Former WVU OL Barclay Solid in First NFL Start - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Former WVU OL Barclay Solid in First NFL Start

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MORGANTOWN -

Football fans in the Mountain State may have noticed their ears perking up when NBC ran through player introductions for a Sunday Night Football game between Green Bay and Detroit.

Scrolling through the Packers' offensive line, the right tackle introduced himself.

"Don Barclay, West Virginia Mountaineers."

The former WVU lineman was making his first career NFL start a week after filling in for an injured T.J. Lang. For an undrafted free agent who made it through the grind of his rookie camp to stick with Green Bay, it was an impressive feat to have played well enough in his first real action that his coaching staff felt confident to give him the start.

Barclay and the rest of the Packers' offensive line helped push a run game that totaled 140 yards and two touchdowns in the 27-20 victory. Rookie running back DuJuan Harris had a fourth quarter touchdown in which he ran directly behind the blocks of Barclay and right guard Josh Sitton to find the end zone.

Frequently up against Lions Pro Bowl defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, Barclay held his ground, solidly blocking for the pass as well as the run. Rarely did pressure on quarterback Aaron Rodgers come from the right side of the line for a unit that had allowed more sacks than any other team in the league coming into the game.

"We've got some good guys up front," Rodgers said in his on-field interview before praising the Mountaineer. "I think Donny has really been playing well the last couple of weeks, Don Barclay. We gave [the offensive line] some help today, but they held up in the pass, gave me some lanes to step up and in the run game, we did a good job keeping our pads square."

Barclay proved himself in Morgantown with a school-record 52 career starts, spending 39 of them at the left tackle position, protecting the blindside for WVU quarterbacks Jarrett Brown and Geno Smith.

The 6-foot-4, 305-pound offensive lineman prided himself throughout the pre-draft workout process on the fact that he had experience at multiple positions along the line and felt that he could contribute at all five spots if needed.

In addition to his blocking, Barclay found himself securing a possession for his Packers when he recovered a fumble in the third quarter on a drive that resulted in a Green Bay touchdown to take the lead over Detroit.

From the start of the broadcast, NBC's cameras found Barclay. Up in the booth, Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth repeatedly discussed the first-year player and how important his role would be in determining the outcome of the game. As the minutes wore on and his play remained strong, the simple discussion turned to praise.

With the national spotlight on Barclay and his Packers, he performed.

The type of showing he has been able to piece together over the past two weeks has been such that Green Bay head coach Mike McCarthy may be afforded the opportunity to move a healthy Lang back to his normal left guard position rather than bring him back at right tackle, where he was only playing due to an injury to Bryan Bulaga.

With the win, Barclay and the Packers move into sole possession of first place in the NFC North. They can clinch the division with a victory at Chicago next week.

 


Briefly:

- Elsewhere in the NFL, former WVU defensive back Ellis Lankster sealed a victory for his New York Jets with an interception on the final play of regulation. With his team leading Jacksonville 17-10, Lankster had an opportunity to break up a Chad Henne pass on fourth down, but went for the pick instead and missed.

No matter, just two plays later, Lankster waited at his own four-yard-line as Henne's pass was batted in the air and this time, the fourth-year pro held on and came up with the interception.

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