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WVU Offensive Line Working Through Injuries

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MORGANTOWN -

New West Virginia University Offensive Line Coach Ron Crook is dealing with a little more than he originally expected in his new job this spring.

Crook is having to move around his line on the heels of two injuries suffered last week in spring camp.

Center Pat Eger suffered an ankle injury. He was dressed in red and spent most of the 30-minute portion of practice open to the media last Thursday riding a stationary bike. This after he had an ankle injury surgically repaired after the 2012 season.

"He will probably be out for a little while, but I don't think it will be anything that will bother him long term," Crook said. "It is more of a precaution at this time of the year. The injury was not related to his previous surgery at all."

It is unlikely Eger will take part in any contact drills through the remainder of spring practices and probably will not play in the Gold-Blue game on April 20.

With Eger on the shelf for the remainder of spring, a couple of other players are getting the chance to show what they can do at the center position.

"Tony Matteo has done a solid job stepping in," Crook said. "He is basically relearning a position, because he hasn't practiced it much this spring. Russell Haughton-James will move in there as well. We haven't had a chance to get Russell in there yet, but we are looking forward to getting him in there to relearn that position."

The other offensive line injury belongs to Adam Pankey. He tore his ACL and will be out until September or October.

"You hate to see that happen to a kid," Crook stated. "He was making a lot of strides. He was improving on a daily basis. It is frustrating from that standpoint. We tell these kids all the time – you can't control that type of thing."

Pankey is a redshirt-freshman and was having a decent spring.

The injuries to Eger and Pankey will allow other players to get more reps and should help with developing depth. However, Crook would much rather see the extra practice time go to Eger and Pankey.

"It is hard to say what effect that will have on the team going forward," Crook said.

The key for the rest of the healthy offensive linemen is to remain that way. Crook does not want to have to do any more shuffling on the line while spring practices are still on the schedule.

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