Offensive Line is the key to Mountaineer success

CINCINNATI - NOVEMBER 13:  Ryan Clarke #32 of the West Virginia Mountaineers rushes for a 37 yard touchdown in the second quarter of the game against the Cincinnati Bearcats in at Nippert Stadium on November 13, 2009 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

The 2010 West Virginia Mountaineer story will be written by the hogs. The O-Line is always best seen and not heard, if the line can do its job we will be talking about how great Noel Devine and Geno Smith are. The ‘Eers return 4 of 5 starters on the offensive line, only losing Selvish Capers to the Redskins in the 7th round of the draft, and are looking for consistancy that evaded them last year.

I did my best to look up some stats, I know for a fact there has to be some poor GA that is in charge of charting pancakes, crackbacks, holds, and blown assignments. Unfortunately even in the internet era those stats never reach the light of day. Scout’s preview mentions something called a thunderblock, but I couldn’t find it tracked anywhere. Here are 28 pages of various team and individual statistics from the 2009 season, and the only time they show up in the scorecard is when they make a tackle after a fumble. As if the job was not thankless enough.

Let’s take a look at the depth chart

Starters
LT Don Barclay, 6’4″, 304 lb Junior
LG Josh Jenkins, 6’3, 298 lb Junior
C Joe Madsen, 6’4″, 290 lb Sophomore
RG Eric Jobe, 6’2′, 290 lb Senior
RT Matt Timmerman, 6’3″, 294 lb Senior/Jeff Braun 6’4″, 308 lb Sophomore

The left side of the line should be the Mountaineers strength, Barclay has been solid, appearing in every game since his freshman year. Josh Jenkins has a healthy year under his belt and is ready to take a leadership role. This could be the season we finally see what all the hype was about when he was brought in in 2008.

Center is in good hands with Joe Madsen, coming off a year where he made the Big East All Freshman Team. The right side is manned by Eric Jobe, who played all 13 games last season. The right tackle is in flux, Matt Timmerman started in the spring but all indications are that Jeff Braun pushing hard for a starting role.

The top 6 all have of game experience, and more importantly experience playing with each other. I expect to see Noel flying through some monster truck sized holes on the left side. Behind the top 5/6 are a crop of untested but hungry redshirts, that are sure to push the starters, and be ready to fill in if one goes down.

Nick Kindler, 6’6″, 285 lb
Jordan Weingart, 6’3″, 288 lb
Cole Bowers, 6’5″, 289 lb
Ryan Spiker, 6’3″, 288 lb
Pat Eger, 6’6″, 288 lb

With experience starting and youth ready to fill in I’m once again trying to contain my excitement. If this line can come together as a cohesive unit, it will make the new QB’s job that much easier, and we could see a great Mountaineer season.

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