It's hard to miss more than 18 tons of football fury, but lineman are the most overlooked part of the game.
Well, Bixby's lineman camp puts focus on them. “We like to think offensive linemen and defensive linemen are where the game's won, and so this is a big deal,” said Bixby head coach Loren Montgomery.
This is the 14th year of the Eastern Oklahoma Offensive Line Camp run by Montgomery and Broken Arrow's David Alexander, a ten-year NFL veteran.
“We want to celebrate these guys,” said Alexander. “The only people that watch these guys on Friday nights [are] their mom[s] and their offensive line coach until you really need an offensive line. Then, the quarterback coach wants to know what the offensive line's doing and everybody else.”
Bixby center Oliver Pate says the camp is not just high-intensity, it's also fun. “It's great because I'll go to other camps to watch, and I think the intensity here, since we don't get as much credit as the skinny guys do, is a lot better,” he explained. “We all compete. We have great coaching, [and] it's just real fun."
Each coach teaches a little bit differently. They say as long as the players pick up something they can take to the fall, the camp is a success. "What we look for, especially from our players at Bixby, is to get a nugget,” said Montgomery. “Maybe a way that Jerry Ostroski or Jamie Sumner will say something or phrase something that clicks or makes sense, and then just on top of that tons of reps."
Hopefully, the reps in the summer heat will lay the foundation for big wins in the fall.