Experienced WVU Line Builds Depth - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Experienced WVU Line Builds Depth

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MORGANTOWN -

If the old football adage that it all starts up front is to be believed, then West Virginia's offensive staff must feel far more confident in its operation this season than it did 12 months ago.

An offensive line that was short on depth while learning a new scheme in 2011 now boasts more experience in the two-deep and a wider range of bodies that can be plugged in when need be.

At times in his first season at WVU, Dana Holgorsen made it clear that if the line could accomplish all it needed to at the line of scrimmage, more of the offense could be run effectively. In year two, that is exactly what offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh sees developing.

"We're running the ball better, we're protecting better, we're doing everything better," says Bedenbaugh. "[The offense] opens up and Dana probably feels comfortable calling some of the plays that he probably didn't feel comfortable calling last year."

Much of that comfort is drawn from the starting five with Quinton Spain, Josh Jenkins, Joe Madsen, Jeff Braun and Pat Eger lining up from left to right. The progression of No. 6 through 10 in that rotation is the next step toward where the unit wants to be as a whole.

Should either guard go down, Spain and Eger would simply move one spot inside and backups Curtis Feigt and Nick Kindler would slide into the tackle positions.

One player absent from the top 10 in the most recent depth chart released by the staff is Mark Glowinski, a JUCO transfer who comes to Morgantown with plenty of expectations, many of which Bedenbaugh himself placed on the junior.

Back in the spring, Bedenbaugh essentially said that if Glowinski was not competing for a starting position, there would be problems. Now, with his prized transfer still learning proper technique to be able to run the offense at the highest level, others are ahead of him in practice.

Rather than be concerned about whatever problems he may have foreseen in the spring, Bedenbaugh sees the growth of his other students as a positive to take from Glowinski's absence on the two-deep.

He is also pleased by the early successes both freshmen Adam Pankey and Tyler Orlosky have had, though he is downright giddy that he does not have to put either of them on the field in their first year.

"I think if you're talking about last year, Pankey and Orlosky are playing for us. There's no doubt if you're talking about last year," says Bedenbaugh. "If they had come in last year, we'd have to get them ready to play. Right now, we have the luxury of giving those guys reps and understanding that hopefully we can redshirt them."

Pankey, WVU's second-heaviest lineman behind Spain, feels that he was physically ready when he got to campus, but he has had to work on the technical side of the game that didn't exist in high school. Back then, he simply pushed kids around.

As he works on his body composition and the intricacies of his game, he is excited about what the future could hold on an offense that is ready to graduate all three of its starting interior linemen.

"I know that we do have seniors up there and I really need to take this camp in and focus and learn as much as I can because I know that I might be expected to come in and do some things next year, so I want to be as prepared as possible," says Pankey.

Those younger players who are currently counted on for depth will need to grow into the reliable starters. Bedenbaugh knows they are not there yet, but he is far more pleased with what he has to work with this season than he was in his first with the Mountaineers.

"At least we're allowing with that second group to have some semblance of an offense to where our receivers can work, our running backs can work," says Bedenbaugh. "Does is always look pretty? No. Is it always technically right? No. But with true freshmen, that's to be expected and the reps that they're getting now are going to pay off down the road."

His group is building for the future, which begins on Sept. 1.

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