Johnathan Higgins was just throwing out different nicknames until one stuck.
When “Million Dollar Line” was thrown out, the nickname resonated with the Bishop McGuinness offensive line and has become a symbol of the team.
“We definitely embrace it,” said left tackle Dan Christiansen about the nickname. “Say we're having a bad practice, obviously (assistant) coach (Bryan) Pierce will take out the line, saying we're playing like a one hundred-dollar line or one thousand-dollar line. It definitely makes us have to hold up our expectations.”
The moniker is used similar to the one for the Washington Redskins' offensive line during the 1980s and early 1990s. “The Hogs” helped Washington win three Super Bowl titles. But McGuinness head coach Justin Jones wanted to avoid that name simply because he feels his senior-filled offensive line is too athletic for that.
“It kind of started tongue-in-cheek, but it has grown into something we identify with, especially these guys,” he said. “It's a feather in their cap to be called the ‘MDL.'”
“MDL” features Christiansen, Higgins at left guard, Luke Raczkowski at center, Jonathan Olay at right tackle and Andrew Williams at right guard. Higgins, though, is getting the most attention in recruiting circles, and he recently attended camps at Tennessee and Vanderbilt.
Last season, the Irish lost in the Class 5A semifinals to eventual champion Carl Albert, and they know the offensive line will be crucial in their attempts to get past the semifinals, a round they've fallen in the past two seasons.
“They're the biggest part of our team, they're very tight-knit, very strong mentally and physically, and they're going to be good for our team this year,” senior quarterback Jacob Lewis said.
Jones said the emphasis this offseason has been building depth to allow some of the lineman who also play defense to catch a break.
That, in turn, has the Irish believing they have one of the best, if not the best, lines in Class 5A.
And they know what that declaration means.
“I definitely think if we're putting our name out there as the best offensive line in 5A, we're going to have a lot of challenges and we definitely have to make sure we bring it every day,” Raczkowski said.