Rocks bands can include a variety of instruments.
However, the quintessential pieces most commonly consist of guitar, bass, drums and the human voice.
However, every now and then we get an instrument out of the ordinary thrown into the mix. Something abnormal to what our ears are accustomed to hearing.
AC/DC used bagpipes in the “It’s Long Way to The Top” single. Jethro Tull embraced the influence of using the flute in many of their songs.
Why all this talk about rock-band instruments?
In football we have quarterbacks, running backs, linebackers and more.
Then we have long-snappers.
They are that odd-ball instrument, but without their uniqueness the game would be completely thrown off its axis.
“I’m not a guy who’s huge on getting a lot of attention,” Ethan Hudak said.
Spoken like a true long snapper.
The Tulane long snapper was recently placed on the prestigious Patrick Mannelly Award Watch List. The award has been given annually since 2019 to the best long snapper in college football.
“It was really cool,” Hudak said of being nominated. “Coming in I wasn’t necessarily trying to worry about that. My mom says I’m really good for the long-snapping position. I’m pretty good flying under the radar.”
That doesn’t sound like something Slash or David Lee Roth would mutter out of their mouths.
The long snapper is relegated to being unknown.
For Hudak, he just loves the fact that many of the players mentioned on the watch list are guys he knew from going to camps during his days playing high-school football. Guys he formed a bond with due to the distinctive nature of their fraternity.
“It was really cool to get nominated,” Hudak said. “Obviously, it’s a great honor to be on that watch list. I went to camp with so many guys on that list in high school. It’s cool to see all these guys that I made friends with on this list.”
Hudak and his teammates aren’t worried about preseason accolades.
They are more concerned about getting back into bowl contention after a lackluster season in 2021. Tulane finished 2-10, its worst season since 2012, when they also finished 2-10. The Green Wave appeared in three straight bowl appearances prior to taking a step back last year.
“Yeah, I’m really excited,” Hudak said regarding getting back on the field. “After last season which was a little bit of a disappointment for us as a team. It’s kind of exciting to get back into it and rewrite who we are. I think we have all been working hard at trying to not let what happened last year happen again.
“I think where we are as a team both physically and I think mentally makes it infectious to be around. Super excited for that game (UMass September 6) as well as the other 11 and hopefully more that follow.”
Individually, Hudak and punter Casey Glover have been working closely on fine tuning their ability to perfect the outcome for their placekicker.
“On field goal,” Hudak said.
“Me and my holder Casey Glover. He’s also our punter. We’ve been working a lot to really get it down. We’ve been working on where he is catching the ball and how I start it. So, I can get that consistent rotation pattern that I usually get.
“I’d say so far through camp we have gotten almost all of them. The laces on our football snaps. I think we are going to carry that into the season. Keep making the operation as smooth as we can.”
Smooth and consistent are the keys to success for any long snapper.
Unfortunately, the only way they get noticed is when the football sails too high over the punter’s head or the holder on a PAT loses the ball due to a bad snap.
The position demands 100% perfection every time.
“Obviously, the most important thing is how accurate you are,” Hudak said. “Just do the same thing every single time. We say the punt is the most important play in a football game. Because it can change a game so fast.
“Especially at the collegiate and professional level. The guys coming after punts are no joke. They are some serious athletes. If we don’t do our job of doing the same thing over and over, huge things can happen.”
Hudak is preparing diligently to avoid any mishaps. Preparing to be perfect to go unnoticed, unmentioned and unrewarded.
That is the life of long snapper.
Long snappers make everything sound that much better by being hidden among all the other instruments.
So, next time you hear jingle of a tambourine, think of Hudak.