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Getting into Position: Football

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Football has a lot of different positions one can play with 11 offensive and defensive players on the field at one time. It’s important to note though, that not all types of football have all these positions available.


Offense

Offensive Line

This position consists of tackles, guards, and a center. They are usually the largest offensive players and have the responsibility of protecting the quarterback and blocking defenders for the running back.

Running Back

The running back lines up in the backfield behind, or next to, the quarterback. Their primary responsibility is to take handoffs and then run as far up field as they can before getting tackled. They may also be responsible for catching passes and blocking defenders.

Tight End

This position is a hybrid of an offensive lineman and a wide receiver. They will line up on the end of the offensive line and either block with the line, or go out for a pass on any given play.

Quarterback

This player is often considered the captain of the offense. They handle the ball on almost every play and are responsible for handing the ball off to the running back, or passing the ball to one of their teammates. In older ages, the quarterback is responsible for relaying plays from the coach to their teammates and sometimes calls plays on their own.

Wide Reciever

These players are usually tall, fast, and specialize in catching the ball. They line up between the end of the offensive line and sideline, and are usually the primary targets of the quarterback’s passes. They are occasionally asked to run the ball or block defenders.


Defense

Defensive Line 

The defensive line usually consists of the biggest players on the defense and counterparts the offensive line. They consist of tackles and ends, and their primary responsibilities are stopping the running backs and trying to disrupt and sack the quarterback during passing plays.

Linebackers

These players line up behind the defensive line and are often the jack-of-all-trades on the defense. Depending on the play they can be responsible for rushing the quarterback, stopping the run, or covering a receiver.

Defensive Backs

These players consist of safeties and cornerbacks and either line up behind the linebackers or outside the defensive line near the sidelines. Their primary responsibility is covering wide receivers, but are also considered the last line of defense on every play.


Special Teams

Kicker

This player is responsible for kickoffs, extra points, and field goals. They need to be able to kick the ball off the ground - either off a tee or from the hands of the holder.

Punter

The punter usually lines up 15 yards behind the line of scrimmage. The punter is responsible for flipping the field, or setting up the opposing team’s offense deep in their own zone by kicking the ball down the field after their offense wasn’t able to convert a first down.

*Punters and kickers are usually not prevalent in the game of football until players reach the senior level, which is around the 12-14 year age mark.

Sports in this article

Football