The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

August 24, 2009

HERTZEL COLUMN - Mountaineers’ O-line far from finished product

MORGANTOWN — You know how your parents would always tell you as you were scrambling around, gathering up your school books, making sure your hair was combed and rushing to meet the school bus that you had to eat your breakfast?

“Breakfast,” they would say, “is the most important meal of the day.”

And you’d be going, “Aw, Mom,” the toothbrush still in your mouth, your shoes not yet tied. “I’m not hungry. I gotta go.”

Well, what you are about to read is about breakfast and football, for in one way they are very similar.

Breakfast certainly isn’t the most glamorous meal of the day. You know, a cheeseburger for lunch or fried fish and mac and cheese have staying power and pizza or some Kentucky Fried Chicken for dinner, that becomes the star meal of the day.

Well, football’s breakfast is the offensive line.

And, if it is, you would probably call it “The Breakfast of Champions” and its best player “Captain Crunch.”

The offensive line isn’t the sexiest aspect of football. It is a group of five behemoths whose job is to grunt and sweat a lot while pushing around three or four defenders who are equally as big, faster and can use their hands.

They are usually an intelligent bunch, these offensive linemen, even if they do lead the world in blood spilled and Advil taken. For protection they are covered in armor and they wear knee braces on both their knees, yet all too often when there is a player down on the field, he is wearing a number in the 50s, 60s or 70s — linemen’s numbers.

It was no secret that when the Mountaineers came to camp the most important chore facing them as they prepared for the 2009 season was to firm up the offensive line, which was supposed to be the biggest strength last year but which disappointed as it lost four of its starters.

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Bob Herzel
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