7 Key's to OL/DL Success

7 Ways that every OL/DL should “fight and scratch to get noticed" 

-Coach Haywood

1.     Effort. This is one thing that student athlete has control over is their effort. The effort first starts in the classroom, then in the weight room, then film room, then practice, and is followed but by the game. Everyone want to be great but everyone does not have the discipline to stay committed to the task. Effort equals sacrifice. You will be tired from studying film or always being first to the ball/ finishing a block downfield in practice and having to run back to the huddle just to do it again.  Your effort will get you noticed on tape because you will not be taking plays off during the game and you only have one speed which is “FULL” speed. Effort is key to being noticed. 

2.     First Step. Your first step determines a lot of how the pay is going to develop. The quicker you can get your hands on your opponent give you that much more of an advantage and positioning to have a successful down. Having quick feet and quick reactions is very important to being noticed.  

3.     Finish the play. It is not easy finishing the play whether the play is in the classroom, weight room, film room, practice, and or the game. By finishing every play 100% of the time you will be seen. There is nothing like having your opponent know that you will keep playing the whistle is blown, knowing that the play is on the other side of the field and you are still working.  Your opponent will know that you are a different breed of player. 

4.     Fundamentals/Intelligence. If you are fundamentally sound then most likely you are an elite player. Pre-snap checks and adjustments need to be made quickly, which makes the defensive/offensive line one of the toughest positions on the field mentally. Your fundamentals take over when your mind and body are taxed and you are running off pure Instinct. When you are fundamentally sound then your body automatically know what to do when you are tired.  

5.     Be a student of the game. Film is only as boring as you make it to be. Film is a good way to figure out schemes and tendencies which will give you an advantage if you are being efficient with your time. More importantly you as a player should know what all your teammates are doing so that you can play accordingly.  

6.     Toughness. Toughness is an absolute necessity for linemen. The game is simply a three-hour fight between you and your opponents. In almost every game, one team asserts itself and continues to pound away until the other side simply quits. When toughness wanes, so does strength, speed, power, and skill. Coaches want to see O/D-lineman dominate on the field! If a player isn't dominating at the high school level, he won’t do so in college. Finishing a play with your opponent lying on his back should be a consistent outcome when a coach watches you on film. Toughness is built in the weight room and on the field. It’s built every time you do that last set even when you feel like quitting. It’s built every time you finish your sprints all the way through the line even when no one is looking. It’s built when you go after a PR and fail but come back next time and smoke it. Simply put, it’s a long, slow evolution.  

7.     Fail before you QUIT. It is much better to fail at something rather than quitting at something. When you quit it will last a lifetime. Always finish what you start—your reps, your sets, your sprints, and your homework. Learn to fail and come back with a vengeance. We all mess up. We all miss tackles and blocks, even NFL Hall of Famers. But they also know how to come back and make the next play. They don’t sit on the sidelines and pout or throw their helmet and curse. They figure out what they did wrong and come back and do it right. That’s the kind of tough linemen I want on my side. 

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