Don't be stumped by the abbreviations in your playbook.
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When you play on a football team, it's important to understand your assigned role for each play. To that end, your coach may pass out a playbook at the start of preseason practice so you and your teammates can learn your assignments. Different coaches prepare playbooks in different ways, but chances are your playbook will be filled with abbreviations, including abbreviations for all the different positions on the field. Learning the abbreviations ahead of time makes your playbook an easier read when practice begins.
Offensive linemen may be grouped together with the abbreviation OL, or may be mentioned more specifically as LT and RT for the left and right tackle, respectively, or LG and RG for the left and right guard. C stands for the center. The tight end is abbreviated as TE. Wide receivers in general can be symbolized as WR, or they can be broken down in categories such as split end, or SE, plus flanker, or FL. A slot receiver or slotback may be abbreviated as SL or SB. The quarterback is known as the QB, TB stands for tailback, HB for halfback and FB for fullback. Running backs in general may be abbreviated as RB.
You can abbreviate defensive linemen as DL. More often, defensive linemen are broken down into tackles and ends, or DT and DE, respectively. A defensive tackle who plays opposite the center is often called a nose tackle and abbreviated as NT. Any linebacker can be abbreviated as LB. In a 3-4 defense, an inside linebacker is an ILB and an outside linebacker an OLB. In a 4-3 set you have one middle linebacker, or MLB. Defensive backs may be abbreviated as DB but are more typically broken down into cornerbacks and safeties, or CB and S, respectively. A strong safety is abbreviated as SS and a free safety as FS. If your team uses a fifth defensive back, or nickleback, the position may be abbreviated as NB, or occasionally as 5Вў.
A variety of special teams positions have their own abbreviations. Any kicker may be symbolized by a K. More often, place kickers are abbreviated with PK and punters with a P. You can use KR to designate a kick returner, or to be more precise, use KOR for a kickoff return specialist and PR for a player who returns punts. The player who snaps the ball to your kickers is technically a center but is typically referred to as a long snapper and abbreviated as LS.
Defensive players often line up according to the offense's formation, which requires more specific abbreviations. For example, when the offense uses a single tight end, his side of the field is known as the strong side, so a linebacker who always plays on the strong side of the field may be known as an SLB, or may be called the Sam linebacker. The weakside linebacker can be abbreviated as WLB, or called the Will, while the middle linebacker is known as the Mike. Offensive variations may include designating receivers as X, Y and Z. The X receiver typically lines up directly on the line of scrimmage, while the Z receiver is usually a step or two behind the line as the play begins. The Y often represents the tight end, but it may also symbolize a slot receiver. An H-back is a hybrid fullback/tight end.