When most fans picture off-season conditioning, they typically imagine trim skill position players playing 7-on-7 or linebackers beefing up in the weight room. For West Virginia, the offensive line put in just as much work this summer.
Crook (far left) has been watching each lineman closely in his first fall camp at WVU.
“The first day here (for fall camp), we could tell they had a great summer,” said offensive line coach Ron Crook. “They looked fit; they looked strong. They looked like they could move a little bit. I was very happy.”
And apparently the first year Mountaineer assistant meant it literally when he said his players looked like they could move. Since his arrival, there has been a steady stream of position changes along the offensive line. Pat Eger has moved from tackle to center to guard. Nick Kindler regularly switches from tackle to guard, flopping sides as well. Tyler Orlosky and Tony Matteo started out as a guard and center, respectively, and have now flipped…. the list goes on and on.
For the Mountaineer linemen, though, it’s something they’ve grown accustomed to, especially for Kindler, who has been the main backup at multiple spots each of the last couple years.
“I started off the first couple days (of camp) at left tackle, then (Thursday) switched over to right tackle,” he said. “I’m used to it, though…. Each day you got to be on your toes because we all have to be ready to play multiple positions.”
Never was that more true than in the case of senior Pat Eger over the last few months, although he says his constant movement has helped enhance his knowledge of the offense.
“It helps me understand how the plays work more,” he said. “I understand the footwork from left tackle all the way over to right tackle, so I understand more pieces of the puzzle that make the whole play come together.”
All that moving around could come to an end for Eger - and the others - fairly soon, says Crook.
“I think that every day you come closer and closer to (naming starters),” he said. “I certainly hope that sooner than later (I) can say ‘these are the guys.’”