Trading Houck for Mauck

The San Diego Chargers impressed along the offensive line with the coaching of Hudson Houck. He turned a sub par line into an adequate group in 2003 and took a line that had never played together in 2004 and turned it into a superb unit.

Even head coach Marty Schottenheimer expressed a level of astonishment at the success Hudson Houck had on the line.

"They all have different personalities," Schottenheimer said of the line. "The one quality is they are very competitive."

Roman Oben proved to be a steady influence playing left tackle and did a fine job protecting the blindside of the quarterback.

Toniu Fonoti is rounding out into Pro Bowl form and a survey of scouts at the Senior Bowl left them baffled as to why he was left off the Hawaiian roster.

But the big Samoan also has said Houck "has been like a father to me."

Nick Hardwick, starting as a rookie, has tremendous upside and played like a veteran in the center.

Mike Goff was a powerful force at right guard and his leadership extended off the field.

Shane Olivea, another rookie starter, showed a tenacity and fire to learn and contribute.

"We are looking forward to building on this," Olivea said heading into year two of the offensive line.

Houck has been in the league 22 years and brought with him many philosophies that the line grasped onto and wouldn't let go. His ability to have the players maximize their potential through reliance on the rest of their teammates was exhilarating. He masked certain traits that the current line didn't do well by playing to their strengths.

The offense was slightly toned down in the running game and Houck was a big reason for that. He stressed technique at the point of attack to the current group instead of spending time on a lot of pulls. That resulted in an offense that ran up the middle and behind the tackles rather than stringing plays to the outside and along the edges. He knew the strength of his line and played to it.

Now that he has moved on, will new offensive line coach Carl Mauck prove to be just as effective.

Mauck brings a different level of intensity and it could be what is needed to take this group to the next level. The former Charger player and coach, he played in San Diego from 1971-1975 and coached the line from 1992-1995, was out of football last year after spending three years with Detroit where his unit allowed the fewest amount of sacks in his last two seasons.

Mauck has been coaching in the NFL for 20 years and his intensity is unmatched. Known as a no-nonsense coach, the former center can get heated on the sidelines and on the practice field. Houck was the same way, at least on the practice field. They both expect a lot out of their players and are not shy about making their point.

The new line coach has actually admitted to toning down his training camp regimen in recent years due to the increased length of workouts in the offseason and the need to keep everyone healthy.

Mauck has formed offensive line videos to help coaches, throughout high school and college, maximize the ability of their players. The question isn't whether he can coach it is whether the Chargers can respond to him after Houck.

Each player has his own personality and working within the new system will be a challenge. If the line adheres to the teachings, the positive results can continue.


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