By Arroyo Assistant Kenny Andrew
A quarterback’s role within a football team is very similar to that of a world leader. A quarterback is a spokesperson, a representative, an ambassador, and (more often than naught) the nucleus of the offense.
On average, there are 140 snaps per football game, roughly 70 per team. Before a quarterback can get through his cadence to get to that snap, within the six seconds from the broken huddle to the snap of the ball, decisions are made by one extremely important person, the center. The center regulates, coordinates, and motivates.
At times, no one but the offensive linemen, the offensive line coach, and (sometimes) the offensive coordinator know what calls are being made at the line of scrimmage before a snap. The center’s foremost role is to gather his teammates into a formation, a huddle. This, at times, can be a hefty task depending on the discipline of his teammates and the stature by which he carries himself. After a play is called in the huddle, the center is the first to arrive at the line of scrimmage. Once set, the fun begins.
First, recognizing of the defensive front. Second, recognizing the secondary. Third, recognizing your fellow linesmen’s confusion. Fourth, attuning the other four men. (Heaven forbid there is a lonely lost hybrid in at tight end.) These all must be taken care of within a matter of 3-8 seconds. The amount of anxiety felt on the first series of a football game in which a defense comes out in a front you have never seen or studied is indescribable. But, because a center is fully in tune with his offense and understands the concept of the plays, he can quickly problem solve and salvage to make the play work. It’s like drawing a play up in the sand, but, in five second… and we only worry about six defenders.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” When I played, I strove to achieve something great. That is to say, I had enough enthusiasm for every single player on my team. I took is upon myself to strive to be better and make those around me better than I ever could. A center’s MAIN role is to motivate. To motivate through enthusiasm is to make others feel what you feel through voice, through body language, through sheer drive. A center should run his team. It takes an army’s worth of character to be a leader like that.
Final Note : We’re not hikers. We’re centers. Thanks.
Kenny Andrew began playing flag football at my middle school under the reigns of Carlos Barajas and John Luque. Upon arrival at Arroyo he was suckered into being the freshmen center, simply because he was the only one that could snap. He would go on to become a member of the Mid Valley Sports “All Decade Team” and then on to a college career at Citrus College, Savannah State, and finally at La Verne College where he played his best football and was ALL-SIAC in 2008. He now coaches the offensive line at Arroyo along with Randy Twist.