Offense in Football:
The offense is the unit who starts the play with the ball. They are generally broken up into the offensive line, the backs and the receivers. However, there are several of each of these types of positions and, again, they each have specialties. For example, the offensive line has a center (yes, the guy in the middle) and he is the one who gives the ball to the quarterback in that uber awkward position of bending over and passing it back between his legs (called hiking the ball). He has many other responsibilities like keeping the other team away from whomever has the ball, blocking, identifying a blitz, etc. The offensive line is made up of the center, 2 guards and 2 tackles and will always have these 5 players. Without a good “O-line”, nothing good will ever happen with the offense. However, they are not the names you hear called over the loud speaker. They are truly the unsung heroes of the sport.
The backs are some of the most well known players on the team as they are the ones who touch the ball most often. Let’s start with the quarterback. He touches the ball essentially every play from offense. He is the one who let’s the rest of the team know what they are going to do for that play. He is most famous if he can throw the ball really well and is mostly judged by his passing abilities. Sometimes, they can be good runners too, which is probably more important at the college level than the pros. Think of the quarterback as the captain of the ship. If the team does well, he is applauded, if not, he goes down with the sinking ship.
The other backs are your running backs which can have several names (tailback, fullback, halfback, A-Back, B-Back) depending on the style of offense and where they line up when the play is called. More of that will be discussed in the Know the Details section.
The receivers on offense are generally the ones who catch the ball when the quarterback throws it. They are called wide receivers, outs, slot receivers and tight ends. You have to be ‘eligible’ on a given play to be allowed to catch the ball. Again, something we’ll discuss more in the details section. These guys need to be fast but they also block a lot too for their other teammates. In fact, a tight end is one of those guys that is a hybrid player between an offensive lineman (big and strong) and a receiver (fast and can catch). This is definitely Melissa’s favorite position on the field.