MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- A strike to the leg knocked Josh Jenkins out of practice and onto the sideline Friday and sent West Virginia scrambling for a solution.
Quinton Spain, the mammoth left tackle, stepped to his right to replace Jenkins. Nick Kindler, a seldom-used redshirt junior who has dabbled almost solely on special teams, filled Spain's spot.
And then a funny thing happened for the Mountaineers.
"Things went smoothly," offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh said. "We didn't miss a beat. When you can do things like that, that's when you're becoming a good offensive line."
More and more now, Bedenbaugh and his players sound impressed by what's happening in preseason camp.
Kindler is very much a part of that and that's a surprise. The 2012 season will be his fourth at WVU.
He's sat out two full seasons, one as a redshirt and one with an injury. He played all 13 games last season, but typically on special teams.
Part of the 2009 recruiting class that included right tackle Pat Eger, backup lineman Cole Bowers and since departed Jordan Weingart and Ryan Spiker, Kindler is nevertheless on hand as a backup to Spain and a reliable option to play with the first team if needed.
"I've definitely battled some adversity, especially getting hurt after my redshirt year," Kindler said. "That was my first spring and I got hurt the first week, so I had to sit out a second year, but I love the game and I love trying to learn and I love trying to see how I develop as a player. That's one of the things that kept me around here during tough times.
"It helps knowing we've got a group of guys here with great camaraderie. We're all pulling for each other. Even if you're not having a great game or even a great season, there are always going to be guys to help you through it."
Far removed from the labrum injury in his left shoulder that cost him the 2010 season and finally familiar with the instructions that changed with the arrival of a new coaching staff last season, Kindler has something now that he's never really had before at WVU.
"Kindler's deal has always been that he's a talented guy, but it's just been confidence with him," Bedenbaugh said. "He understands football, so I don't think that's been his deal. It's confidence with him and he's really starting to gain it now.
"I've been impressed with what he's doing."