The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

STAFF PICKS: Hardest position in football

Tyriq Johnson
Eastern Illinois football team celebrates after defeating the Tennessee State Tigers 30-17 during their game held at O’Brien Field saturday afternoon.

The Sports Staff shared what position they think is the hardest in football.

Zaria Flippin (Sports Editor): Cornerback

When thinking about the hardest position in football, I would say the cornerback position is the most difficult.

Cornerbacks are just left alone, and it’s just them versus the wide receiver.

To be a successful cornerback, I would say you’d have to fast. You can’t really teach speed, so that aspect alone makes the position much more difficult if you’re not already fast.

If a cornerback messes up, everyone can see it. You either stop the opponents or you don’t.

Especially on big plays, knowing it’s just between you and the wide receiver, to an extent, there has to be some mental aspect that plays into the mind of the cornerback.

If you get beat, you just get beat, and it’s very hard to redeem yourself after that.

We cannot forget about how football has changed over time, so now cornerbacks can barely touch the wide receiver without being penalized for it.

Pass interference calls are sometimes the game changing factors in a very close game, so mirroring your opponent, making sure they don’t get the ball while simultaneously making sure you don’t get called for pass interference is difficult.

I also don’t think that anyone understands how smart you have to be to be able to play cornerback.

If a cornerback is not in the right mindset, it’s gonna be a long game for them.

I think cornerbacks are the main players that absolutely cannot let the opposing team get into their head.

To someone that hasn’t watched a lot of football, this position might seem not as difficult as one would think.

To someone who has watched a good amount of football, and/or played football in the past, I think they would understand how hard and difficult it is to be a cornerback.

Luther Yoder (Assistant Sports Editor): Quarterback

The quarterback has the hardest position in football because of the responsibility they have.

A quarterback has to read the defense and know what everyone on the field is doing.

They have to know what coverage a defense is in before and after the snap and be able to see which receiver is open in three to six seconds or they will get sacked and lose yards.

To be able to know what coverage the defense will be in, they have to study hours of film to see the tendencies of the players and the play caller.

While looking for their open receiver, they can’t throw it to someone that is not open because that would result in an interception and give the other team another chance to score.

They also have to know what everyone on the offense is doing on any given play.

If someone in the huddle asks them what they have to do, they have to be able to tell them so the play can run correctly.

You can make an argument for cornerback being the hardest position, but they don’t have as much responsibility as a quarterback has.

Aidan Cusack (Sports Reporter): Kicker

When the conversation of hardest position in football comes up, it is always between cornerback and quarterback.

People never really talk about any other position besides these two and never even think of special teams.

I think it’s time we introduced a new angle to this question and consider placekicker being the hardest position in football.

Kickers deal with earth-shattering pressure and must execute with extreme precision, or their jobs are at stake, and that sounds pretty difficult to me.

When kickers go out on the field, extra point or field goal, all eyes are on them.

The success of a play boils down to one man and his skill in kicking a football. This pressure is mentally taxing, no doubt, but the best kickers are so experienced they barely feel it.

Not feeling pressure is a skill which takes years to acquire and is seen as something required to be a successful kicker.

Quarterbacks need this skill as well, yet kickers get far less credit when they succeed and much more attention when they fail.

People also don’t respect how difficult kicking a football is. If you ask any man between the ages of 16 and 26 if they could kick a 25-yard field goal, I’d bet 9 out of 10 would say they can. I promise you, most of them cannot.

The power needed to drive a football 25 yards cannot be achieved by the average person.

The common football fan doesn’t see the training that a kicker goes through to hit relatively short field goals, much less game winning 56 yarders (shoutout Stone Galloway).

It’s time kickers got the respect they deserve.

I’ll go out and say it, kicker is without a doubt the hardest position in football.

Patrick Schmitz (Sports Reporter): Cornerback

The hardest position to play in football is the cornerback position.

The cornerback position leaves that person on an island, and they are left alone with usually one wide receiver and is meant to guard them all alone. They might sometimes have a safety that will come over and help guard the receiver, but that doesn’t always happen.

Because the cornerbacks are left all alone, you can easily tell where they made a mistake. The only other position that can be characterized like this is the quarterback (QB) position.

The QB is all alone as well and must learn routes and coverage tactics. The QB position is exceedingly difficult, and they have a lot to learn and practice.

However, I think that cornerback is still the hardest position.

The cornerback is arguably the hardest physically, as you must be fast and agile against all receivers. As a cornerback, you also should be able to catch the ball as the only big play that a cornerback can do is have an interception.

Most other skill positions you can make a big play easily and your mistakes are usually covered most of the time.

At cornerback, if you make a mistake everyone knows and it can change a game fast, and there is not much you can do to make up for it as the play already happened and the momentum shifted.

There are many difficult positions to play in football, however the hardest in many ways is the cornerback position. 

Maurice Phipps (Sports Reporter): Center

When talking about the hardest position to play in football, I think offensive tackle gets overlooked too often. Specifically, the center position.

The offensive line’s job is the most important on the field: protecting the quarterback. 

​The center is in charge of handling the snap, which is not easy.

The center has to be 100% in sync with the quarterback to properly get plays off. Mistiming with the quarterback leads to fumbled snaps which can completely break plays before they get started; not to mention the responsibilities of protecting the quarterback.

I think the importance of the center is highly understated. 

​On a football field, you can get away with having lackluster skill positions. One thing you cannot get away with is having an offensive line who is lacking.

The offensive line also has important jobs depending on the play.

On screen plays, they have to get down the field to block for the screen man.

On run plays, they’re tasked with opening up gaps.

On pass plays, they have to hold the pocket long enough for the quarterback to get through his progressions; It’s a constant juggling act.

​The biggest thing that makes the offensive line, specifically the center, the hardest position on the football field is they have to physically move other grown men whose only mission is to get past them and get to the quarterback.

It’s such a physically exhausting position to play, not only that but the mental game is just as important.

Cameron Thomas (Sports Reporter): Cornerback

Cornerback is the hardest because corners need to have great speed, quickness, and agility. Corners get tasks to stop some of the fastest athletes in the world who are bigger and taller than them.  

Not only do they have to guard the fastest athlete on the team, but they also have to cover the receiver while moving backwards, and they must be able to turn their body without losing a step.  

They also don’t know what routes receivers are running so they are basically just mirroring what the receiver does. Also, if a cornerback gives up a big play, a majority of the time that play results in a touchdown, and you could go from having a good game to a bad game in the blink of an eye. 

Corners also need to be able to tackle and read the eyes of the quarterback. Corners must have confidence and a high level of mental discipline because there are quarterbacks who are going to target them all game long and when thy give up a touchdown, they quickly must get that play out their head or its going to affect them the rest of the game. 

Another reason I would say corner is the hardest position in football is because of the rules that are in place. Corners are one of the most penalized positions in the sport because you can’t play the receiver, or a flag will get thrown against them. They instead have to turn their head and watch the ball instead of the receiver. 

The sports staff can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].

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