KEARNEY, Neb. (KSNB) - In a normal world football teams would be gearing up for voluntary workouts in June. That will not be the case for the Nebraska-Kearney football team with their weight rooms closed until at least July.
When it comes to lifting weights, no position is it more important than for offensive linemen, who are required to be powerful and big to play the position. Without their school's equipment it has been a struggle for some lineman on the Lopers.
"The weight room is where you develop as an offensive lineman and without that a lot of younger guys are going to struggle, maybe coming into fall camp," UNK offensive tackle, Corey Hoelck said.
On top of lifting weights, maintaining their size is another important aspect to the position.
"You know we get back into fall camp and they open the cafe for us. We're eating there three or four times a day," UNK offensive lineman Kooper Reece said. "There is times you really have to force feed yourself. "
Offensive linemen are known for their size and strength, but a lot more goes into the position than eating a lot of calories and lifting heavy weights.
"It takes a lot to be a college offensive lineman. You got to weigh upwards of 300 pounds. You know that is not all fat. Everyone just thinks you go to the buffet and eat and it's not," Hoelck said. "You got to do a lot of different things. You gotta move your body in a lot of different ways."
Being an offensive lineman is not as glamorous a position as being the quarterback, but for the Loper lineman, they are just fine without the spotlight.
"We don't get the praise but we got some great players. The MIAA Freshmen Player of the Year played behind us. You know we take pride in that. We take pride in running the ball. Third and one, that's one us," Hoelck said. "Our team and our offense knows it's all behind us and we just love each other and we love doing it together."
Last season, UNK ranked third in Division II in rushing yards per game, averaging 338.8 yards. The offensive line lost three seniors from that group, but the team is confident in their guys if indeed they can play football this fall.