The Center of Attention
The center is the quarterback of the offensive line. Usually similar to guards, they are responsible for making the calls at the line that decide protection. Is jersey number 45 or 55 the “mike,” the middle linebacker? Does it look like a blitz is coming? Will one of the defensive lineman not covering me come try to knock me out of the play? Are there two angry linebackers “sugaring” in front of me, looking to run me over? Oh yeah, you also have to deliver a catchable snap. As simple as it sounds, it can be difficult to snap, move, and block in September games in Texas while weighing 300 pounds.
Incumbent center Erik McCoy has moved to guard, by reports coming out of practice, and replacing him should be Colton Prater (6-foot-4, 295 pounds). Prater started 12 games as a freshman, truly a trial by fire, and only missed one game due to injury. McCoy was seemingly having trouble with his snaps, and Aggies will see how Prater can get the ball to the quarterback effectively. If he can snap as well as he could block, the center position is in good hands this year.
The main backup if Prater goes down could be a return of Erik McCoy to the spot, or sophomore Austin Anderson could take over. As a freshman, Anderson (6-foot-4, 297 pounds), saw time in several games and should be a serviceable, at least, as a backup. He should see more time this year, especially if Texas A&M is blowing teams out. Prater may be the solid starter, but Anderson is no slouch and may become a starter by the time the year is out.
All in all, the Aggie offensive line should be in a good spot this upcoming year to help Trayveon Williams and whomever the quarterback is going to be to succeed. Good line play is the basis for victory in any conference, and the Aggies have some current and budding stars. This should take a lot of pressure off the quarterback, who will be able to make plays better without the defense in his face every time he tries to throw the ball.