There and Back Again

Defensive tackle Jordan Richardson was asked by Coach Mendenhall if he would be willing to move to the other side of the line of scrimmage, and without hesitation he happily obliged. With the quick and unexpected return of Braden Hansen to the offensive line, Richardson has been moved back to the defensive line.

It's not that often a player gets asked to switch to the opposite side of the field and play a position he had been trained to beat, but that's what happened to defensive tackle Jordan Richardson.

"The coaches asked me if I would come over and play on the o-line," said Richardson. "I mean, whether you're playing on the offense or defense you're still playing football and I love playing football, so I didn't mind doing that if the team needed my help."

So, Richardson made the move to the offensive line. For most defensive-minded guys, being called an offensive lineman is something that would make them cringe.

However, Richardson viewed it in a different light. This was a chance to learn and know how to become a well-rounded and better football player. The first thing he noticed was the difference in mindset the two sides had.

"Well, just learning the mindset of an offensive lineman has really helped me a lot to know what I should be doing as a defensive lineman," said Richardson. "That's one difference that I've learned going from playing defensive line to the offensive side of the ball. The mindset of a defensive lineman is to attack and the mindset of an offensive lineman is focused on different areas at different times. I think knowing the mindset and tendencies on both sides of the ball will help me be a better defensive player."

Richardson's move to the offensive side of the ball, however, didn't last long.

"Well, Braden [Hansen] is back on the o-line and Russell [Tialavea] got hurt, and so the defense needed an extra guy back over here, I guess kind of like an insurance guy back on the d-line to provide depth if I'm needed," said Richardson. "There is a chance I could move back around again, I'm not sure. Right now I'm just back to be over here on the defensive side of the ball again."

But as indicated, the temporary switch to the offense wasn't a waste of time. Richardson was able to learn some things that he wouldn't have if he never made the switch.

"It has helped me to better understand their schemes, techniques and formations of what the guys on the offensive line are doing," Richardson said. "That's another thing that I've learned as well. Before the play even starts, I can see the formations and their stances and see the way they're lining up and can have a better idea of what the play might be.

"I played o-line in high school but it's a lot different than in college. There are a lot more techniques you have to learn in college than in high school. What I learned was why the offensive linemen use the techniques they use against the defense, and I also learned how they use their techniques. Knowing those things and how they put those things together will help me to know how to beat it, so it's really helped me a lot. I really liked the fact that I was able to go on the other side of the ball and learn what they're trying to do from their perspective, but to be honest with you I'm glad to be back on the defensive."

Having had a short stint on offense, Richardson is glad to be back on the defensive line.

"Playing both sides is fun, but for me I just like playing defense better," said Richardson. "I think it fits me more with how I play the game, and playing on the defensive side of the ball, I think, just fits me better with my mindset as a player. But overall I think it was a good experience because I learned a lot that will help me in different areas. I think I'll be a better player because of it."

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