Although the spotlight rarely shines on the offensive line, the position is as important as any in football.
And as much as the Raiders linemen are working on technique, going through a series of one-on-one drills daily in practice against the defensive line in order to be at their best come game day, forging a bond is just as vital to success.
“We’re focusing on meshing together and creating a bond,” senior Nick Brahms said. “That is what matters as an offensive lineman. You have to be able to trust the guy next to you.”
Brahms understands that as well as anyone. The Auburn commit enters his final year determined to help the line build off what it accomplished a season ago when it helped Navarre roll up more than 4,000 yards of offense, including 3,060 on the ground.
He is one of two returning starters for the Raiders. The other is junior Darrell Hixon.
But the cupboard is hardly bare. Wesley Routh transferred in from rival Gulf Breeze where he was a starter while LaMarcus Smith and A.J. Neal also bring experience to the table.
“Even though we lost three seniors, we are going to have four seniors on our offensive line this year. We feel like we can be very solid up front,” Navarre head coach Jay Walls said. “Nick and Darrell are outstanding players who started last year but those other guys are solid and will do a great job.”
Brahms is confident the line will do its job as well, noting the return of Hixon is huge for the team as is the addition of Routh.
“We’re all working hard every day on the field and in the weight room,” Brahms said. “Things are going well and we’re ready to step up.”
The offensive line will be counted on to pave the way for a running attack that should be one of the best in the area, especially with North Carolina commit Michael Carter healthy again, and set the stage for success for a passing attack that should be much improved thanks to a cast of athletic and talented receivers.
Read more in the Aug. 4 edition of Navarre Press or subscribe online here.