MORGANTOWN - With spring practices underway, there are bound to be a few changes on the WVU football team. One of those changes comes within the front five who protects the most important position in football.
Offensive linemen Jeff Braun, Josh Jenkins, and Joe Madsen all left the program following the 2012 season to pursue a career in the NFL. That leaves Quinton Spain as the only consistent starter to return from last season.
Now, that's only four players. An offensive line consists of five bulky, tall, strong men who go to any lengths to keep defenders away from the ball. So who's left?
Pat Eger is returning as a redshirt senior in 2013, and has seen an entirely new role in the first two weeks of spring practice.
The former on-again, off-again right tackle is getting snaps under center for the first time since he joined the West Virginia team. It's a new role for him, but he had no other choice when he found out about the change.
"Coach [Ron] Crook and Coach [Shannon] Dawson said we're going to move you to center and I said 'okay,'" says Eger. "At the end of the day you have to do whatever is best for the team."
Playing center is entirely different than playing right tackle. From stances, to having to call out formations and shifts, the center is the head man of the offensive front.
Before, Eger would simply line up on the outside and wait for punishing lineman or linebackers to head his way. Now, the defense is sitting on top of his head, just a foot or two away waiting for his hand to move to pounce all over him.
The change has been a relatively slow process up to this point for the Pennsylvania native. New offensive line coach Ron Crook hails from Stanford before implementing his mindset into the offensive unit.
"Pat is a smart guy," Crook says. "But his snaps are all over the place right now."
Crook hasn't changed much from what Bill Bedenbaugh left behind after last year. Players are saying he has just made minor adjustments to stances in order to fit his own mold.
Consistency is key for the senior. Adjusting the timing of snaps, as well as each quarterback can be difficult. It doesn't help that Holgorsen has a heated competition for a solidified starting quarterback on his agenda.
"There's a lot less room for error, but every day I just have to keep working on it and get it down to have more consistent snaps," said Eger.
But Eger isn't the only lineman who is stepping into a new role. As previously mentioned, three of last years starters are no longer on the team. Look for guys like Curtis Feigt and Tyler Orlosky to step in over the next few months in order to take the field in the opening game.