited the Defensive Line coaches to share their thoughts on their upcoming Think Football Challenge Clinic, and now it is the Offensive Line coaches’ turn to say a few words.

Shawn Flanagan played college football at the University of Oregon, then Eastern Oregon, and finished his collegiate career winning a national title at the University of Sioux Falls. After college, Shawn was signed by the New Orleans Saints. He currently coaches football and track at Colman, and coaches offensive linemen with RPF.

Charlie Sanders won two national titles at Valdosta State and then played for the Billings Outlaws. Charlie now anchors the offensive line with the Sioux Falls Storm. During his three years with the Storm, Charlie has been voted first team all-league and helped lead the team to back-to-back titles. He also coaches centers and other offensive linemen with RPF.

What are the most important qualities in an offensive lineman, and how do you display those?

Shawn: Work ethic, ability to change direction, strength, explosive hips, quick feet, and knowledge and ability to lower hips, stay square, drive through contact, hand and head placement, and understanding blocking angles. You display these by always being in a position to execute your assignment from snap to whistle with power and control of your opponent.

Shawn Flanagan

What kind of workouts do you do, and how does it make you a better offensive lineman?

Charlie: I do lots of footwork drills. As linemen, we are not required to run long distances but we have to be quick on our feet to put ourselves in the best possible situation on every play.

What advice would you give to a young athlete who someday wants to play at your position?

Shawn: Be involved in a long term strength program, work on specific football skills such as pass sets, and drive blocking. It’s important to do this because it takes an average of 10,000 reps of doing something before you can master a certain skill and not have to think. The more you think the slower you play!

Charlie: Don’t ever forget that the snap is the most important thing! The snap of the football starts every single play, and it can make or break every single play.

Why should athletes go to this special OLine/DLine Challenge Clinic?

Charlie Sanders
Shawn: These coaches have played or are still playing at a high level, and there is no one better that understands what correlates to football in terms of drills and knowledge.

Charlie: There is so much focus on the skills positions when it comes to specialized training, and it can leave offensive linemen behind the curve. Why should linemen be punished?

The OLine/DLine Challenge Clinic will allow specific focus on the techniques of playing on the line. There are not many opportunities for specialized instruction and coaching for linemen, so athletes will really benefit from the careful attention to fundamentals and skills at these positions. We hope to see a great group of linemen who are up for this challenge! And stay tuned next for advice from the skill position coaches on their upcoming Skills Clinic.

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