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OL coach Bedenbaugh kicks up the intensity


By Drew Rubenstein

The Dominion Post, Morgantown, W.Va.


April 12--There are no guessing games with first-year WVU offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh.

WVU's football players know when they're practicing at the level he expects, and they know when they're not.

"He's hard-edge and he's very vocal," WVU senior offensive lineman Josh Jenkins said. "He lets you know when you're playing soft, he lets you know when you're playing good, and he's a good teacher."

He's also intense. Almost to the point of being intimidating.

"He's got some crazy eyes," WVU center Joe Madsen said of the fiery wide-eyed stare he gets from his position coach when drills aren't going well. "It's weird because he'll scream, and then all of a sudden he'll go back to coaching. It's like, 'OK, are you mad or are you not mad now?' "

It's a balancing act that WVU's coaches and players agree Bedenbaugh handles well. He's trying to restructure the approach of WVU's offensive line while conducting spring drills without the services of two returning starters -- Don Barclay and Jeff Braun, who both had offseason shoulder surgeries.

WVU offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen played at Iowa Wesleyan with Bedenbaugh, and the two later coached at Texas Tech together. Now that they're reunited, Holgorsen said Bedenbaugh has the ability to be animated and collected in shorter spurts to get the most out of his players.

"I think that's a quality every good coach has," Holgorsen said. "You've got to be able to be intense and get after them and get their attention. If you're Mr. Nice Guy all the time, they're going to walk all over you. 1/8But3/8 if you're so intense you lose your wits about you and you're not paying attention to what's going on, then you have a problem. So you've got to be able to remain calm and focused and see what's happening. You also have to be able to get their attention if you need to."

WVU's offensive linemen have embraced the change in philosophy this spring because of its simplicity and effectiveness. Mad- sen said the plays the linemen are expected to execute have been reduced, which allows them to "not stutterstep" or wonder which defender to block, but rather "just kill them all."

Bedenbaugh said the system is easy to grasp because there are not many blocking schemes. Plays may look unique to fans and opposing teams, but the linemen's tasks will often remain the same.

"They hear this call, so they're blocking this way," said Bedenbaugh, who coached at Arizona the last four years. "Now it may be different guys getting the ball. If a receiver gets the ball, 1/8or3/8 a running back, 1/8or3/8 an inside receiver moves inside -- 1/8whoever3/8 we get the ball 1/8to3/8, we're blocking it the same way. It doesn't change who 1/8we3/8 are blocking, but to the defense it's a different play because someone else is getting the ball."

Jenkins knows that Holgorsen's last three offenses at Oklahoma State, Houston and Texas Tech have ranked in the top three nationally, at well over 500 yards per game. He's also been impressed with what Bedenbaugh has accomplished at previous stops. Although the Mountaineers are just six practices in with the new offensive staff, Jenkins believes the changes will pay off when the season begins in September.

"Change is tough, but change is also necessary sometimes and it's just nice that everyone stayed together and everyone is buying in," Jenkins said. "Everyone is excited about getting better and that's what makes a good team."


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