NEW YORK -- Jeff Braun will be West Virginia's center for Saturday's Pinstripe Bowl against Syracuse.
The veteran is trying to make the move there from right guard as uncomplicated as possible.
That's the persona of a fifth-year senior who has started at guard and tackle with the Mountaineers. He's also been the backup center all season and was taking regular practice reps there for a good part of this season.
He's even played center once before in place of Joey Madsen with Josh Jenkins to his left, the very scenario he'll have in the 3:15 p.m. game (ESPN telecast) at Yankee Stadium.
Of course, in that same game, the quarterback was Jarrett Brown, the leading rusher was Noel Devine and the leading receiver was Jock Sanders. It was the second game of the 2009 season and Braun's only other live action at center was at the end of a 35-20 win against East Carolina.
"For me, it's been like riding a bike," Braun said. "I snapped my whole senior year (of high school), so once I got the ball back in my hands, snapping it came naturally for me. I'm not worried about that."
The Mountaineers (7-5) knew early last week Madsen would be academically ineligible for the bowl and Braun had plenty of time to practice and to get reacquainted with center.
Madsen had started 50 of the past 51 games and played all but eight of WVU's snaps this season.
Braun practiced four times at center in Morgantown before the break, which means Pat Eger had as many opportunities to work out in Braun's place at right guard.
Braun said he needed a handful of snaps before he found the groove and could consistently zip shotgun snaps to quarterback Geno Smith.
"I've played it here my whole career, kind of silently in practice," Braun said. "I got a lot of reps all the way to halfway through the season and cut my reps back, but I started getting live reps again last week."
Snapping the ball is a big part of the position, but it's not the biggest, and especially not against a defense that likes to blitz as much and as unpredictably as Syracuse's.
The Orange (7-5) make 7.5 tackles for a loss per game and blitz on about half its downs.
Those blitzes are hardly ever the same.
"A lot of their defense is trying to confuse you," Braun said.
"They try to disguise things and where the blitz is coming from. They bring a lot of different guys from a lot of different places, so you've got to be ready for that. I'm responsible for picking that up and sliding (the line) to protect Geno."
WVU doesn't huddle, which could keep prevent Syracuse from being too exotic, but Braun will be charged with quickly reading the defense, finding the blitz, communicating it with the offensive line and sliding the protection to the appropriate spot.
The trouble with that, though, is that Syracuse is hard to diagnose.
"They're very random," Braun said. "They don't have many tendencies. But you can see the guys and where they're overloading."