Ron Crook Ready to Get Started with WVU OL - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Ron Crook Ready to Get Started with WVU OL

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MORGANTOWN -

When West Virginia came calling, Ron Crook knew the opportunity to come home was one that he could not pass up.

Returning to the Mountain State is one thing, but becoming a Mountaineer in the process and coaching the entirety of an offensive line combined to paint the perfect picture for the next step in the Parkersburg native's career.

Crook left his post at Stanford, coaching offensive tackles and tight ends for two seasons, to take a stab at filling the void Bill Bedenbaugh left behind as WVU's offensive line coach in the state that raised him.

"Growing up in this state, you know how important Mountaineer football is to the people of the state," Crook said Tuesday. "I've been gone from the state for several years now, so it wasn't really so much coming home, it was more of coming to a place where I know football is important to the state and the people of this university and that was a big thing that I wanted to be a part of."

He wanted to be a part of it when he was younger, too. In his playing days, Crook says, he hoped to become a Mountaineer, but head coach Don Nehlen and his staff evidently did not see the potential that he believed he possessed. At the time, he thought they were crazy, but he continued to root for WVU anyway.

"I think as a kid growing up in this state, everything that you do revolves around Mountaineer football – at least it was that way for me and not just football, the other sports as well. In my home growing up, if there was a West Virginia event on TV, it was on our TV," said Crook.

He may have ventured off to other schools and formed new allegiances in his time outside of West Virginia, but Crook's roots remaining firmly planted back in the hills of his home state and throughout his coaching journey, he has kept an eye on the team he grew up watching.

"Even coaching Stanford, I'm still following West Virginia and seeing how they do. My mother-in-law and father-in-law are huge fans, so after every game, we talked a little bit about the Stanford game, but then we always talked about the West Virginia games, too. I've been following it as closely as I could."

Following the games could have given Crook a head start on evaluating the talent that he will be inheriting from Bedenbaugh's group, but he says he's careful not to develop any prejudice based on what he sees on film.

He compares it to the process that he and any other coach may go through when recruiting a high school player. You can watch tape all you want, but if you aren't acutely aware of exactly what the athlete has been asked to do on a given play, you cannot accurately assess how well he is executing the plan.

There are other parts of the player that can be judged, if only in a vague sense, that Crook focuses his attention on.

"You look at their mentality and how they strike people, those kinds of things," said Crook. "Certainly Coach Bedenbaugh is a great football coach and I'm still looking forward to spending some time with him and talking about things."

Crook has served as an offensive line coach in the past, but with his most recent assignment at Stanford, he found himself focusing on other positions that will now change. He looks forward to working with a line that lost three senior starters and will be a project of sorts as he looks over the pieces he has to work with and puts them to work.

"I think that's the biggest thing – going back to what I wanted to do with my career," said Crook. "When you're an offensive line coach, you love coaching the offensive line and you love the mentality of those guys."

The on field work begins on Sunday when spring camp opens and Crook can finally take what he has seen on film and put it in motion in practice. It is an opportunity to coach the positions he loves at the university he grew up rooting for in the state that molded him.

That's why he came back to West Virginia.

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