Perfecting the position: Cathedral offensive line takes pride in clearing way for backs
Published 12:06 am Monday, October 27, 2014
NATCHEZ — Cathedral head coach Ron Rushing isn’t known for running the football, but he hasn’t had an offensive line like this before.
Jacob Hamilton, Edwin Byrne, Nic Webb, James Alan Coley, Robert Hargrave and Will Wallace have helped transform an offense that was once a prolific passing attack, into a ground and pound team.
“We’ve thrown it in the past, but as a signal caller it is a lot easier when you can run the football and not have to throw every down,” Rushing said. “You have the schemes that you do, but you have to adjust with the talent that you have. Running the football fits us a lot better than it has in the past, and it has been a blessing.”
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The line, nicknamed “The Moving Company,” has helped Cathedral run over opponents en route to a 7-1 record this year, and they take pride in that.
“They’ve taken on the attitude this year of run behind us, we want you to run behind us,” Rushing said. “They are a confident close-knit group, and I think that brings a lot of the success that we’ve had.”
And the solid play of the line has allowed Rushing to become comfortable with making the transition to the run.
“We’ve got some good size and experience,” he said. “They are smart and understand schemes. I feel pretty confident to be able to run the football behind them.”
While players who typically score touchdowns receive all the glory, the Cathedral offensive line realizes that without them, it wouldn’t be possible.
“Hard work pays off,” Hamilton said. “Normally, you see all the backs getting the attention, but we are the ones making it happen.”
Even though they may not be in the spotlight, the line enjoys seeing the skill players succeed.
“I’m happy because I feel like I did something right,” Webb said.
Hargrave, on the other hand, enjoys getting a chance to lay down a block when Dee Fleming gets the ball.
“I know on certain plays Dee is going to cut back and reverse field,” Hargrave said. “It gives me a chance to crack back on somebody. I love it.”
Another thing the line takes pride in is protecting their quarterback, Wyatt Boothe.
“He’s a good friend,” Coley said. “He never blames anything on us.”
“He’s not cocky either,” Hamilton added. “He is a good teammate.”
But most importantly is the bond shared between the linemen themselves, one that has proved strong as ever.
“We argue at times, but we get over it,” Hargrave said.
“I’ve never been closer with a team than I have been with the team this year,” Webb added.
With a new offensive approach, the big men up front have been able to enjoy a chance to get down field and clear the way.
“When we pass you’re just sitting back and blocking, but sometimes you like to actually go out and hit somebody,” Hargrave said. “So when you run the ball, it gives you that chance.”
Coley said he likes the diversity it gives the offense.
“I was here in the eighth grade when we threw the ball for like 500 yards a game,” he said. “It is nice seeing your quarterback on film having all the time in the world to throw, but considering we have been a passing team, it gives us diversity. We can pound it, and we can pass it.”
With playoffs quickly approaching, the Moving Company has their eyes on the prize — a state title.
“We want to get that ring and hold the trophy up,” Hamilton said.
And if they were to do so, they could very well be the best offensive line Rushing has had in his arsenal.
“I think overall it is,” he said. “I’ve had some good linemen before, but I think as a total unit, this is as good as I’ve ever had.”