Each week Hart’s offensive line has a sack-free performance, quarterback JT Shrout has a special reward for the guys protecting him.
Breakfast burritos from Jimmy Dean’s.
“It was my dad’s idea actually, but it’s been working,” Shrout, who started the tradition after the win over St. Bonaventure win in September, said. “A little incentive for them to do a little bit better.”
Little by little, the Indians offensive line has been improving. It’s currently comprised of Marc Caporal at left tackle, Daniel Tristian and Tommy Adame alternating at left guard, Nathan Bradder at center, Gabriel Hatley at right guard and Diego Montes at right tackle.
The lineup has been shuffled to find the ideal mix, and continues to change as injuries occur.
“We’ve tried to find the right combinations,” said coach Mike Herrington. “Unfortunately we’ve had some injuries and so we’ve worked guys in and out and right now we’re Jake Jaramillo has been out and we’re again trying to find a good combination that works.”
The Indians are used to adversity, though, especially after a tumultuous season last year. At one point, in a game against Downy, then-starting quarterback Nick Moore was sacked 10 times.
This year, instead of blocking for the unpredictable dual-threat Moore, the line is dealing with Shrout, who tends to be more calculated but can scramble when the moment calls for it.
“It’s all the same schemes, but with Nick you have a higher running threat,” Bradder said of the difference between field generals.
Throughout the first eight games this season, Hart’s offensive line has allowed seven sacks. They have a tough task ahead of them, however, when they take on Saugus on Friday.
“Saugus has given us problems on the offensive line year in and year out,” Herrington said. “…I don’t know if we can stop their blitzes all the time, but we need to hold them off a little bit and give JT time.”
Each player on Hart’s line is ready for the challenge and the opportunity to improve even more.
“We’re just trying to stay away from the mental errors and just play our game,” Bradder said. “…Just do whatever the play calls for and we should be good.”
The Indians play Saugus at 7:30 p.m. at College of the Canyons on Friday.
While the offensive line might not receive praise and adulation for their performance against the Cents, there is always the promise of breakfast burritos.
“They’re the hardest workers on the team,” Shrout said. “They’re in the trenches every week and they’re probably the most tired players because we have a lot of them going both ways and then opening holes for (running back) Ben (Rosen).”