|Clovis' Tyler Collier (No. 56) finds his blocking assignment during the Cougars' 27-24 victory over Paso Robles on Aug. 31 (photo by Lorenzo Reyna).|
Tyler Collier of Clovis High likes pancakes, which is why his Cougar teammates call him “IHOP.”
But, the lineman’s nickname has nothing to do with the round cake that’s a popular selling item at the International House of Pancakes during the morning hours. The Class of 2017 prospect earned his sobriquet because he dishes out a different kind of pancake: planting his opponents on their back.
“They call me IHOP because I just pancake people,” Collier said. “They give out pancakes and that’s what I do (on the field).”
The 6-foot-1, 245-pound Collier provides the muscle and mean streak on the Clovis offensive line. Both will come in handy for the Cougars as they’ll have their home opener against Lemoore on Friday, Sept. 4, at Lamonica Stadium.
Collier spends his four quarters of football dominating his blocking assignment. He uses his palms, leverage and feet to keep defenders away from his quarterback or by driving them to the grass.
His nastiness kicked in during Clovis’ emotional back-and-forth contest against Paso Robles on Aug. 31. Collier was seen lifting red and white defenders off of the ground and then shoving them to the grass, as he energized an offensive line unit that gave up zero sacks against a state playoff qualifier from a year ago.
Collier said the CHS front line grinds every day during practices.
“We try not to let anyone get through us during practice and we want to show it come game day,” Collier said.
While Collier holds down one of the guard spots, Clovis’ coaching staff has experimented him in other areas.
“Due to Tyler’s size, in the long run he’ll have to play center,” head coach Rich Hammond said. “But at our level, he has great feet and has played guard the last two seasons.”
Hammond, who holds a current record of 48-18 in his seven seasons at CHS, has praised Collier’s game.
“Tyler has an uncanny ability for finishing blocks,” Hammond said. “He understands leverage and balance, and I think wrestling has a lot to do with that.”
Collier earned a state ranking on the mat last season for the traditional California wrestling powerhouse, pummeling his opponents in the 220-pound class.
He doesn’t just push people around on the offensive line. Collier is counted on to attack gaps on the line as a nose tackle.
Does he have a preference with where he likes to line up at?
“Not really. I’m just trying to get on the field and work my magic,” Collier said. “I just tell myself to keep going. After the adrenaline kicks in. You don’t stop, you keep going every play.”
He’s also an established leader in the CHS trenches. Hammond said Collier is the lone returning starter from last season’s linemen, adding “I feel offensively, you are as consistent as your top five, so Tyler’s play and leadership is very important to us.”
Right now, Clovis has been a recipient of preseason hype. Several media outlets in the Fresno area have placed the Cougars either near or at the top of its rankings. Collier, though, said his team doesn’t read into those things.
“We just block it out,” Collier said. “We go one day at a time. During the past week, all that was on our mind was Paso Robles. The next game, we’re focusing on Lemoore and that’s it.”
One thing is certain under the lights of the Central Valley, No. 56 will be serving pancakes during the Friday night time hours after 7:30 p.m.
“There’s no better feeling to it (when you execute a pancake block),” Collier said. “Once you get a hold of him, and you feel the tilting going on, you feel so good when you put him on his back and then move on to the next play.”