Football - Names of Offensive Position/Players
The Wizard wanted to provide a beginners guide to offensive positions so that the new fan to high school football or football in general could have an understanding of each position. This will be very basic and include the name of each position, where the position lines up, what is unique about the position, what activities the position usually performs on a given play and the general physical attributes of the position.
There will always be exceptions to the rule, but this is just The Wizard's brief guide to names of positions that a fan might hear when talking about the offensive side of the football. Also note that not all of these positions will be on the field at the same time. There will always be a quarterback and in all but the rarest of occasions there will be 5 linemen, but the remaining positions will be a mix and match of the other positions noted.
Common Position Names
1. Quarterback - lines up behind the center (either directly or a few yards behind). The quarterback calls the play for the team in the huddle and is the person most likely to pass the ball on the field. The quarterback might also hand the ball off to another player so they can run the ball or they might also run the ball themselves. The attribute most unique to the quarterback is that they are able to throw the ball better than anyone else on the team.
2. Running Back (also called Half Back or Tail Back) - lines up behind or beside the quarterback. The running back, as the name suggests is the person on the field most likely to run the ball. The running back might also block if they do not run the ball or they could also catch a pass from the quarterback. Running backs are a combination of fast and strong.
3. Full Back - lines up behind the quarterback but in front of the running back. The fullback usually blocks for the running back who is going to run the ball. Less often the fullback might run the ball himself or catch a pass. The fullback is stronger and bigger than the running back, but not as big as a lineman.
4. Tackle/Guard/Center (also called Lineman or Interior Lineman) - the center will line up holding the football to snap to the quarterback. The two guards line up on each side of the center and the 2 tackles line up outside of and next to the guards. These five linemen usually line up in a row right next to each other. Their primary responsibility is to block on every play. They are the biggest and strongest players on the field.
5. Tight End - will line up outside, but next to the tackle. The tight end is routinely used for blocking but is also an athlete that can catch the ball. Tight ends are tall and strong. They are normally around the same height as the lineman, but are bit thinner and therefore faster than the linemen.
6. Wide Receiver (also called Split End) - is the last person on the line of scrimmage (or may be a step off the line) and is out a few yards at least from the next closest person on the line. Wide receivers are used to catch passes and on running plays will typically block. A wide receiver may also on a rare occasion run the ball. Wide receivers are either fast and/or tall.
Advanced/Less Common Position Names
1. H-Back - will line up at the end of the line similar to a tight end but a few yard behind the line. The H-Back is normally used for blocking but may also catch a pass and less likely run the ball. H-Backs are strong and/or tall.
2. Wing Back - lines up at the end of the line when there is a tight end on the same side, except a yard or so off the line of scrimmage. The wing back typically blocks, but can also be used to run the ball or catch a pass. Wing back's are fast and/or strong.
3. Slot Back (also called Slot Receiver) - lines up at the end of the line when there is no tight end on the same side, except a yard or so off the line of scrimmage. Slot Backs are used to catch passes but may also run the ball or be used to block. Slot Backs are a slightly smaller version of the standard running back.
4. All-Purpose Back - is really just a subset of the running back. The all purpose-back will line up in the same place as a running back, but unlike some running backs that leave the field in certain situations, the all-purpose back rarely leaves the field when the team is on offense.
5. Scat Back - is again more of a variation of the running back. This player lines up as running back but may also line up as the slot back. The scat back is essentially a running back who is faster and maybe a bit smaller who has flexibility to run the ball but also be fairly useful at catching passes.
If we missed any positions or you have additional positions to add, please let us know, by sending a message on our Contact Page.