One of the many things football coaches look for in a player is versatility. The more positions a guy can play, the more valuable he is to his team. Hutchinson offensive lineman Brandon Yira was one of those guys. The…
One of the many things football coaches look for in a player is versatility. The more positions a guy can play, the more valuable he is to his team. Hutchinson offensive lineman Brandon Yira was one of those guys. The junior spent time at four of the five offensive line positions last season. Although he expects to have a more permanent home as a senior – his ability and willingness to move around – make him one of the Tigers’ most important players heading into 2018. It might just make Yira more valuable to the colleges that are starting to look at him too.
Despite many new faces, Hutchinson got off to a fast start in 2017.
“We had a few players that had experience,” Yira said, “but not many. We had to replace our whole offensive line. That was a struggle, but we got it figured out early in the season. We kept pushing through even though we were in a new conference and had to figure out the new teams and their styles.”
In Hutch, offensively the Tigers have historically done one specific thing well – run the ball. At both guard and tackle – Yira was a huge part of that success.
“I felt I had the best year I have ever had,” Yira told northstarfootballnews.com. “At the beginning of the year I played both tackle and guard; by the end of the year I settled in at right tackle.”
Although he was a spot starter his sophomore year – last fall was the first time Yira started every game. Hutch had some guys competing for the guard and tackle spots, but none of them were able to separate themselves from the rest.
“They kept moving us around. The coaches thought I could move the best into different positions,” NFN’s 21st ranked junior said. “Our outside running game wasn’t the best, so they tried me at tackle, and that is where they thought I fit in the best.”
Normally a tackle, moving to guard – even for part of the year – presented new challenges to Yira.
“At guard, I wasn’t used to pulling,” Yira – who likes to hunt deer and ducks and likes to fish for walleye – said. “That was a struggle early, but it came fairly quickly. I played tackle as a sophomore, so that was easy to get used to. When I was playing guard, the biggest struggle was my footwork.”
It might have been his biggest struggle, but Yira feels his strength is his feet – likely why the coaching staff was comfortable moving him around knowing he would quickly find his comfort level with the position.
Yira feels more comfortable at tackle than guard and this offseason the 6’2″ 270-pound lineman has focused less on the physical part of the game and more on the mental part. He thinks he needs to get ‘meaner’ as a senior.
That doesn’t mean he is neglecting the physical side of things.
“One day I focus on arms and the next I focus on my legs.”
This spring he will continue with his same workouts but will also be throwing the shot put and discus for the track team.
Last summer he started the college camp process.
“I went to North Dakota State, South Dakota State, St. Cloud State, Concordia-St. Paul and Augustana
His camp schedule will be more focused this time around.
“I am looking to go to more camps than last year. I am going to focus on the schools I am interested in attending. I am looking at Southwest Minnesota State, Moorhead, SDSU, and Bemidji. I am getting recruited by SMSU, Moorhead and a bunch of Division III schools. I might go to a few of those camps too.”
For now, Yira feels more comfortable at tackle than guard. He expects to play right tackle and possibly some defense his senior year.
Wherever he ends up playing next season, his experience at multiple positions will make him a guy any coach would want in the lineup. He is a guy who has the physical skills to move around and the mentality to do whatever is needed.