So I read a book a while back, by a guy name Michael Lewis (the same guy who wrote Moneyball, blame him for the obsession with OPS) entitled The Blind Side. The book is based on the importance of the left tackle in football, and tells the story of a boy named Michael Oher.
Michael is a poorer than poor boy in Tennessee who is ginarmois, but has never played football in his entire life. A coach convinces him to play his senior year, he turns out to be the the freak athlete who is massive enough to dominate but still have the skill and quickness to not get outrun. Long story short, he earns a scholarship to Ole Miss, plays football there, and this is now his senior season and he is the number 1 offensive lineman in the country according to rivals.com.
Footnote: Tools you need to be a dominant left tackle: Size+Speed+Skill+Agility+Hand Skills= About 5 guys in the world have the physical make up to be the dominant tackle of their generation (see Ogden, Pace, and Roaf).
I am a big fan of Oher’s, and actually own an autographed picture which I keep framed on my desk (I bought it last year on ebay for like 5 bucks!!).
Michael was not reason that I began to like the position though. I learned to appreciate LTs a few years back when the Chiefs acquired a best a man named Willie Roaf. I must admit, I question the acquisition. We got rid of Victor Riley, a production lineman, for an injury prone giant who walked liked an 80 year old man. Boy was I wrong.
I will never forget seeing Priest Holmes run that sweep left and have Big Willie just clearing anything that gets in his way. I do not know how he did, but as soon as that man stepped on the football field he moved like a deer running through a field. It was so smooth and graceful. As soon as he stepped off the field, it was like he needed a rascal or a walker. Maybe I will never understand.
Willie retired a few years ago, and now the Chiefs are in shambles, but the time we had together was great. Hopefully Branden Albert can develop into the successor that I can only dream of. I miss you Willie.
In the mean time, I have learned to enjoy the left tackle play of a true freshman here at the University of Missouri. His name is Elvis Fisher, and the red shirt freshman has had a lot to due with Mizzou’s dominance early this year. 4 years from now, he will be a day one draft pick.