When snapping the ball to the quarterback, the player who snaps the ball is called the 'center'. The center plays in the middle of the offensive line and is tasked with making and calling out reads to the quarterback, usually relating to linebackers and the defensive line. If the ball is being snapped to a holder for a field goal or a punter for a punt, the player snapping the ball is called the 'long snapper'. Centers and long snappers must be very accurate when snapping the ball or risk a fumble on a bad snap. After the snap, the play begins and the center must block with the offensive line to protect the quarterback and running backs.
A hike, also known as a snap, is the term for putting the ball into play at the start of a scrimmage down by the offensive center. The offensive center will hike, or snap, the ball to the quarterback signifying the start of play by throwing the ball through his legs. He is not allowed to hike it to either side of him. The quarterback lets the center know when to snap the football by saying a certain word or slapping his hands together.