Dear Football Mom,
We are about fed-up with the favoritism our head coach lavishes on a few certain players. Our son is an offensive lineman and not only does coach snub him, but most of the boys who are playing on the OL. He is always with the quarterback, wide receivers, and running backs, or helping the defense during practice and never checks on or spends time with the offensive line. We are about ready to go talk to the athletic director or the principal, but are afraid it will make matters worse.
What is your advice?
So, you feel that your son and the offensive line is being treated like a second fiddle by your head coach. I hear ya. Let’s see if we can get this little thing in perspective and look at the difference between the pickin’ and a grinnin’.
You may not know of the famous conductor Leonard Bernstein, but he was once a purty big deal in Hollywood. He wrote the scores for West Side Story, Rear Window, and On the Town staring Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra, to name a few. A reporter once asked him, in regards to his orchestra, “What’s the most difficult instrument to play?”
“Second fiddle,” he replied, and added, “if no one plays second, there’s no harmony.”
The same goes for the offensive linemen on a football team. If there is no protection for the quarterback, or holes made for running backs, then there is dang-sure no harmony on that football team! Without the offensive line, the quarterback and his accompaniments are useless. No way can he get his job done by pitching the ball, or getting his balls airborne or in the hands of any running backs. Without the second fiddle (the OL) there is no harmony, no rhythm, no tune, and no way to move the ball forward, much less hurling it to wide receivers for touchdowns before the quarterback’s backside meets grass by a brood of defensive guys out for blood.
Offensive linemen are a peculiar bunch. The dream of an OL coach would be to have a group of guys up front who are tightly woven like a string of pearls. Then add a perfectly performed precision ballet by moving in sync with one another, creating a barrier that no defense could break. These guys spill their guts every time the ball is snapped, only to receive little glory for the battle. Have you ever heard an announcer praise and call out an offensive lineman’s name for that marvelous pancake blocking? Maybe ever so often, but it’s gotta be a mighty-darn special block and usually down field, not off the line of scrimmage. The neutral zones are the most physical blocks—the more athletic blocks are down field. Either way, blocking is a rough fiddle to strum. These dudes are the most unselfish players on the team.
I do a lot of reading between the lines within the questions we receive, and this question is no different. If I had to guess, I suppose head coach has a lot of notes he’s trying to make into melodies, and his time is already split coaching and drilling the quarterback and wide receivers, making sure they know how to run his routes and understand his game plans. Checking on his defense to get them ready to stop the next opponent and execute his game plan for that to happen, is probably second nature to him. He’s checking his song sheet so his team ends up on the same page of music. I do believe that’s kinda what you’d want in a coach.
He’s not a babysitter—he’s orchestrating a perfect harmony for his team, and that requires focus where the trouble spots are to hit the keys just right. I suspect you are a winning team this season, and he’s doing all he can to keep it that way.
Your coach may be from the offensive side of the ball, meaning he played quarterback in college or whatever, and he’s teaching what he knows. He also may have a lot of trust in his offensive line coach. Maybe they worked together to craft their offense strategy over the summer, and coach has complete confidence in this position coach. If I had to bet, I would bet the offensive line is looking great in games, on film, or in practice, and y’all are headed for a crescendo season. Coach feels his time is better spent honing drills with the ball carriers. He’s not needed on the OL. That’s a good thing. That means your son and his teammates are nailing their assignments.
Hear me on this. Whether or not he is from the offensive side of the ball, he is well aware of how valuable his second fiddle, the OL, really is. I don’t believe for a second he’s playing favorites; he’s just one guy trying to make the most out of the time and the talent he’s got, and he’s not about to micro manage the OL, because there are no flat notes being played out there.
If you do decide to go to the AD or the principal, you may end up with nothing more than the cat and the fiddle. Wouldn’t that put a knot in the cow’s tail as he jumped over the moon?