Jude Roger moves from right guard to left tackle this season.
At 6-foot-4, Jude Roger (center of picture) will play left tackle and will be the tallest offensive lineman on the VC squad.
Protecting the ‘Blind Side’: Roger takes on new role on Vermilion Catholic’s offensive line
Some would say the offensive line’s left tackle is one of the most important positions on the field. Most coaches place their best and smartest lineman at that position.
Vermilion Catholic head coach Broc Prejean is not about to buck the football system. In his first year at the school, he inherited an offensive line with only one returning starter. That one person is senior Jude Roger. Roger played right guard last year.
The position of left tackle was made famous thanks to the movie “The Blind Side.” In the film, it stated that the left tackle position is the quarterback’s best friend. The left tackle’s responsibility is to make sure no one comes from behind and tackles the quarterback when his back is turned.
One of the first offensive moves Prejean made is moving Roger from right guard to left tackle in search for linemen.
Roger fits the left tackle mode.
• A left tackle has to have good footwork. Check. Roger is slim, making him fast on his feet.
• A left tackle must have good hand placement, so he can fight off a defender. Check. Roger, at 6-4, has one of the longest arm spans on the team.
• A left tackle must have good leverage and balance. At 6-4, Roger will be taller than 90 percent of the defensive linemen he will face.
• A bonus for a left tackle is to have brains. Check. Roger made a 30 on his ACT and plans to major in mechanical engineering at the Louisiana Tech after high school.
“He has the most experience up front, and his length and strength lends him to be more of a tackle than a guard,” said Prejean. “He is our tallest and longest lineman. It is nice to have a guy with experience taking care of Drew Lege’s blindside.”
Lege is VC’s four-year quarterback who has thrown for more than 6,000 yards in three years at a starter. If Lege goes down with an injury this year, it would be a big loss for the team.
“I am playing left tackle because I am a returner, and Coach wants to make sure I can keep our quarterback safe,” said Roger.
Learning a new position is hard enough, but throwing in the new head coach’s new offensive scheme makes it twice as challenging. Roger is also dealing with not having anyone on his left side. Last year, he played right guard, so he was surrounded by a center on his left side and a right tackle.
This year, the offensive line has five seniors, who played part-time last year.
“It is different having new linemen, plus, we have a whole new play scheme,” said Roger. “I try to advise the younger guys, but there are times where I am still learning the play scheme. The line is learning together, and we are helping each other out.”
The rest of VC’s linemen are Dayton Dubois at left guard, E.J. Chiasson at the center position, Trimmy Broussard at right guard, Josh Listi at right tackle, and Jacob Noegel at tight end.