MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Roommates for four years, they’re sometimes mistaken for brothers and even find themselves pursuing the same masters degree in legal studies. So when seniors Curtis Feigt and Nick Kindler say they’re waging a friendly competition for WVU’s right tackle job, the friendly part is legit.
“I really think no matter who wins, regardless of what happens, we will root for each other,” said Feigt. “There’s no hard feelings. When he goes in with the first group and I go in with the second group, I’m hoping the best for him.
“You always want what’s best for the team, and with Nick and I, it’s really a friend-base thing.”
Kindler’s lone career start at right tackle came last season against Kansas State, before Feigt started for the final six games. With new offensive line coach Ron Crook having replaced Bill Bedenbaugh, the position is one of four on the line that’s up for grabs. Upon arriving from Stanford, Crook said he only watched last year’s WVU tape in order to gauge how the linemen moved and punched. The first-hand evaluations he’s making this spring ultimately are more crucial.
The Berlin-born Feigt, at 6-foot-7 and 314 pounds, provides more mass, while the 6-6, 298-pound Kindler brings more agility.
“Nick’s a really athletic guy who controls his body well, and Curtis is big, strong and physical,” said Crook. “But Feigt has good feet for a guy that big, and Kinder is also a tough player despite being athletic.”
Speaking after a practice this week, Feigt cautioned against making too much of the physical differences, claiming both players can be effective blockers as they adjust to Crook’s style.
“Nick is really kind of a slim guy for an offensive lineman and I’ve got a couple pounds on him,” Feigt said. “But our strength level is pretty much the same. When we work out we use the same weights.”
Their off-the-field relationship trumps anything that happens with football. Feigt, despite his still-thick German accent, said he and Pennsylvanian Kindler an pass for family.
“We just have that special bond where people say ‘Are you brothers or something?’ and we go, ‘No, we’re just roommates, but thanks.”
Both players are acclimating to Crook’s personality, which Kindler describes as a middle ground between the toned-down teaching style of Dave Johnson, who was released in 2011, and the more fiery Bedenbaugh, who left for Oklahoma in February.
Crook said the differences in offensive line coaches typically boil down to points of emphasis — and for him that’s footwork and targets. While some of the changes under Crook will be noticeable — of instance, Feigt said tackles will be in a three-point stance more frequently — other adjustments will be more nuanced.
“When you’re watching on TV, a normal person really wouldn’t see it,” Kindler said.
EARLY PROJECTIONS FOR 2013
Starters: Feigt figures to have the edge at right tackle, with junior Quinton Spain — the offensive line’s top pro prospect— entrenched at left tackle. … I’m guessing senior Pat Eger, currently experimenting at center, will shift back to a guard spot and be joined in the lineup by Mark Glowinski, a junior who redshirted last season after transferring from Lackawanna (Pa.) College. Redshirt freshman Adam Pankey looked like a serious contender to win a guard position before tearing his ACL last month. He’s likely out until October, so he might be able to contribute in the season’s second half. … At center, expect junior-college signee Stone Underwood to edge out redshirt freshman Tyler Orlosky.
Top backups: Orlosky, a converted guard, is getting the bulk of spring practice reps at center with Eger hampered by an ankle injury. He’ll make Underwood earn the spot in fall camp. … At guard, redshirt sophomore Marquis Lucas has impressed to the level he was listed with the first unit on Thursday’s tentative depth chart. “He’s got a great motor and he flies around,” Crook said. Russell Haughton-James is making strides at guard, while another third-year sophomore, Brandon Jackson, is a wild card who Crook said “is just starting to understand things, but we’re excited to see where he can go.” Kinder can serve as the top backup at both tackles.