In the game of football, offensive linemen are monsters. The trenches are typically crowded with 6-3, 300-pound (or bigger) behemoths, and normally, after the dust of each play settles, the strongest man wins the battle.
But just like everything else in life, there is always the exception.
In this case, Montana State University-
Northern Lights’ senior offensive guard Brock Hyder is the exception. Listed at 6-1 and 265 pounds, but maybe closer to 6-0, 255 pounds, Hyder has had no problem rolling around with the big bodies on the offensive line the last four years. And not only has he had no problems; he has found a lot of success doing so.
Hyder has been a four-year starter for the Lights’ offensive line. He played at Bishop Kelly High School in Boise, Idaho, and was an instant success for the Lights since walking onto the scene four years ago. Hyder is now a two-time Frontier All Conference player, a 2012 preseason NAIA All American and a team captain. And now four games into his senior season, and still with plenty of time to add to his list of accolades, the former middle school and junior high quarterback will hopefully continue to make the best of his stay at MSU-N.
“Of course everybody wants to be a quarterback, right?” Hyder said laughing about his past. “But no, I don’t miss it, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else but on the offensive line.
“It has been great, and this has been a great opportunity.” He added. “I was glad I got a chance to come here, and it has been nice playing with all these guys. This year the o-line is very tight and we are all friends, and I think that makes a huge difference. And you can’t succeed if you don’t trust the guys next to you, and the camaraderie we have this year especially, is great.”
But the lack of inches and pounds that other offensive and defensive linemen might have across the Frontier Conference hasn’t stopped Hyder for one second.
Hyder has been fortunate enough to be a part of a very talented offensive line over the last four seasons. And while he is still a big, physical, and strong lineman, he has found other ways to propel his game. Instead of relying purely on his strength, he has taken his game to a whole new level with his smarts, and knowledge of the game. And he doesn’t just know the game and MSU-N offense well, he knows it inside out, and probably better than anybody else on the field.
“It is just my preparation throughout the week,” Hyder said. “I am not the biggest guy out there, so I have to be one of the smartest. It goes a long way to know where you have to be, and where the defense is going to be in every situation. That really helps me to get better body position when I can’t muscle them around.”
Lights’ head coach and offensive line coach Mark Samson has also noticed Hyder’s knowledge of the game.
“He is not the biggest kid,” Samson said. “And I always used to tease him and say ‘if you were 6-2, 280 pounds, then you wouldn’t have been playing here.’ He is probably one of the smartest kids I have had on the offensive line in all of the years I have been coaching. He is a tough kid, and I believe he knows the offense better than anybody, including our quarterback, and even though he plays guard, he makes a lot of our line calls, and makes a lot of the adjustment on our line for us. He just knows the game so well.”
And Hyder’s preparation clearly unfolds on the field on Saturdays.
Coach Samson went on to say how Hyder’s game time adjustments make him a great player, as well as his ability to adapt to different situations. Hyder sees and recognizes things other players miss, while he also has a knack for using his footwork to beat the defense to the point of attack.
And like Samson said, Hyder is not the biggest lineman on the field, but he does somehow lead the team in knock down blocks almost every week.
Hyder’s football career at Northern is nearly over. The first four games of his senior season have already blown by, and week five is just around the corner. The season hasn’t gotten off to the best start either, with the Lights sitting at 1-3, and not finding their first win until last weekend when they took down UM-Western.
But it is all about moving forward, and Hyder knows how important it is to keep the Northern name in the win column.
“We always say that it doesn’t matter how well or how bad you play,” Hyder said. “It is if you win or lose that matters at the end of the game. It felt to get that monkey off our backs and get the win last weekend, but we have another big game coming up this weekend, and we have to keep winning. We are do or die at this point, and me being a senior, that is especially true.”