MORGANTOWN -- The idea behind West Virginia University's volunteer summer workouts these past several weeks is to be prepared for the start of preseason camp early next month.
The secret behind the twice weekly gatherings is that they're kind of fun.
It beats running and lifting and the other ways the Mountaineers attain strength and conditioning. Instead of sweating and straining in the indoor practice facility while the regular weight room is renovated, they're off in the open with their teammates doing drills, rehearsing plays and, most excitingly, playing 7-on-7.
It's quarterbacks, running backs and receivers lining up against linebackers and defensive backs. When you play for the Mountaineers and there is such an onus on offense, it's not especially exciting for offensive linemen.
"We just do positional things," right tackle Curtis Feigt said. "We go through our run steps and our pass sets. Once team (drills) rolls around, we do team stuff with offense against defense, but when they're out there doing 7-on-7, we keep working on our steps and our sets and our footwork and our hands. Things like that. It's just something you have to do."
What is bad is also good. It's not a lot of fun, but it's also not a lot different from what the linemen will be made to do in practice. That it's so close to what they'll be doing in less than a month makes for close to ideal preparation for those Mountaineers.
Three starters were lost to graduation. Feigt, left tackle Quinton Spain and Pat Eger are the returning starters, but Eger has played guard and tackle and was learning center in the spring before an ankle injury cut that short. Nick Kindler is the only other player with any substantial playing experience, and he has just one start.
There are eight other offensive linemen on scholarship on campus -- three freshmen, three redshirt freshmen, a junior college transfer who redshirted last season and a junior college transfer who arrived this summer -- who have never taken a snap for the Mountaineers. Some of them will have to be factors in the fall to replace both starting guards and the center from last year, which makes the role of the veterans important in the summer.
"It's me, Pat, Nick and Spain out there telling the young kids, 'All right, here's what we do on inside zone. This is what it looks like,' " Feigt said. "We teach them this and that and other steps. We're going through the motions to see what they do right and what they do wrong and then we go through the whole progression again and see if they can do it better or if they're doing the same things."