The backfield gets too much credit and linemen very little credit only recognized for a penalty

Discussion in 'On The Field' started by Billy Dale, Jan 24, 2022.

  1. Billy Dale

    Billy Dale The History of Longhorn Sports through 2014

    TLSN in 2021 starting interviewing Longhorn brand builders whose contributions may have been minimized. Turk McDonald is a great example. A link to Turks interview is at The History of Longhorn Sports
    turk blocking  (2).png
    Turk is blocking for Peter Gardere


    Turk McDonald (UT football, 1988-1992)

    by Larry Carlson

    Look up "center" in your dictionary, and you find something like "around which anything relates to or revolves."

    But the center position in football is seldom the center of attention. That other guy who also touches the ball on every play gets oversized expectations, too much credit and too much blame.

    But that dude around which everything revolves is mighty important on every snap and his position is arguably the most demanding one -- along with that of the glamor boy quarterbacks. This writer has long held that offensive linemen are the most cerebral and often most witty, wise-cracking and wonderful-to-interview types on a football squad. And it figures that these centerpiece specimens of brains and brawn who man the middle are especially intriguing cats.

    The University of Texas, in the three decades of Darrell Royal/Fred Akers football, cranked out the primo pivot-men on an assembly line. Olen Underwood, Jack Howe, Forrest Wiegand, the peerless Bill Wyman, Wes Hubert, Mike Baab, Mike Ruether, Gene Chilton and Alan Champagne all rolled through. But now, only three Longhorn centers -- Turk McDonald, Lyle Sendlein and Zach Shackleford -- have earned first team All-Conference accolades in the last three decades.

    TLSN recently sought out McDonald for a question and answer session. The guy who blocked belligerently as a member of the 1992 All Southwest Conference team blocked no questions, gleefully and glibly responding to them all. Turk is the quintessential UT center, straight from central casting. Born to be a Horn, big and bad on the baseball diamond and then even better on the gridiron, the long-time West Texas oil & gas landman savors family, football, bagging mule deer and teeing it up with golf buddies. In the lively interview below, number 55 looks back on Texas teammates, hamburger hangouts and sudsy sleep-aids, and looks ahead to the possibilities and liabilities as Longhorn football ushers in the era of pre-paying for pancakes.

    Turk McDonald.png
    • Like Like x 5
  2. nashhorn

    nashhorn 5,000+ Posts

    “Pre-paying for pancakes” I like that analytic.
  3. BevoJoe

    BevoJoe 10,000+ Posts

    Excellent article! And I agree, linemen are very essential to the game and yet very underappreciated.
    • Agree Agree x 3
  4. Chop

    Chop 10,000+ Posts

    Yep. I'd make a general statement that IMHO Center is the second most important position on an offense, right behind Quarterback.

    As far as the relative value of a good OL -- Just an example or two from the NFL--everybody knows about Marcus Allen, Ken Stabler, Bilitnikoff, Lester Hayes, the Stork, Jack Tatum, Lyle Alzado, Howie Long, etc. But those great Raiders teams were anchored by Art Shell, Jim Otto, Gene Upshaw, Bob Brown, ... -- A freakishly talented, and exceedingly mean, OL. Same with those great Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith Dallas Cowboys teams. They had an awesome OL that took control of the game. Here at UT, we've had that before, more than once or twice...

    Last edited: Jan 24, 2022
  5. Detective Shilala

    Detective Shilala 2,500+ Posts

    From what I have heard its the hardest unit on the team to develop into a cohesive unit. It takes a time and / or you better have depth to be able to plug guys in..

    Our offensive line has been a mess for well over a decade. with constant turnover in coaching staff and attrition. it never has a chance.

    Think of all the many QBs, WRs, and running backs we have had who seemed to have the potential but were just average after a couple of years in our system. Guys like Jerod Heard or Malcolm Brown or Jake Smith
    Now imagine them playing behind Bama's line...
    • Like Like x 1
    • poop poop x 1
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2022
  6. Statalyzer

    Statalyzer 10,000+ Posts

    Makes stuff like D'Onta Foreman's breakout year all the more impressive.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  7. El Sapo

    El Sapo Bevo's BFF

    Gave @Detective Shilala a like to counteract the poop because I came on here to pretty much say the same thing. Yes O-Line is important and ours has sucked for over a decade. Kthx bye
    • Like Like x 1
  8. HoffHorn

    HoffHorn 250+ Posts

    Look No further than Vince’s O- Line . Holy Cow were they GREAT!
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    • Agree Agree x 1
  9. baoklhorn

    baoklhorn 1,000+ Posts

  10. baoklhorn

    baoklhorn 1,000+ Posts

    Nice work Billy Dale. Offensive lineman really don't get the credit they deserve when the offense produces. Case in Point; That block by #63 Justin Blalock on that 4th and 5 play was critical for Vince to have a clear path to the corner.
    • Agree Agree x 1

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