HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- Before Marshall offensive lineman Gage Niemeyer put his hand on the FieldTurf at Milan Puskar Stadium as a right tackle, he had never played that position in a game before in his life.
Was it tough? It was a new experience, he said, but not completely foreign.
"It's not like an alien species over at right," the junior said.
No, but it is taking everything you've known and learned in your football career and reversing it.
When starting right tackle Garrett Scott was carted off the field Saturday with a left leg injury, Niemeyer stepped into the job and helped the Thundering Herd offense to one of its most productive games in recent memory.
Heading into last Saturday's Friends of Coal Bowl at West Virginia, Niemeyer was still battling redshirt junior Jordan Jeffries for the starting left tackle job.
Jefferies started against the Mountaineers, but offensive line coach Geep Wade had told Niemeyer he would be the swing tackle for the game. He could go in at left or right tackle, so he needed to prepare for both.
That cross-training paid off after Scott rode of the field on a medical cart and spent the rest of the came on crutches with his left ankle and leg wrapped below the knee. Niemeyer had worked at both right and left tackle during preseason practice and spent time at right tackle during the team's scrimmages. Still, it took some concentration to change his perspective from left to right.
Marshall (0-1) hosts Western Carolina (1-0) at 7 p.m. Saturday (Fox College Sports telecast). The Catamounts are a Football Championship Subdvision team.
"If you know what you're doing and you're prepared for it, it's not too big of a deal," said the 6-foot-6, 283-pound transfer from Mount San Jacinto Community College.
"You just have to flip everything mentally. Your footwork, that's the biggest thing. You've been kicking left your whole life and you have to kick right. It's a little bit different.
"Everything you've known -muscle memory, kicking left, don't let them beat you inside or outside to the left - now it's all flipped on the right. It's like asking a Major League pitcher to throw left-handed all of a sudden."
He seemed to handle the change well.