The end-rushers fill two of the most important positions on the eleven. In defense, their especial duty is to prevent the long runs of the game. It is an unusual thing for a long run to be made through the center part of the line on account of the support given the rushers by the quarter-back and half-backs. Let a runner once get around the end with one or two interferers ahead of him, as is usually the case when such runs are made, and he is likely to go a long distance down the field and not infrequently make a touchdown. In defending his territory against these runs the end stands at the most remote part of the field for assistance to be rendered him. He is at the extreme part of the rush line and has no one close to him to help him. His nearest neighbor, the tackle, must be depended on for most of the assistance, and when he cannot render it, the end is put to the test of tackling a runner preceded by a group of interferers. In such an emergency a deep responsibility rests upon the end-rusher, because he is probably the last man left to prevent a long run and perhaps a touchdown, producing a sensation akin to that of the full-back when he alone stands between the runner and the goal.

Moreover, the end-rusher has to meet the runner under most trying circumstances. The runner and the interferers have gotten well under way; they have passed the most dangerous spot in the line and are coming on at great speed. The interference is now more focused and ■effective in arrangement than it has yet been. There are more interferers and they are more closely bunched. At the same time, the end well knows that he is an especial mark on all sides. He realizes that a particular man is appointed to do his utmost to check his play and that if this man fails to do it, the work is to be attended to by the other interferers who come immediately after. Under these difficulties in tackling and maneuvering, it is not strange that every captain is most careful in the selection and training of his end men.

The kind of man who could play a brilliant game at end, might not, perhaps, be able to fill any other position in the rush line, yet this is not necessarily true. His qualification would be questionable only as regards build and weight. There are most brilliant end players who only weigh about one hundred and fifty pounds, and sometimes a little less, but the tendency now is toward selecting slightly heavier players for that position in order to gain more weight with which to meet the tremendous on-rush of the interferers. But it is not infrequent that the light, agile, cat-like men are much more likely to tackle the runner, and so are selected in preference to those possessing plenty of weight but less skill. The tackling of these light, quick men is necessarily most brilliant, because they do not bore their way through to the runner but seize a momentary opening to put in their telling work. Such a man, as has been said, could not play in any other position in the rush line, for he would not be heavy enough to stand the hard pushing and plunging to which, for example, the tackle is subjected. With the exception of meeting the end plays and plays between the end and tackle, the end-rusher does not have the hard, wearing work of the other rushers. Not that he does not have plenty of work to do, but he is not constantly combating an opponent and struggling with might and main to get through the line, thus being subjected to the little knocks and bruises which the other rushers have to endure.

The end-rusher is at liberty to take any position he chooses on the offense. His one thought, however, should be to take that position from which he can best operate in helping out the play. Many end-rushers fail to do this. Some ends play up in the line and follow their opponents wherever they move, no matter how far out they go. Others take a stand a little back of the line, about a yard or two from the tackle, shifting this now and then as the play suggests and admits. This latter is generally the best position which can be taken for helping in the interference, and it is also a better position from which to start if the end-rusher is to run with the ball himself. Whenever the end-rusher is going to take the ball he should carelessly assume a position a little nearer the quarter-back perhaps almost behind the tackle. Otherwise, the distance which he would be obliged to run before he reached his opening would be so great that the opponents would have enough time in which to intercept the play. On this play the quarter-back should give the ball to him by a short pass and then run ahead to interfere.

If the end-rusher plays up in the line he should always take the inside man when acting on the offensive. This is a point frequently forgotten, and oftentimes is the reason why end runs are stopped before the runner reaches the end. The end-rusher should also remember to help the tackle whenever the latter takes the ball. In this case it may be necessary for the end-rusher to step in and block the opposing tackle, but if the tackle can break away from his opponent without assistance it is better that the end should follow the tackle right around. When the tackle is to go into the line the end can do no better than place his hands on his hips and steer him into the opening. If the end-rusher does this well he can be of great assistance to the tackle in running, and at the same time prevent him from being caught from the rear. The best way to play the end position in making the different evolutions is shown in the chapter containing diagrams.

On kicks into touch the end-rusher must cover the ball well and secure it the instant the full-back puts him on side. Whenever an opponent secures it the end-rusher on that side must be on the watch to prevent his quickly putting it in play at the point it crossed the line. He should also be on the watch for all side-line tricks. The other end man should return quickly to his position to guard his field against a throw in from the side or any quick play. The end-rushers must be sure to keep their eyes on any outlying men who might receive the ball on a pass. "Be the first man down the field on a kick" is the motto early instilled in the would-be end-rusher, and to do that and be there in time to tackle the catcher before he starts is no small accomplishment. It means that with a good punter, who has perhaps the wind behind him to propel the ball, the end must be exceedingly quick in starting and very swift of foot. If the end fails to get down the field in time, the ball will be carried or kicked back, whereas a swift runner might be able to prevent this. Moreover, the full-back ought not to be compelled to limit his kick because of the slowness of the end-rusher.

It requires long practice and much careful study to determine just the direction the ball has taken almost at the moment it is kicked without wasting time in turning around or in looking over the head into the air. Likewise it requires practice to decide upon the best way of approaching the man to whom the ball is kicked. It is a common fault for end-rushers to run blindly down the field without knowing the exact direction which the ball has taken, when a little study of the faces and actions of the half-backs will indicate in a second whither the ball is going.

Another common fault with the end-rusher is the failure to tackle the man who gets the ball. This results largely from over running him. The player with the ball simply jumps to one side at the proper moment and lets the end go by in his headlong run, and then goes down the field. The one remedy is that he should slacken speed a little as he approaches and watch for a chance to tackle.

Care should be taken by the end-rusher as he runs down the field to approach the player who has received the ball so that he will be forced to run on the inside of him. Then, in case the end misses his tackle, he will fall into the hands of the other rushers, now near at hand. The position of the end-rusher when a kick is about to be made, should be such that he can protect the field. Usually he draws off well from the tackle. This must be done without fail when he has a large field to guard, that is, when the other end of the line is near the side of the field. The general form of the rush line as it advances when a kick is to be made, is described in the chapter on team play.

It may be said further, that usually the end-rusher should start his line of direction slightly towards the side 4 lines until he gets the first inkling of the direction the ball has taken. He should then bear in or out still farther, according as seems best. This would not be good advice to the end-rusher who stands close to the side line. The reason for the end taking such a start is that he should protect the whole field against a run, and the least protected part should be attended to first. This suggestion has especial weight when there is a great deal of space between the end-rusher and the side line.

The end-rusher must be especially watchful at the start for signs of a short kick, or for one which goes to the side. Sometimes these are caused by inaccurate kicking, or by the partial stopping of the ball by an opposing rusher. In any event, he must be careful not to over-run the ball, and must secure it whenever an opponent puts him on side by touching the ball. If the end is in doubt where the ball is, he should glance around quickly and find out. The end-rushers must be especially careful when the ball is kicked from near the side of the field, for it often happens that only one end can be near the opponent when he catches.

The end-rusher should be under the ball when it falls, and if the opponent is a good catcher he should usually force him to make a fair catch. If, however, the end-rusher is where he is absolutely sure of securing the catcher if he should run, it may sometimes be better for him to give the opponent a slight chance to run for the sake of increasing his liability to drop the ball. This liability is further increased by a hard tackle just at the moment the catcher starts. The end should be on the watch to secure the ball at such times. He should also make sure that the catcher does not pass the ball to a companion near at hand.

There are many conditions to be met by the end as he goes down the field on a kick which cannot be described. He must note them as they come and act accordingly. One of the hardest of these is to know how to handle bounding and rolling balls. Observing the angle at which the ball descends, also the way it acts for two or three bounds after it strikes, will give some information on which to base action, but there is a constant uncertainty; and in those cases where the ball is revolving on an axis constantly shifting as it goes through the air, there is no certainty of its action after it strikes the ground. It therefore takes the most careful playing at such times on the part of the end-rusher, for one of the opponents may dart in opportunely and seize the ball and go sprinting up the field. If there is any chance for this, and he is not well supported with helpers, the end-rusher should immediately touch the ball and force a down for the other side. Furthermore, when a kicked ball is likely to go over the line in goal, the end-rusher should do his utmost to touch it just before it reaches the five-yard line so that it shall be down at that spot and shall not be brought out to the twenty-five yard line.