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Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

OPINION: Men’s Basketball just won’t back down
Abigail Taylor, Contributing writer • February 27, 2024

Making time for the O-line

2014+offensive+linemen+pose+for+their+team+picture
2014 offensive linemen pose for their team picture

WOFFORD’S OFFENSIVE LINE PAVES THE WAY FOR OFFENSIVE SUCCESS —

It could be said that most football coverage is focused on the more glamorous positions on the field. Groups like running backs, quarterbacks and linebackers seem to receive the greater load of the media’s attention. Off the field without their helmets, shoulder pads and frequently called numbers, however, these media favorites blend in — but this is not so for the Wofford offensive line.

Even around campus, they move as a unit, wearing their O-Line t-shirts. This group is the reason running backs have holes to run through, quarterbacks have time to throw, and linebackers have time to rest up on the sidelines for another series. The O-Line make the offense happen.

The O-line is the only position group on the team with their own t-shirts. They’re a sign of solidarity and commitment to their role in the team’s success, but they aren’t just handed out. The O-Line has to earn the shirts.

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“The O-Line t-shirts are a tradition that started over a decade ago,” says T. J. Chamberlin, a junior captain of this year’s O-Line unit. “We take pride in coming up with a slogan that fits our unit and that everyone agrees on. This year’s motto is ‘Are you surprised by my size?’ We work hard for our shirts, and it is an honor to wear them knowing that we earned it.”

While the team lost two tough games to Gardner Webb and Georgia Tech, the offense has yet to slow down. Through four games last season, the Terriers averaged 305.5 yards a game. This season, they have pound- ed opponents by averaging 410.8 yards per game. Part of the reason for all this offensive success is how well this offensive line has played together.

“We build chemistry by playing and watching countless hours of film together in order to be on the same page with our line calls,” says Chamberlin. “We also spend a lot of time together, whether it’s going to a movie as a group or going to go get a milkshake together. We have to know that the guy playing next to us has got our back, and we have his. We are one big family.”

A particular difference compared to last year’s team is that there have been more passing attempts by the 2014 Terriers. Through four games last year, the ball was thrown 49 times compared to 52 times this year. That isn’t a huge difference, but it is important to identify the situation that Coach Mike Ayers’ team faced during the first two games of last year. Versus Baylor and The Citadel, Wofford was behind by double digits late and was forced to throw the ball in order to score quickly. That has not been the case in 2014.

“We have really stressed the fundamentals this year, which has helped us master the technique necessary to pass block properly and not get beat,” says Chamberlin on the team’s new found balanced offense. “Everyday in practice we spend a good bit of time focusing on handling blitz pickup and defensive line stunts.”

According to Chamberlin, the O-Line is all business on the field, but that couldn’t be further from the truth when they’re off.

“Even though we are serious on the field,there’s never a dull moment with this group of guys,” says Chamberlin. “We are probably one of he funniest groups on the field.”

This group has taken a huge leap forward this year in becoming one of the best units that Wofford has had. Listen for more ruckus to be made by this rowdy crew in the coming games.

— Kyle Hoffman

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