The largest offensive line in Jeff Erdmann’s 18 years coaching at Rosemount presents problems for opponents and teammates alike.
Receiver/safety Griffin Lanoue recalled the time in practice when John Allstot, a 6-9, 292-pound left guard, suffered an ankle injury and needed assistance returning to the locker room. Teammates trying to help were better off taking up a collection to buy a motorized cart.
“We’re all trying to get under him and it was like, ‘Oh, jeez,’ ” said Lanoue, acting out the struggle of shouldering a tough load.
Allstot isn’t even the heavyweight champ among Irish linemen. Right guard Jacob Smith, all 6-5, 321 pounds of him, takes the crown. He has committed to play at Brigham Young. Right tackle Ian Bass (6-4, 273) and center Terek Pate (6-0, 273) add more beef. Left tackle is handled by committee.
The self-anointed “Big Dawgs” are fulfilling Erdmann’s expectations as one of Rosemount’s top position groups. They have powered the dual-quarterback offense to a 5-1 start. Whether clearing holes for Cody Hogan, the team leader with 453 rushing yards and five touchdowns, or protecting the pocket for Blake Tamminen (490 yards passing, five touchdowns, no interceptions), the line impresses the opposition throughout a typical Friday night.
“When we’re shaking hands after the game, our opponents are always saying, ‘You guys are giant. What are they feeding you?’ ” Pate said.
Humble pie was the featured menu item last week. Rosemount fit the maxim that a team practices how it plays. Unfortunately for the Irish, practice lacked intensity and focus. The result: Rosemount’s first loss to Farmington in more than a decade.
“Preparation was pretty average,” Lanoue said. “We had a lot of guys that just kind of showed up and went through the motions.”
Three fumbles by the Irish offense and pedestrian defensive play fueled four Farmington touchdowns in the final 13 minutes. Before the second-half meltdown, Rosemount’s defense had held opponents scoreless for 15 consecutive quarters.
“Mentally, we weren’t there,” Pate said. “We were 5-0, and we thought we could just roll over Farmington like we did last year.”
Playing Friday at home against Burnsville (5-1) and closing the regular season next Wednesday at Lakeville North (6-0) provide Rosemount two consecutive tests of its postseason merit. The Irish have faced just one opponent with a winning record this season. Both the Blaze and the Panthers were Class 6A state tournament qualifiers last fall.
“We looked at it as, ‘We need to do our best every game, but we really need to build up toward the end of the year,’ ” Lanoue said. “We knew we had Burnsville and Lakeville North and they’re always good.”
Erdmann is interested to see whether his team is mature enough to use last week’s adversity in a positive way.
“We’re hoping they recommit to ball security and being physical,” he said.
Players appear to be getting the message. Pate called the Farmington loss “motivation for us to do better this week.”
Lanoue said the loss “could be the best for us. We have these two tough games, and we would have gone into them undefeated and thinking we’re really good and that we can’t be beat. Now that we have been beat we know we have to work harder to prove ourselves.”