West Virginia University took a big hit in the heart of its offensive line losing its starting guards and center in Jeff Braun, Josh Jenkins and Joey Madsen, leaving new offensive line coach Ron Crook with quite a rebuilding job.
Slowly, things are coming together.
Tyler Orloski was moved from guard to center while mammoth Quinto Spain mans the left tackle spot and veteran Curtis Feight is at right tackle. The guards, however, are taking some figuring out as they battle for position and Crook tries to get eight players game ready.
Right now, among the backups, he has the veterans Pat Eger and Nick Kindler ready while the others spar for positions.
“We’re working toward two deep. Hopefully by the end of the week we’ll be close,” he said. “I think right now we’ll have seven at the start, and I feel good about that.”
The biggest fear is the inexperience at the three inside positions, which has forced them to think some of moving Feight inside.
“You go through just about every scenario you can when you are sitting in a staff meeting talking, but the other thing you have to remember in this offense is if you don’t have tackles with experience you are going to see some defensive ends and linebackers line up on the edge and it’s kind of scary.
“Even though they have experience you want them out there to protect the quarterback,” Crook said.
o o o o o o
As Dana Holgorsen was holding his Monday press conference, Kenny Chesney’s “Boys of Fall” began blaring over the weight room sound system and into the team room.
“Great song,” Holgorsen said. “We showed the video to the team this morning.”
And that video led to an interesting development.
“The very last picture is of Bear Bryant,” Holgorsen said. “He puts his hat on, looks at the chalk board and has some last thoughts for his team.”
When it ended, Holgorsen turned back to his team.
“How many of you know who that was?” he asked.
How many would you think would know one of the greatest football coaches of all time?
“About 10 to 15 percent of the team raised their hand. I said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me, 85 percent of our team didn’t know who Bear Bryant was.’ Got to educate them, I guess.”
Just a thought, knowing how current Alabama coach Nick Saban feels about the kind of football that Holgorsen and his contemporaries play, what does Holgorsen think Bryant would feel about the up tempo game of today?
“It would probably blow his mind,” Holgorsen admitted. “It’s quite a bit different.”