Offensive linemen – the poster children for the underappreciated – know there is really only one way to get noticed by the masses.
And it’s not good.
Holding, offense, number …..
“So the only time during the game you hear our name over the loud speaker is for something embarrassing?” asked Lake Highlands (Dallas) offensive tackle Kent Perkins. “C’mon man, that’s not even fair. Do you know how embarrassing it is to get called for holding? That’s the most embarrassing thing in sports to me.”
Good luck finding any lineman who will dispute that claim.
“It usually happens after a big gain, too,” said Lemont Township (Lemont, Ill.) offensive tackle Ethan Pocic. “Because the reason the running back picked up so many yards was because you were holding. It sucks big time.”
We caught up with a handful of linemen from around the country and had them dish on how they cope with the horror of seeing that evil yellow flag hit the ground after a long gain. Here's what they had to say:
KENT PERKINS, Lake Highlands (Dallas), 2013
Committed to: Texas
The Initial Reaction: “I feel kinda sick because I’m so embarrassed. I mean, it’s the worst. It really sucks. You just look over at the locker room and think about running over there. Everybody’s mad at you and you just feel like the sorriest player on the team.”
How to play it off: “Well, I’m all about denial so I just put my hands up like it’s the worst call ever in the history of calls. Oh yeah, I know that I was holding, but in that moment I have to play it off like the ref just made a bad call. It’s the only way.”
ROB PAINE, Berkeley (Tampa, Fla.), 2013
The Initial Reaction: “It’s terrible because you know that the running back worked really hard to run all of those yards and because of you it’s coming back. It’s a lonely feeling. You just don’t even know how to act. The worst part is the few seconds when everyone’s trying to figure out who the flag is on and you know it’s you. So you’re just waiting for the worst embarrassment feeling to come. It’s really bad.”
How to play it off: “I just go ahead and tell my teammates that it’s my fault. Not that they didn’t already know that but I just say it anyway. Then I tell them that it won’t happen again and I try to move on. I think the best way to play it off is to just take the awkward feeling and try and get to the next play.”
KYLE BOSCH, St. Francis (Wheaton, Ill.), 2013
Committed to: Michigan
The Initial Reaction: “It sucks because it kind of looks like you’re not very good. It’s like you had to hold the guy because you didn’t know of any other way to stop him. That’s the most embarrassing part to me because the guy just keeps saying ‘Yeah you better hold me!’ Then you’ve got to take the walk of shame back to the huddle and face the other 10 guys who are annoyed with you. It’s so embarrassing.”
How to play it off: “Well, the good news is that since you’re probably one of the biggest guys on the field no one’s gonna say anything to you after the holding call. So what I do is keep the mad face when I go back to the huddle like if anybody says anything, I may just snap. That works for me all the time.”
ETHAN POCIC, Lemont Township (Lemont, Ill.), 2013
Committed to: LSU
The Initial Reaction: “The first thing I think is ‘Dang!’ It’s like the worst feeling in the world. You know that big play is coming back and you’ve really just messed your team up. You kinda just want to get away for a few seconds. I try and forget about it, but that’s pretty much impossible.”
How to play it off: “What I do is whether I did or didn’t actually hold on the play I tell my coach that the ref is just completely wrong. I mean I keep on saying it until my coach tells me just forget about it and go on to the next play. Then I hope he just forgets when he’s watching the game film afterward.”