Comebacks have long been the epitome of sports history. From the Buffalo Bills’ Steve Christie booting the 32-yard field goal to cap off ‘the comeback’ against the Houston Oilers to Tracy McGrady’s 13 points in 35 seconds to overcome the Spurs, every sport has witnessed the impossible.
A comeback was brewing for the Cru as they were overcoming a 21-3 deficit against the Wesley Wolverines last December. On a fourth and three, quarterback LiDarral Bailey and the offense were surging down the field, creating a miracle, but as he stepped to pass, he was hit from behind, incomplete.
A defender was able to overcome the protection of the offensive line and disrupt the pass attempt.
Head line coach Joe George said, “I don’t remember what the break-down was there, but we’ve put that behind us because we’re looking forward.”
With the new season, expectations are high for the team — unanimously picked to once again be the American Southwest Conference champions. The Crusaders picked up each of the 24 first-place votes, signaling that not only the UMHB nation, but its opponents as well, see the team as the forerunner this season.
To remain out in front, the team will rely on the men up front—the big dogs, the offensive line. While most fans are enamored with the quarterbacks and focused on where the ball is, they miss a vital part of the game. Down in the trenches the offensive linemen battle to keep the ball moving.
Without a solid performance from the line, it’s unlikely that the Cru will have any chance of winning.
Junior finance major Cody Lee plays offensive tackle.
He said “All of our goals are to win a national championship; it’s the standard that we are holding ourselves to.”
With each day being an opportunity to improve, the Crusader line knows the importance of taking care of every detail—”even in practice,” Lee said. “We want to practice like champions and to continue to work that way.”
The linemen are prepared for the season, and they know what it takes to be the leaders of a solid offensive attack. Senior EXSS major Sam Maxie plays offensive tackle, and after starting 13 games last season, he provides the talent and experience the team needs.
“We’ve got to come together. As soon as we have a lot of chemistry on the offensive line, that’s when things really start rolling,” Maxie said.
In a base set, there are five linemen working together to make sure that the players who score the points can get there in the first place.
“We want to be fundamentally sound, and when we’re fundamentally sound, then we are going to execute our offense,” George said.
The team proved their efficiency against Kean University on Saturday. Finishing with 517 total yards on offense, 313 of which came on the ground.
Crusader running back Darius Wilson tied the UMHB single-game touchdown record with four touchdowns, on top of his 165 rushing yards, and all made possible by his offensive line.