WVU football: O-line lineup change works in win
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - For the first two games, West Virginia played seven players along the offensive line and noted the benefits of resting players, even within a series.
That preceded a lineup change for Saturday's 41-7 win against Georgia State (0-3). Pat Eger, who had been busy as backup left and right guard, started at center. Tackle Nick Kindler was left as the only reserve because Tyler Orlosky, who had been the starting center, didn't play until late in the fourth quarter.
That came after Eger "tweaked" an ankle, according to offensive line coach Ron Crook.
Crook said Orlosky practiced once during the week because he returned home to Cleveland following a death in the family. Guards Marquis Lucas and Mark Glowinski played the entire game. Kindler absorbed snaps for tackles Quinton Spain and Curtis Feigt and sometimes played both sides on the same drive.
"It worked fine," Crook said. "Tyler was ready to go. He could have played if we asked him to. We didn't want to put him in a position where he hadn't been there all week and then we asked him to go out and execute things. That would have been unfair to him."
Eger had never played center in a game before last week's loss to Oklahoma, and Saturday was his first start. He had no issues snapping to quarterback Ford Childress, who made his first start.
"He and Tyler both have been very consistent with it," Crook said. "The reason we moved (Eger) there in the spring was to learn that part of it. Learning to snap the ball is one thing. Learning to snap it with somebody lining up across from you who you've got to block is another."
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THE MOUNTAINEERS CARRIED 40 times for 260 yards, but Childress was sacked twice and Glowinski contributed to a personal foul chop block penalty called on Charles Sims, who had 116 yards rushing and a 32-yard touchdown.
Sims went low against a blitzer and Glowinski turned around and pushed the defender without ever seeing Sims, which earned the penalty for blocking a defender already engaged with another blocker.
"That's what happens a lot of times," Crook said. "We try not to cut inside for that very reason. Our linemen always try to come back and get blitzers. When a (defensive) guy cuts across the (offensive) guy's face, he tries to come back and help. That's what got us."
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NEXT, WEST VIRGINIA (2-1) plays Maryland (3-0) at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at M&T Bank Stadium. It was announced following WVU's win against Georgia State the game against the Terrapins will be televised on ESPNU.
WVU has won seven in a row in the series.
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ON THE INJURY front, the Mountaineers played without linebackers Doug Rigg (concussion) and Isaiah Bruce (leg) and safety K.J. Dillon (knee). Nose guard Christian Brown left the game with an undisclosed injury in the first half and did not return.
Senior Tyler Anderson started for Bruce and freshman cornerback Daryl Worley started in place of Dillon as WVU used a nickel package to begin the game. That eventually created an opportunity for safety Rick Rumph to play more than normal in pass defense packages.
Bruce's absence also let the Mountaineers experiment with Eric Kinsey, who had been a defense end, at Buck linebacker. WVU played Kinsey and starting Buck Brandon Golson together at times throughout the game.
It was one of many changes for WVU. Holgorsen changed all three of his starting receivers for the game. Mario Alford, Ronald Carswell and Kevin White joined Worley and Childress as first-time starters.
Forty-two Mountaineers have now started at least one game.
"I told the team, 'You have to understand what your role is and be excited about it. If you're not excited about it, then change it. If you can't change it, then either accept it or do something else,' " Holgorsen said. "Injuries are going to happen. If you're a second-team guy, then you need to be ready to go in and be productive."
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HOLGORSEN HESITATED to play Childress previously because of the redshirt freshman's lack of experience interpreting signals and communicating with the sideline. Holgorsen said Childress handled that well in his debut, but the offense's tempo wasn't as fast or as consistent as it needed to be.
Childress said the offense is simple to run, but he also admitted he can struggle to read Holgorsen.
"It's difficult when Dana gives the signals really quick," he said. "That makes it tricky, or when he tries to be cute with the signs."
"He tries to hide them and stuff and he's got little, small fingers, so it gets kind of confusing," Childress said.
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at email@example.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.