MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The guy who couldn’t snap straight last spring will be West Virginia’s starting center this week, but Pat Eger wasn’t too surprised to receive word from offensive line coach Ron Crook on Tuesday.

No, the surprising part had come Saturday night, during the second half at Oklahoma, when between series Crook said “Pat, you’re up! Get ready to snap.”

File photo

Pat Eger

The versatile Eger already had played both guard spots that night, after working most of his first three seasons at tackle. But playing center for the first time in a college game—while going head-up against former national top-50 recruit Jordan Phillips at nose tackle—took a moment to process.

“I was just happy all my snaps were good; that was the biggest thing I was worried about,” Eger said. “I played smart and played fast. So I got that first little nervousness out.”

“My natural position is wherever I need to play to help the team win.” — Pat Eger

Eger played two series at center without any major breakdowns and rotated in at the guard positions on nine other drives. His overall performance graded out among the highest on the line, leading WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen to remark: “Pat has been playing really well, as good as I’ve seen him play. He deserves to start.”

The previous starter for two games, redshirt freshman Tyler Orlosky, endured some difficult moments in his first Big 12 game and for the foreseeable future will spell Eger. “(Orlosky) physically got out-manned a little bit,” Holgorsen said. “He got lit up a bit. The guy he went against (Phillips) was a good player.”

Eger can attest to Phillips’ size and force, having wrestled with him at all three interior line spots: “The guy from Oklahoma was pretty big. He was like 6-6, 320-something, so we had fun all night.”

During Tuesday’s practice, Eger estimated he made about 100 snaps during the various drills and live periods. The odds on all of those being sound would have been astronomical back during the spring, when Eger first try at snapping resulted in what can only be described as a spray pattern.

“I was having trouble with all of them,” he recalled. “When the coaches wanted me to try center, it wasn’t like ‘Let us teach you how to snap.’ It was kind of learn as I go along.”

Beyond the mechanics of making accurate shotgun snaps, Eger also wrangled with the concept “that you’ve got to snap the ball while there’s someone two inches from your face, who’s firing off the ball and trying to kill you.”

Now snapping has become second nature to the point where Eger said “it’s a part of your natural rhythmic movement.” As natural as barking out blocking assignments based on the defensive front, an experience edge the fifth-year senior has over the still-green Orlosky.

“Pat knows all the calls, and he can direct the offense,” Crook said. “He can get everyone on the same page.”

Watch Pat Eger’s interview below:

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Comments

  • JJ

    You are all crazy! Why don't they play Matteo at center? He was brought to WV to play center! He's one of the biggest and strongest kids on the team.... I've seen him play he's a beast.. Give Matteo a shot

  • Kevin

    Cool story bro

  • joe

    I will second the sentiments of many of you on here with 2 areas:

    1. Eger - great attitude and glad the kids are buying in.

    2. Dana - is doing a great job, will only get better as will our team. Be patient, let the man do his work, rebuild our program and continue to fall in love with the state.

    Also - it sounds like a FEW people on here are falsely under the impression that the program was in great condition when Dana got here just cause he took us to the BCS and a blow out win in his first year. The BCS was something we should have been doing every year in the old crappy conference....and we weren't. He Did. The blow out BCS win... that's called overachieving. That was coaching & improving... which I something I think you will see as this season goes on. But keep in mind... that's not just where we were... we didn't have that outcome the 3 years prior. Now we have stepped up majorly in conference and the results will come as we build the talent and depth needed in a conference like this. Stay tuned

    • Bryan

      Agree Joe, considering what Dana started with and what we have now anyone saying he's not doing a good job no nothing about football. And we will only get better and take WVU with him.

      Go Mountianeers

    • MajorHuff

      Great comment Joe, I totally agree. I am afraid he willl take his game somewhere else and then get ready for the Terry Bowden era. The team in the Big 12 with the best defense will win the league. I hope that's what they are building.

  • cutty77

    Pat is really to slow to play on the outside of the guard anyway. Give Tyler a little slack he's a young Kid. Coach Crook knows what he is doing. This is a Very New and Young Offense Team,give it a little time. Last year the defense was very young and made alot of mistakes,now look at them this year. Ford is The QB but it will take a couple more games untill Hard Head Dana sees that.

  • Earl Ray

    Right on Dave. Now JimJim and Dale, who do you want to be our head coach? Come on, you want rid of Dana so who do you want? Let me tell you something you don't know. Dana is very well respected amongst his peers and coveted by several bigger name schools and most likely won't be here long because of "Wal-Mart Mountaineers" like you two clowns. Oregon asked to interview him this offseason. We were a few bounces of the ball away from winning the Oklahoma game. If McCartney gives ANY effort on that endzone throw we are up 14-13 late. In their house, with less talent where they only lose 1/3 of a game per year.
    We would be getting MURDERED if BS were still our coach (rip). Absolutely embarrassed as it is embarrassing to be associated with you clowns as an alumnus and fan. It will be easy for Dana to leave since we showed him no love.

    • tony

      I think you overestimated the impact of these idiots. believe me, the world knows what areas of the country spring such nonsense. you just have to hit the ignore button. they used to have instant posts but the foul mouthed young idiots ruined that. that's the level we're on here, its a shame but the ratio is higher here.. as the teeth recede so does the brain with it..

  • Dave

    I like Pat Eger's What ever it takes, Wherever they need me attitude.

    • Dougie

      Couldn't agree with you more Dave. Need more kids here like this. Let him start.

  • JimJim

    The Dude is not a head coach is he Dale?

  • JimJim

    Best hair on the team.

  • Big Larry

    QUESTION: Does Pat Eger deserve to start at center on Saturday?

    ANSWER: Only his hairdresser knows for sure...

  • Dale

    You couldn't figure that out during summer camp?

    • tw eagle

      no , actual play is needed to sort out who handles these responsibilities best under
      pressure . . .and the experience of play
      will help them all improve . . .trying to leverage Rowell in practice is much different
      than the actual "combat" of play . . .

    • William

      Get ready for fumble city between center & quarterback