Serious Football: The "Os" of Xs and Os

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The season is getting so close we can almost taste the buffalo chicken dip; we can practically smell the aroma of crisp fall air infused with bourbon hovering SEC tailgates, and what was that?  You heard the collision sound of pads and helmets, too?  

With just days left before the highly anticipated season arrives, it's time to send fluff home and get technical about serious football.

Today we are breaking down the Xs and Os of our beloved game-- well, just the "Os".  In case you took the summer off, this will be your refresher course so that next Thursday, Friday and Saturday you'll be fully primed to understand the players on the field.  

 And counting...

"Xs and Os",

Christie Leigh


The goal of the offense is to run, pass, or kick the ball over the end line or through the goalpost/up-rights to score points.



Offensive Linemen: The “O-Line,” consists of the players on the line of scrimmage. Their goal is to protect the ball-carrier while simultaneously creating gaps on the field where the ball-carrier can safely run through the opponent. The offensive linemen are the big guys.


The play starts with the center snapping the ball (passing the ball through his legs) to a teammate. Once he snaps the ball, he begins to hold off the oncoming opponents.


The guards do what it sounds like: They guard the quarterback, or whoever has the ball, from the opponent.


Two offensive tackles try to block the opponent before he gets to the quarterback, or the player with the ball.

Tight End

Tight end is a hybrid position between offensive lineman and wide receiver who is supposed to have the dual abilities of blocking linemen and receiving passes.

Wide Receiver

A wide receiver’s primary responsibility is to catch passes. He is wide in the formation and receives the ball.

Fullback/Running Back

The fullback either blocks for the halfback so he can run down the field, or the fullback blocks so that the quarterback can make an uninterrupted throw down the field.

Halfback/Running Back

The halfback lines up in the offensive backfield behind the fullback and the quarterback.  The halfback primarily runs the ball during running plays and can also be used as a wide receiver.


The quarterback takes the snap (receiving the ball from the center), and he can choose to hand the ball to the running back, pass the ball to an eligible receiver, or run the ball himself.