Football Offensive Line

Football Offensive Line

Offensive Line

The offensive line in football is a group of five players on the offense who position themselves along the line of scrimmage at the beginning of every down. Even though many wide receivers also line up along the line of scrimmage, they are not included in this group. 

Offensive Line Positions and Responsibilities

The five positions on the offensive line include:

Offensive Line Roles and Responsibilities

The offensive line is responsible for:

Football Center

Football Center

The center is the lineman in the middle of the offensive line. They stand opposite the nose tackle of the defensive line (or two center linemen in certain formations) and are responsible for blocking and snapping the ball to the quarterback. The center is the only player that can enter the neutral zone before the snap or it will result in a penalty called encroachment.

Football Left Guard

Football Left Guard

The left guard is an offensive lineman to the left of the center. They are typically positioned opposite the right defensive tackle of the defensive line. Offensive guards should be strong blockers so that they can hold their spots and clear routes for ball carriers.

Football Right Guard

Football Right Guard

The right guard is an offensive lineman to the right of the center. He typically stands opposite the left tackle of the defensive line. Offensive guards should be talented and strong blockers to hold their spots and clear routes for ball carriers.

Offensive Tackle

An offensive tackle is one of the three main classifications of offensive linemen. There are two different tackles on the offensive line, one on each side of the guards. They are referred to as offensive tackles rather than just tackles because there are also tackles on defense called defensive tackles.

Tackles are generally the biggest and most athletic of linemen, allowing them to push away the best defenders on opposing teams. The two offensive tackles are referred to as left tackles and right tackles.

Football Left Tackle

Football Left Tackle

The left tackle is an offensive lineman on the left-most side of the offensive line. The left tackle is usually considered the most important blocker on the offensive line because they protect the quarterback’s blind side (assuming the quarterback is right-handed).

Football Right Tackle

Football Right Tackle

The right tackle is an offensive lineman on the right-most side of the offensive line. Right tackles are generally one of the most valuable players on the offensive line, and they protect left-handed quarterback’s blind sides.


football gaps

The spaces in between each of the five offensive linemen are known as gaps. Gaps are used in plays to describe what area the ball carrier should run through, or what area an offensive linemen should focus on blocking.

Each gap has a different name based on the relation to the center. The two gaps in between the center and guards are known as the “A-gaps.” The gaps in between the guards and tackles are known as the “B-gaps.” If there is a tight end or two in the offensive formation, the gaps in between the tackles and tight ends are known as the “C-gaps.” Finally, if there is an additional player on the line outside of the tight ends, the gap outside of the tight ends is known as the “D-gap.”

Passing Pocket

The offensive line counters the defensive line and creates an enclosed area called the pocket for the quarterback to stand in. A strong offensive line shields the quarterback from being hit by defensive players, allowing him enough time to make a good pass or handoff. The main objective of the offensive line on passing plays is to protect the pocket.

False Start

A false start happens when a player crosses the line of scrimmage before the snap. It is one of the most common penalties called on offensive linemen. Linemen must be careful not to step over the scrimmage line before the snap, or they will be called for a false start penalty that results in a loss of 5 yards.


What is an offensive lineman in football?

In football, an offensive lineman is any blocking player on the offensive team who lines up along the line of scrimmage. Offensive lineman are the main shield in keeping the quarterback from being sacked. Even though they also line up along the line of scrimmage, wide receivers are not considered offensive lineman and instead are skill players alongside running backs and the quarterback.

What is the O Line in football?

In football, the O Line is a term for the offensive line. The five players who make up the offensive line include the center, the left guard, the right guard, the left tackle, and the right tackle. The center leads the offense from the middle while both guards and tackles help block their side of the field while the ball is run by the ball carriers.

What does the offensive line do in football?

In football, the goal of the offensive line is to block for their team’s ball carriers and protect the quarterback. The center guards the middle, the left guards and tackles block the left half of the defense, and the right guards and tackles block the right half of the defense. While the offensive line blocks, the quarterback should be able to receive the ball and rush it themselves or distribute it to one of the running backs or wide receivers via a pass or handoff.