McALESTER — Before the ball is snapped, McAlester senior linebacker Lane Grant tries to read the offense and determine where the ball is going. Once he figures that out, he has several techniques he can use to get off a block and break up the play.
But complimenting all his strong fundamentals, Grant also just wants to find an opponent and make a hit.
“Coach (Kevin) Harmon taught us to always read the guard first, unless they’re in two-back and they have fullback,” Grant said Thursday.
“He can either come base out on you, like come straight at you, or he can pull. Whenever he pulls, you yell ‘pull, pull, pull,’ letting your other linebacker know that he needs to go cage him on the inside.”
Born in McAlester, Grant attended Frink-Chambers until the eighth grade. He spent a semester at Savanna High School, then transferred to McAlester to finish his freshman year.
“My mom and dad just thought the education would be better if we moved here,” Grant said. “It’s a great place.”
Grant said his football career began in the second grade in Savanna’s Little League. He started learning the middle linebacker position in fifth grade, and he’s played that position ever since.
As a linebacker, Grant has had to both cover receivers on passes and try to stop running plays at the line of scrimmage. He said learning opposing passing routes took some time, while “caging,” a method of breaking through a block, came more easily.
As Grant plays this varsity season, he’s doing so healthy for the first time in a couple of years. There was a broken ankle during baseball preseason his sophomore year, then three broken toes while running during the summer before his junior year, then a torn medial collateral ligament in his knee against Durant his junior year that didn’t require surgery but still kept him off the field.