Censer: Death of the Dodging Attackman

The attack position has changed over the years and Lacrosse Magazine’s Joel Censer has written an incendiary article illuminating the subject. Here’s a little of what he has to say:

In college lacrosse, teams today attack in settled six-on-six offense by having a player dodge with the hope that he will either score or be enough of a threat to draw a double-team. If the player does draw a slide, then the offense wants him to “bang,” “skip,” “push” or “slice” the ball to a teammate. The hope being that the rock will move fast and efficiently enough that the offense can identify and take advantage of the numbers. (If the dodger has drawn two men, there’s going be someone open — if only ephemerally.)

Take one glance around today’s Division I men’s lacrosse landscape, and whether it’s a jitterbug on the invert or a thoroughbred shooting on the run, the players who generally initiate are midfielders. In contrast, attackmen’s roles in settled offense now primarily consist of managing the team’s offense, finding the open man, attacking when the defense is unsettled or finishing (on the inside or on the perimeter) what their teammates started on that initial dodge.

“Ryan Boyle’s the quintessential modern attackman,” University of Denver head coach Bill Tierney said about the Team USA and Boston Cannons quarterback he coached at Princeton from 2001 to 2004. “Today, it’s more reactionary; it’s more about reacting to that first slide.”

It wasn’t always that way.

“Attackmen are definitely dodging less,” Tierney said. “In the old days, an attackman was often ‘the guy’; he’d go hard to the goal and take on anyone.”

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