Girl's Guide to College Football


Plays start with two teams lined up on either side of the line of scrimmage, an imaginary line that the teams position themselves around. On one side is the offense, the team that has the ball. The defense is on the other side, and must stop the offense from scoring. Each team has 11 players on the field, and they must stay on their side of the field before the snap (the ball is put into play by handing it back to between the legs to an offensive player, usually the quarterback.

Andre Caldwell, former wide reciever at UF.

On the offensive team:

Quarterback: Calls the play and takes the ball when it's snapped from the center. Passes or hands the ball off to another player, or runs it.

Fullback: One of the two players who stands behind the quarterback. The fullback divides his duties between blocking for the quarterback on passing plays and running the ball on running plays.

Tailback: The other player behind the quarterback, usually the farthest from the line of scrimmage. He runs the ball on running plays.

Center: Passes (snaps) the ball back to a player in the backfield.

Offensive linemen: Split between offensive guards and tackles. They stand in front of the quarterback and block on running and passing plays. They cannot catch the ball, though they may run it or retrieve it in a fumble.

Tight end: Stands next to the tackle in the line-up. They both block and receive passes.

Wide receiver: Catches passes. Usually stands on near the line of scrimmage.

On the defensive team:

Defensive line:

Defensive end: Contain the offensive runners and receivers within the line of scrimmage.

Defensive tackle: Rush the passer, or quarterback.

Linebacker: Rush the passer and cover receivers and runners. There are typically three.


Cornerback: Positioned outside of the linebackers. Their primary responsibility is to cover pass receivers.

Safety: Cover pass receives in the middle of the defensive backfield, the farthest from the line of scrimmage. There are strong safeties, who are larger and stronger, and free safeties, who are faster and smaller.

On special teams:

Kicker: Handles field goal attempts and kickoffs.

Holder: Holds the ball for the kicker to kick.

Kick returner: Returns kickoffs.

Punter: Punts the ball.

Punt returner: Returns punts, often the same person as the kickoff returner.