The Anonymity of a Long Snapper
Nov. 10, 2005
By Julie Moses, Bucknell Athletic Communications
Having been playing long snapper for about 10 years, senior Jeff Orazi had the experience necessary to come to Bucknell and immediately jump into an important role within the football program.
"I've been a long snapper ever since I started playing football in sixth grade," says Orazi. "My dad was one of the coaches and we didn't have anybody else to do it, so I learned how. I've been doing it ever since. When I decided to walk-on at Bucknell, I let the coaches know I could do it and by the end of my freshman year, I was starting."
In most sports, there seems to be a position or role where someone does a great job and goes unnoticed, but when that person makes a mistake, everyone realizes it. Orazi is put into that position each time he is on the field as a long snapper.
"At this point, I am pretty much used to my role, but I really don't think about it," he remarks. "I just go out there and do my job just like everybody else has to. When I do it well, I don't expect to get a lot of credit, I'm just out there doing what I'm supposed to."
Lately, the Bison coaching staff has been using the long snapper on the defensive side of the ball.
"I love my new job on defense because I love being able to contribute more to the team, plus it's extremely fun," says Orazi. "I feel very comfortable in the position because the entire team is incredibly prepared by the time we get to the game, so most tasks feel like second nature."
Preparing for a game as a long snapper never gets old for the senior, and now that he is playing defense, the same holds true.
"I prepare for defense the same way I've always prepared during the week, although now I am getting more repetitions in practice," states the senior. "I`ve always gotten nervous and excited during pre-game, whether I thought I would play or not, so that hasn't changed much either."
The coaches at Bucknell work hard to help Orazi and his teammates stay positive and focused on and off the field, and that is something he admires and is thankful for.
"The coaching staff is great," says Orazi. "They work unbelievable hours to get the team knowledgeable and prepared for a game. Coach Backus and Coach Reid are probably some of the best coaches I've ever had and are very positive, while both praising and correcting players during practice. I also appreciate those two not only teaching us about football, but they try to teach us about life as well."
When playing a college sport, it is very important that the teammates and coaches become like a family, a family who stays strong together and encourages and respects each member.
"I couldn't ask for a better team," says the long snapper. "It's a great group of guys and I love sharing the field with all of them during practice and games. Everyone is so passionate about the game and each player goes out there everyday and puts everything they have on the line for each other, which makes it special to be part of this team. We are a very close group with very strong friendships, which is necessary when playing a competitive sport like football."
Through both the good times and when the season is not going the way everyone wants it to go, a strong team will stay focused and positive, while continuing to encourage and build each other up. Even during this difficult season, the Bison are standing strong.
"Yes, we've been struggling a little this year, but everybody has been staying positive," remarks Orazi. "The attitude hasn't been to come down on teammates that aren't performing as well as they should be, rather it has been to just keep working hard and pick those guys up who are down and just get them going again."
The civil engineering major gets as much fan support as possible, while both at home and at away games.
"My parents have come to every away game they could go to ever since my freshman year and along with my sister, they don't miss any home games, and I really appreciate their support," he says. "I try not to let them affect my game, and generally it doesn't, but then again, anytime I make a tackle and hear my parents yelling in the crowd over everyone else when my name is announced, it makes me smile and laugh a little."
After this year, the senior plans on attending Bucknell for a fifth year, while getting his master's degree in the civil engineering 3-2 program. Upon graduation, he hopes to receive employment from a general contractor as a superintendent on construction sites. "I'm not sure who I want to work for," says Orazi, "but I already have a couple of informal offers."
After a few years in that profession, he plans on entering the FBI Academy to graduate as a Special Agent and eventually serve on a FBI SWAT team, where he will once again be faced with handling ups and downs.