West Virginia is two-thirds of the way through spring practices and the team has gone through a few minor changes on the depth, but the moves didn’t surprise many of the players.
The most significant change on the defense side of the ball was redshirt-junior linebacker Tyler Anderson moved to starting defense end. Anderson has been practicing at the buck linebacker position during practice and played a hybrid linebacker/defensive end position when he was at Morgantown High, but didn’t expect he would play defensive end at the college level.
“Not at all. I always thought I was too small. When you see them on TV they’re usually bigger guys, but it was a lot different,” said Anderson. “Today I played at the buck [linebacker] a little bit [more] than I did the end. I didn’t play any end today.”
Anderson says he may still play linebacker this season because he is still practicing with the linebackers, but he just wants to do is whatever the coaches say he has to do to get on the field.
“It’s great,” stated Anderson. “I know whenever a coach tells you go play this position and he trusts you to play another position and do the right responsibilities it’s a great opportunity.”
The walk-on from Morgantown may be a bit undersized for the position at 244 pounds, but he feels his speed will be a huge advantage when he plays that position in the 3-4 defense.
“Everything comes with speed,” explained Anderson. “You have to have speed for everything and to move lineman you have to use speed. With my weight and speed I feel like I got a good chance.”
One of the changes that was announced over one week ago was senior Donovan Miles moving from linebacker to fullback. On Tuesday night, he spoke to the media for the first time about the transition and said it’s something new WVU linebackers coach Keith Patterson approached him about.
“I look at him as if he was coaching me since little league, even though he just got here,” Miles said about Patterson. “So when he addressed me about it I felt comfortable and I felt like I could do it.”
The Virginia native played a little bit of fullback in high school, but was primarily a tight end on offense. Even though this is a completely new area for him, he feels it’s a position he could thrive at.
“Once I got my plays down I felt it was something I could do,” said Miles. “This is a different kind of fullback than in high school. It’s not an I-formation type of fullback.”
The other major move, which wasn’t too major to the players, was senior receiver Ryan Nehlen jumping junior Ivan McCartney for the starting spot at the Z-receiver position. Senior quarterback Geno Smith says he’s not surprised at all by what Nehlen has done on the field.
“That’s Ryan, he’s consistent,” said Smith. “He’s one of those guys where he’s always consistent. He’s going to give you everything he has and he’s been doing a great job for us so far. He’s moved up the depth chart once again and we look for big things out of him this season.”
For the complete depth chart and a list of the rest of the changes that were made, click here. The Mountaineers’ next practice will be on Thursday and complete coverage will be right here at WVMetroNews.com.