MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia senior Pat Eger, one of two linemen transitioning to center during spring drills, went down with an ankle injury near the close of Tuesday evening’s practice, according to coach Dana Holgorsen.
“I don’t know the severity of it,” said Holgorsen. “Our doctors haven’t even looked at it. It just happened.”
Meeting with reporters immediately after practice, Holgorsen said he believes the injury affected the same ankle Eger had surgery on in January.
“Pat was starting to get back in the swing of things, so I hope it’s not serious,” Holgorsen said.
The coach revealed more serious injury news regarding redshirt freshman guard Adam Pankey, who underwent surgery to repair a torn ACL and will miss a chunk of the regular season.
“(The injury) was incredibly disappointing to see, with him coming off his redshirt year,” Holgorsen said. “He has so much upside. He was showing more improvement than any offensive lineman we had. A big, 6-foot-5, 315-pound guy that was moving phenomenally.”
Holgorsen estimated doctors won’t clear Pankey for contact “until September or October.”
CENTER POSITION BATTLE
Plagued by erratic snaps early, Eger has shown “drastic improvement” this spring, Holgorsen said.
“There were probably only 25 percent of the snaps the first couple of days that were even fieldable,” the coach said. “But what do you expect when you’re moving guys to center who have never snapped?”
With four-year starter Joe Madsen departed, along with last season’s two backups, Eger and converted guard Tyler Orlosky are the top candidates at center until junior-college transfer Stone Underwood arrives this summer. Though Underwood is far more experienced at the position — having played center in high school, as a freshman at Southeast Louisiana and as a sophomore at Copiah-Lincoln Community College — Holgorsen hasn’t penciled him in as a starter.
“It’s recruiting, and we try to make the best decisions we possibly can, but you don’t know what you’re going to get until they’re here practicing,” he said.
“The three guys who snapped last fall are all gone. You’ve got to have two or three centers on your team. If you have (only) two, you get nervous. So you really need to have three who can snap.”