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The Offensive Line Gets In Some Post-Practice Reps

Posted by Matt Terl on August 18, 2010 – 6:20 pm

A whole bunch of offensive linemen stayed behind today after practice,doing technique work and some individual drills. The group included all five presumed offensive line starters, as well as Chad Rinehart, Edwin Williams, and coaching intern Chris Samuels.

“We do that after every practice,” Derrick Dockery told me, “not just today. We have to, you know, lead this group. If we don’t do our job up front, we’re gonna have a tough season this year. We have to bounce back from the terrible season we had last year, giving up almost 50 sacks. We have to do better this year.”

So one of the ways they thought they might be able to achieve that was by deciding — “collectively, as a group,” Dockery says — to do extra technique work as often as possible.

“At the end of the day,” Casey Rabach said, “it’s always good to end on a little technique.”

Artis Hicks agreed. “It helps out a lot,” he said. “Any extra you can do definitely pays off in the end, and when you’re out there it’s kinda hard to pay attention to a lot of the fundamentals. Things are moving at 100 miles per hour, and you’ve got big guys in front of you. But when practice is over, you can stay out, take an extra few sets, and really kinda work on your craft a little bit.”

Which is good to hear, especially (as Dockery notes) after some of the performances last season. And, really, I figured that was the whole story — after a spirited practice, the offensive line made a point to get some extra work in. Everyone is happy. Hooray.

Then Hicks decided to explain Edwin Williams’s main role in the technique sessions, and that was clearly something that needed to be mentioned as well.
“I hate to say it,” Hicks said, “but Edwin’s a good guy and he lets us punch him a lot. We use him for sets and good target practice for our hands. And we flip around and let him do the same for us.”

Beating up on Williams, Hicks explained, offers several advantages that more traditional exercises don’t. “It helps with timing,” he said. “It’s one thing punching the bags. The bags don’t move. The bags, it’s a little bit of an unrealistic target, but when you get to punch a guy with a jersey on, with shoulder pads, you kinda get a different target. It’s more realistic, and it creates muscle memory.”

So, I asked, does Williams get anything in exchange for this mild abuse? A dinner? A bonus? Anything?

“Well,” Hicks said, laughing, “last week, I took Edwin to the barber shop with me and got him a free haircut from my barber up in Leesburg. So every week now, we’re making it a tradition that he and I go to the barber shop and I’ll take care of it.”

And, I asked, does that seem like a fair trade for the help he’s providing in place of a punching bag?

“Today,” Hicks asked, incredulous. “A barber shop up here? It’s like $30 bucks! I mean come on, $30 bucks a week extra, like, you know, for 5-6 punches? Hey, that’s not a bad trade.”

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