Discord-Logo+Wordmark-Color

D.R. Sim, Beat Writer
Banner Image by Andy Hamilton

If you laughed at the Vancouver Legion during the Season 14 Simulation Football league draft for selecting two offensive linemen in the second and third rounds, you’re not alone. But I’ve been wondering, are you still laughing now? The Draft took place on December 17, 2019. The Vancouver Legion drafted an offensive lineman with back to back picks. Everyone went crazy after the selection of Rylin Caudill who was drafted to play left tackle with their first pick. Everyone got crazier in the live stream chat during the third round when Vancouver selected Bobo Caudill to play right tackle. Both of these guys started as Copper players, which is the lowest tier in the SFL for a player to start at. To be honest with you guys, I was kind of surprised myself by the selections. The last team in the SFL to have star offensive lineman was the New York Sailors back in Season Six. If my memory is correct the Sailors signed two players; one at guard by the name of Pork-Chope Presly and a tackle named Riggs Hornish. We’ll just say that Season Six was the first and last season for these two offensive linemen, as the NY Sailors folded after the season ended.

The Vancouver Legion is off to one of the best records in Franchise history to start a season with a record of 8-1. With their win this week versus the Jacksonville Kings, they now have a franchise-best season with eight wins under their belt in a single season. I’ve been watching this team from afar and I have noticed that there is something different about this Season 14 Vancouver team – and I think I know what it is. Most would say that it’s the play calling, maybe the credit should be given to the Offensive Coordinator.. well, I hate to be the person to bring you bad news, but the play-caller is the same person that called plays last season. I’m not taking shots at the play-caller at all. If you compare the numbers from last season to this one, you will see the difference in the progress of these two linemen.
During the first eight games of Season Thirteen, the Vancouver Legion started the season with a 3-5 record compared to the Season 14 Vancouver that now has a winning record of 8-1. I spoke with owner Andy Hamilton, and he informed me that in Season 13 versus the Alaska Storm (now the Florida Storm), they converted a total of 7 sacks on quarterback Tom Pepper, who was the most sacked quarterback in the SFL. This sparked one of the reasons to draft Bobo and Rylin. Look back at the numbers of running back Sudo Nakai through the first eight games of the season. In Season Thirteen, Sudo had a total of 144 carries, 770 rushing yards, and a total of 5 touchdowns. If you look at those same statistics for Season Fourteen, there is a dramatic difference between the two seasons. Sudo Nakai, through the first eight games of Season 14, had a total of 156 carries, 1,045 rushing yards, and whopping 12 touchdowns, which leads the SFL. If you compare the rushing yards between the two there is a 275-yard difference. As of Week 8, Sudo was second in the league in rushing yard to Zack Sandlin, but Sudo has almost 100 fewer carries than the Sand-man.

When putting together a great offensive line you must have a solid base of great linemen. Vancouver has laid the foundation for what that solid base should look like for O-linemen in the SFL. Linemen have to develop trust for one another between all five of them. They have to develop characteristics of themselves as a unit and become effective to execute the duties of an offensive lineman and make sure that the quarterback is safe and protected from the over-aggressive defenses of the SFL.

I sat down with team owner Andy Hamilton along with Bobo and Rylin to get to know their method a little better.

Demond Simien: Andy, why did you draft two offensive linemen?

Andy Hamilton: I notice that the D-Line would get a lot of attention and beef-up with the roster expansion jumping from 12 roster players to 17 players on a team. One game versus the Alsaka Storm last season, Tom Pepper was sacked 7 times during that game. I knew I had to do something about the outcome.

Demond Simien: Was it your plan going into the SFL Draft to select two linemen?

Andy Hamilton: Yes, it was, I knew all along that I wanted to select these guys and we were very confident that we would be able to select both of them. These guys have been a great addition to the team. They’re the first ones to submit their player progressions each week. They both started as Copper players, they were low tiers and they have gotten better as the season continues to grow.

Andy went on to say that he would like to see more Offensive linemen in the SFL due to the success of Bobo, and Rylin Caudill.

Demond Simien: Many players here in the SFL all want to play skill positions, such as QB, RB, WR, TE, CB, and Safety. You, on the other hand, was drafted as an O-Lineman, can you inform me why did you take this route of playing a position that no one wants to play and not any of the skills positions listed above?

Rylin Caudill: I think most people want the spotlight but I prefer to be the silent backbone if that makes sense. Everyone knows that o-line is a thankless job, but I think it is the most important position on the field and thus the position for me!

Demond Simien: Silent backbone – awesome! that was part of my next question the game starts in the trenches. How do you feel about progressing your player from week to week?

Rylin Caudill: I think that it is a very important part of the league, players should have to be active each week so it makes sense.

Demond Simien: As a Tackle, you see a lot speedy DE’s in this league, Knowing that you’re the Anchor and “Blind side” protection for Tom Pepper of the O-line, does it bring you joy when you have done your assignment versus the DE’s of the SFL by not allowing a sack or a tackle for lose?

Rylin Caudill: Yes it does! it’s very gratifying to be able to stop these guys especially as a rookie who is new to everything it is nice to be able to say I belong in this league. and now that you say blindside it makes me feel like “Michael Oher” – hahaha!

Demond Simien: We have cover protecting the QB. How is it to see your player on the field creating holes for the star RB Sudo Nakai to run through them for a large gain on a run play?

Rylin Caudill: Its fun, I feel a sense of pride with my player and watching him do good, which makes me a little proud of myself and my other teammates which have also allowed him to succeed.

Demond Simien: And you, Bobo. Many players here in the SFL all want to play skill positions, such as QB, RB, WR, TE, CB, and Safety. You, on the other hand, was drafted as an O-Lineman, can you inform me why did you take this route of playing this position and not any of the skills positions listed above?

Bobo Caudill: As I began to learn more and more about the league, I realized how everyone wanted to play a skill position and I wanted to be different. I was talking to my son Rylin about it and a little light bulb went off and we thought “maybe OL!” Being as important a position as it is, we could make a difference quickly. It appears to be paying off too. More and more teams are now adding OL players and maybe Rylin and I paved the way for that.

Demond Simien: I have to say that you guys are trailblazers when it comes to OL – you’re trendsetters of the SFL. How do you feel about progressing your player from week to week?

Bobo Caudill: At first I didn’t understand it but the more I have had to learn and do it, the more sense it makes. I think it’s a great way to keep players engaged and active. I also depend on our coaches to help guide me in which progressions to turn in.

Demond Simien: As a Tackle, you see a lot speedy DE’s in this league, Knowing that you’re the Anchor and front side protection for Tom Pepper of the O-line, does it bring you joy when you have done your assignment versus these DE’s and not allowing a sack or Tackle for loss?

Bobo Caudill: For sure. I take great pride in knowing that our o-line is making a huge difference in QB protections. Last year Pepper was the most sacked QB in the league. Not this year, and I have to attribute that to our offensive line unit.

Demond Simien: We have cover protecting the QB. How is it to see your player on the field creating holes for the star RB Sudo Nakai to run through them for a large gain on a run play?

Bobo Caudill: It’s really awesome. I especially like it when we can get off our initial blocks and help tie up a linebacker downfield. For me, I enjoy pancaking a defender to Guelph Sudo get a few more yards.

Demond Simien: Awesome answers sir. I like the “Pancake” reference.

Rylin and Bobo Caudill, along with Andy Hamilton noticed that change was needed, not only with the Vancouver Legion but throughout the SFL as a whole. Andy and I both have talked several times before I wrote this article, and Andy has shared that he can see all five offensive line positions being a major factor in the future here in the SFL. I can remember when I first started playing football back in 1988 at the age of eight years old. I can still hear my coach saying that the game of football starts in the trenches with the linemen, this may not be the sexiest position to play but it’s the most important position to any team, the Offensive Line. Thank you, everyone, for taking the time out to read my first article.

Loading...