By BOB REDD
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
BLUEFIELD, Va. —
Many football experts believe that the key to a team’s offensive success lies with its offensive line. It is the line that opens holes for backs to squeeze through. It is the line that provides protection for the quarterback to make passes. It’s the line that gets out in front on the sweeps and makes the blocks that get the ball carrier into the second tier of defenders.
For the Graham G-Men Chase Asbury is the center and a key part of the offensive line. A three-year starter, it is Asbury who will snap the ball to get each play started and then provide the necessary blocks for the so-called skill position players.
“Our offensive line has four seniors and a lot of leadership,” Asbury said. “We’ve got four years under our belts, have done a lot of lifting, we’ve gotten stronger and we’ve gotten a lot quicker too.”
An All-Region selection last season, Asbury is a captain for the G-Men. Last year he and the line played in front of a quarterback, Spencer Sheets, who was a quarterback who liked to run. This year Colby Hill is more of a traditional drop-back passer and Asbury spoke of the transformation.
“It’s a change for the whole offensive line,” Asbury pointed out. “We’ve kind of talked about it and we’ve got to definitely change the protection a little bit, but with practice I think we’ll be able to do it.
“We’ve been getting some extra snaps in before practice, after practice, even every day during the off-season, just trying to get the snap count down.”
Defensively Asbury is making a change of his own, moving from a down line position to middle linebacker. Graham head coach Mike Williams spoke of the move.
“Chase made the switch in the off-season from defensive line to middle linebacker and he’s made that transition well. Having the summer 7-on-7s and so forth have really helped with that.
“The guys on this team are selfless. This senior class is strong and deep and you don’t have a lot of selfishness. They’re team-oriented. We’ve asked a few kids to move positions, that have been in another position for even several years and they’ve graciously made that change because they know that’s what’s best for the team.”
For Asbury the team is first and foremost and he and his fellow G-Men have one thing in sight.
“We’re hoping for a really deep run this year, nothing short of a title,” Asbury said. “We’re going to have to keep working hard every single day and make ourselves better and just stay a family.”
Asbury and the G-Men open the season Friday night against Bluefield at Mitchell Stadium.
— Contact Bob Redd at