Speed is one of the most valued commodities in football.
But many forget that speed is not just reserved for the tailbacks and wideouts that often capture the headlines and glamour.
Alex Snyder, an offensive tackle in his freshman and sophomore seasons at Kaneland, is setting out this summer to prove that even the buffet-bashers up front can possess their fair share of quickness.
“My main goal has been to improve on my footwork and get faster,” Snyder said of his summer plans. “Speed is equally important to linemen, too. Speed and footwork is what I feel like I struggled most with last year.”
Paired with his 6-foot, 270-pound frame, added athleticism could make Snyder an even more devastating blocker in the second half of his high school career.
“He is so much quicker than he was last season,” said Jim Snyder, Alex’s father. “He just doesn’t stop working and going. I don’t know how else to put it, he works extremely hard.”
Lifting and conditioning four days a week with the team, Al, as he is known by his teammates and coaches, is also putting emphasis on dropping weight this offseason.
“Well, cutting the weight is the big thing that he wants to do to get quicker,” Kaneland football coach Tom Fedderly said. “… We’re at the school Monday through Thursday and every morning at 6 a.m., he’s been working on trying to get quicker.”
Snyder has ample motivation to improve his conditioning this summer considering his goal of playing on both sides of the ball.
“No doubt, he wants to get quicker,” Jim Snyder said. “A lot of it has to do with getting faster and dropping weight so he can be in good enough shape to play both offense and help along the D-line.”
After contributing strictly to the offensive side of the ball in his freshman campaign with the Knights, Snyder spent some time last season at nose tackle when graduated starter Ben Kovalick needed a breather.
“We started working him in last year about every other series at nose tackle,” Fedderly said. “[He wants to] get tougher and be able to play more plays.”
Having entered high school with a head-turning 255-pound bench press that put the incoming freshman on the varsity coach’s radar, Snyder said that his focus on weight loss has not diminished his progress in the weight room.
“My squat was around 360 last season and, I think, already it’s up to around 405,” Snyder said. “You can never be too strong. I want to not only be in better shape but a lot stronger than I was last year.”