The Will to Compete: The Offensive Line
As an offensive line, our overarching goal in 2023 has been to compete at a higher level. Focuses have been to gain a more complete understanding of the playbook, get stronger and more athletic, and build a brotherhood in our room that can lead our team.
We have been able to get stronger and faster with a new focus on speed and acceleration in our new strength and conditioning program so far this year. Our conditioning training focuses on shorter bursts and change of speed movements. As an offensive lineman, acceleration bursts where we are tied to a weighted sled have helped me and others feel more explosive off the line. This training has helped many new members of the team, both on the offensive line and in other position groups, prepare to play ball at a high level. It has been great for returning missionaries and high school graduates as for transfers from other schools around the country.
Training in the off-season allows us to compete with others on our own team in a healthy and effective way. An athlete can never reach his or her highest potential without competition. We learn in the scriptures that “there is opposition in all things.” When there is competition and pressure, something or someone that is opposing our success, within a team, it brings out the best in each of its members. It motivates us to go farther than we have before, in order to win, whether it be competing in a foot race, in a bench press competition or even how fast we can finish our workout.
Intertwined with success in these small competitions during workouts, as well as success in competition in practice, is dominance. Consistent success in competition creates a feeling of dominance. That is the feeling that every athlete craves. It’s what motivates us to work and practice most days of the year. We are taught to compete in all we do. It is our nature, and it is present in every aspect of our lives.
This competition carried over from winter workouts to spring practices. Obviously there is the most competition between the offense and the defense during practice. There is also a lot of healthy competition between players within position groups. This is what allows us to grow as players and grow together as brothers. In the O-line room, it does not drive us apart but rather brings us together. For newer players to the team it generates great respect for those ahead of us and makes us want to be like those whom we practice with. With transfer students, competition creates brotherhood, which is essential to an O-line’s success and necessary as a teammate and member of the BYU family. For the older veterans, competition within the same position group refines and sharpens the edge. Consistent success asserts dominance which brews confidence, which in my opinion is the greatest and most powerful element of being an athlete.
Throughout competition in the spring ball season, many players have been able to make a name for themselves among the locker room. Kaden Chidester is one of them. The 6 ‘8 freshman is putting on size and strength, squatting over 450 pounds. Weylin Lapuaho, a transfer from Utah State, has made a big impact on the O-line. He is a great teammate with the desire to dominate. Ian Fitzgerald, transfer from Missouri State, is another great addition to the room. Peter Falaniko, a second year guy, has progressed a lot and continues to compete everyday in the weight room and on the field.
Many of us are excited to compete for the opportunity to be on the field for BYU. There are so many players with great potential, and with the amazing coaches we have, we are all excited to progress and compete as an offensive line and an offensive force this year.