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Being an offensive lineman 'all guts, no glory'

By Jake Trotter Published: August 24, 2008

"You feel like you're doing the dirty work while everyone else is getting the glory,” Cooper said. "It's really all guts, no glory.”

Lack of recognition isn't even the dirtiest element of playing offensive line.

"Down in the trenches, it's like nowhere else,” Williams said. "It's probably the roughest part of the roughest sport there is. You take a beating day in day out. You get used to it, but it's real tough down there.”

Said Robinson, "We like to smash guys. That's the job, and we take pride in it.”

In the trenches, cuts and bruises are commonplace. So are sprained ankles and broken fingers.

"You have to go out there and try to hurt them because they're in there trying to hurt you,” Walker said. "We don't go out there and injure anyone with cheap shots, but we want to be physical.”

Said Cooper, "Guys are always trying to get away with this or that or take little cheap shots. And you're scratching and clawing for every inch, every yard.

"It's definitely dirty. But I wouldn't have it any other way.”

Oklahoma offensive linemen Branndon Braxton (front), Phil Loadholt (from left), Trent Williams, Jon Cooper, Duke Robinson and Brandon Walker aren't the ones who draw fan interest, but they're one of the Sooners' strengths. By Chris Lansberger, The Oklahoman

‘Twisting, pulling, pinching, eye gouging'

Just how tough is it to be a college offensive lineman? We asked players around the league about what it's really like.

"When our guys make the newspapers for scoring touchdowns, that's our glory; that's when we know that we did our jobs. The worst is when there's a loose ball and a dogpile. Talk about a dirty job — the stuff that goes on in there is X-rated. There's twisting, pulling, pinching, eye gouging and pretty much whatever guys can get their hands on they pull.” — Travis Schneider, offensive lineman, Texas A&M

"When DeMarco (Murray) runs for a touchdown, we feel better than he does.” — Duke Robinson, offensive lineman, Oklahoma

"Someone else can bust an assignment, maybe in the backfield, but we get the blame. ... You learn to take it and not complain about it.” — Trent Williams, offensive lineman, Oklahoma

How I do what I do

Jon Cooper explains what it's really like when you're working the dirty job of being an offensive lineman:

"There's a lot that goes on up front, a lot of hitting and punching.

"Guys are always trying to get away with this or that or take little cheap shots.

"You're scratching and clawing for every inch, every yard.”


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