That’s what football is to Science Hill senior Blake Austin.
“It’s like a second family,” said Austin on Saturday during the Hilltoppers’ media day at Tipton Stadium. “You have 11 guys on the field, and you have to fight for each other. It’s a feeling of having somebody by your side. You’re not alone when you have your brothers with you.”
Austin is a 6-foot-4, 280-pound beast of an offensive tackle. He has 12 college offers in hand, and has already decided Coastal Carolina is the place he wants to go.
“I’m pretty sure that’s where I’m going to be,” said Austin. “They have a growing program. They are in the Football Bowl Subdivision now, so they are eligible for bowls. It’s going to be a good experience, and I’m going in early to try to get a head start.”
A different season
Science Hill relied on the playmaking skills of quarterback Jaylan Adams last year, but this year the offensive line and ground game should be at the forefront of the attack.
“It is going to be a running season for us,” said Austin. “It will be a fun challenge because now we’re in control of the game. We will set the pace. It should be a fun year.”
Succeeding at tackle
Austin said there are several things that go into making a good tackle. And it’s not all about size and strength.
“A lot of it is technique,” said Austin. “You could be the strongest guy on the field, but you still need technique. Some guys are stronger than me, but I have my technique and it goes from there.”
This season, Austin said he needs to work on several things.
“I need to make sure I finish my blocks,” he said. “I also need to get a little sharper technique-wise. I also need to get faster and stronger.”
Blocking for the backs
With the bruising Drew Morrison complemented by guys like Chris Thomas and Malik Bowman, Austin and his offensive line mates have plenty of top-notch running backs who need open lanes.
“They know we have their backs and they have ours,” said Austin. “It’s fun when you finish a block to see them run past us.”
After spending time at Tennessee High, Austin moved to Science Hill as a sophomore.
“It was just for a better opportunity,” said Austin. “It’s a bigger school, so there is more exposure.”
The move has worked out nicely, he said.
“It has been a great experience for me,” said Austin. “I’ve been growing every year, and working on things I need to do to get better from previous years.”
With his father teaching at Science Hill and coaching at the middle school, Austin has technical support at home.
“It has been a fun ride with him,” said Austin. “He coached me when I was little, and I have enjoyed him being there.”
Could this be a special season for the Hilltoppers?
“It could,” said Austin. “It depends on how the attitudes are this year, and if everybody works together as a team.”