MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Today continues a position-by-position examination of where the West Virginia football team stands after spring practice.
The eight-day video series scours the two-deep as the Mountaineers glimpse ahead to the 2014 season, Dana Holgorsen’s fourth at the helm.
Tuesday, April 15
Wed., April 16
Thursday, April 17
Friday, April 18
Monday, April 21
Offensive line: Are the Mountaineers vulnerable up front?
Tuesday, April 22
Receivers: Can they get their swagger back?
Wed., April 23
Running backs: Is this the best unit in the Big 12?
Thursday, April 24
Quarterbacks: Can any of the current QBs win eight games?
Ron Crook prefers to move tackles inside to guard, as he did with Quinton Spain midseason in 2013. But that doesn’t necessarily bode poorly for the inside-out transition of guard-turned-tackle Marquis Lucas.
“Usually you like to go the other way,” said Crook, West Virginia’s second-year offensive line coach. “You like to move from the outside in, and that’s what he did (with Lucas) a couple years ago. He came here as a tackle, so moving back outside wasn’t terribly difficult. He has the advantage of knowing the offense, because he’s been out there a couple years and started games for us.”
He started four, in fact, the first four of last season. But West Virginia’s 37-0 loss at Maryland necessitated changes, if not outright panic, so Spain moved from left tackle to replace Lucas at left guard, and fifth-year senior Nick Kindler filled Spain’s former slot.
Lucas is the projected starter at right tackle now, returning to the position he played in high school.
“It’s a little different when you’re out there on that island,” he said. “Not having that hand down, you lose power, so you’ve really got to watch for technique.”
Projected starters: Opposite Lucas (6-4, 312, redshirt junior) is talented left tackle Adam Pankey (6-6, 304, redshirt sophomore), who platooned with Kindler in seven games last year but has yet to make his first college start.
The guards are solidified with Spain (6-5, 342, redshirt senior) and Mark Glowinski (6-5, 306, redshirt senior), while center Tyler Orlosky (6-4, 299, redshirt sophomore) hopes to hang on to the starting job he lost after three games in 2013.
“I’m comfortable with my starters,” head coach Dana Holgorsen said. “Those five guys have been doing well. The inexperience at tackle was one of the things that we were concerned with, but Pankey is a lot more confident and is healthy and looks really good, and (Lucas) is really adjusting to tackle.”
Backups: No unit has more depth concerns. The reserve tackles are a mixed bag of still-developing players—Marcell Lazard (6-6, 314, redshirt freshman) and juco transfer Sylvester Townes (6-5, 286, junior)—and a veteran Michael Callichio (6-9, 319, redshirt senior) who has played few offensive snaps at the Division I level.
At left guard, Russell Haughton-James (6-6, 293, redshirt junior) saw action in 12 games last season, most often as a blocking tight end. Right guard Stone Underwood (6-4, 293, redshirt junior) was expected to compete at center last season but needed a year to acclimate.
Underwood can play center, but Tony Matteo (6-5, 297, redshirt sophomore) is officially the No. 2 for now.
Watch the video at the top of the page for player highlights and to learn how Allan Taylor and Justin Hoff grade the offensive linemen after spring practice.