#RedDevilsAlum FCS: Colgate Linemen Poised To Punch Another Hole

5 minute read

One thing about the playoffs, if you have a good record, you probably have a good offensive line. Colgate is no difference, and its front can scrum with anyone.

Brian McLaughlin


Colgate's stellar defense has gotten most of the headlines during this dream season the Raiders have had, but there's a battering ram on offense that has had a lot to do with the wins, also. And that battering ram will be critical if the Raiders want to advance past James Madison this weekend in the FCS playoffs.

We're talking about those medieval battering rams that multiple warriors would pick up and punch repeatedly into a door or wall to make progress, until it broke through.

If you're a Colgate fan and by now have counted the description "battering ram" three times ... errr, make that four ... you're probably thinking this is sacrilegious to continue to use Fordham's mascot in a Colgate description. But the Raiders' offensive linemen didn't seem to mind the comparison -- forming a tightly packed battering unit, punching holes into otherwise immobile obstacles. That's the way they see themselves.

They're also known as the Broad Street Bullies, named after a street in Hamilton, N.Y. -- where they'll host their first playoff game since 2003.

Oh, and they're known as the MAPs too, but that's an R-rated nickname that we'll ... ahem ... just not fully explain.

Senior center Max Hartzman, who started in Colgate's stunning win over James Madison in the 2015 FCS Playoffs as a freshman center, explains the G-rated Broad Street Bullies nickname.

"We take pride in trying to out-bully the opponent, and at the end of the game we like to look up at the guy across from us and see somebody who is defeated," Hartzman told HERO Sports this week. "We're hard workers and athletic and strong. We take pride in getting movement and we have no problem going inside zone, but we like our odds in space, too. We recruit a certain type of guy that fits what we do."

Whatever you call the Colgate offensive line, that's up to you, but they're absolutely critical to what this team does. This particular line packs in tightly and battles -- and they are one reason the team keeps the ball an average of 34 minutes per game.

They all admit they're not monstrous linemen, but if you put the five of them together heading in the right direction, watch out. The key is the collective, and the ability to absorb a unique playbook like a sponge craves liquids.


"I think it's tough for other teams that aren't used to playing against our type of offense, especially the defensive tackles and defensive ends," Senior OL Scott Hirshman told HERO Sports. "They're being read constantly, and I think that's one of the advantages in our part of the game, it's how clever our coaches are with our schemes. I think it's our group being hard-working when it comes to the playbook. I think we're definitely intelligent guys and we can handle it."

Hartzman, Hirshman and sophomore guard Jack Badovinac form the interior of the line, while Jayvion Queen and Charlie Holsopple man the tackle positions -- and line coach Brad Dunlay is the maestro of it all. This is what helps things go with 1,000-yard running back James Holland in the backfield along with sophomore quarterback Grant Breneman.

Couple this solid offensive attack with this year's incredible defense, and no wonder this team has won nine games and is staring at an opponent this weekend that has reached the national title game the past two years.

"It all starts with the O-line chemistry," Badovinac, a sophomore, told HERO Sports. "Obviously our seniors are close, but we're all real close and we all hang out together. Our meetings are actually a lot of fun ... I was getting recruited my junior year (of high school) the year Colgate beat James Madison last time.

"This year, when we saw the bracket come out, we knew we were going to be in for a great second-round game. There's a lot of talk on campus and it's been a cool atmosphere. It should be a lot of fun."

No matter what, there's a gathering of big, selfless dudes up front who would give everything to get another week of football after this week. It always starts up front, folks, and Colgate's front is a solid part of the heart-and-soul of this 2018 season.

"When you're an offensive lineman, you don't have the opportunity to be braggadocios," Hartzman said. "It's a humbling experience to play on the O-line, because you're never going to be in the limelight. But this is what you sign up for. So you just try to work quietly and take care of your craft.

"I'm grateful to be an offensive lineman. It's been a great experience."

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