MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — With summer workouts in full-sweat and the start of West Virginia preseason camp less than 40 days away, MetroNews continues counting down our Top 10 Most Pivotal Players for the 2014 season. Today we highlight a lineman who was benched last season and now is being entrusted as an edge protector:

Position: Right tackle
Class: Redshirt junior
Measurables: 6-4, 310

His progression at left guard was abruptly stunted last season after four games—and after the 37-0 loss at Maryland specifically—when offensive line shuffling sent turned Lucas into a backup. He appeared sporadically in six additional games and played 271 snaps, before shifting to tackle during the offseason. He’ll replace two-year starter Curtis Feigt who graduated.

The new position isn’t foreign to Lucas, who was recruited as a tackle coming out of Miami Central High, and he claims to feel more natural being back outside. But in the Big 12 he’ll face a flurry of sack-hungry, NFL-caliber defensive ends like Devonte Fields, Cedric Reed, Charles Tapper and Ryan Mueller.

The season opener brings an immediate test for Lucas, as Alabama’s two-deep at defensive end and Jack linebacker features a couple five-star recruits and four more four-star guys.

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  • any major dude

    The zone (pull?) blocking scheme under RichRod was born of necessity but really worked. Necessary because I think he felt he could not recruit huge 4 or 5 star behemoths to pass block consistently but could have success recruiting smaller but quicker O-lineman. This freed runners and Pat White to find holes and slash and burn. Holgorsens's O-lines are more typical NFL schemers run block and pass block. Sure enough, his recruits had decent success run blocking but gave up too many sacks. So while the scheme has changed, the the recruits/ existing players stayed similar in size and strength. Since Lucas is apparently going to be used primarily as an edge pass protector, I'm not sure he is totally relevant to that discussion, however.

  • Hop'sHip

    Don't know when Allan will get off the golf course to reveal his top three, but Trickett seems obvious, Shell seems likely, and I'm guessing the third will be our punter, who just might also be our MVP.

    • Ole Sasquatch

      Oh, wait a minute. When you mentioned the punter I thought of our field goal kicker, maybe he will be in the top 3. Pretty good, if I remember correctly.

  • Aaron

    He's going yo have to be able to "set down and move his feet" if he's going to be effective against Big 12 DE 's. With Trickett being right handed, as long as he can keep the rush deep and outside, he should be ok.

    With the blocking scheme simplified, the entire line should have a little easier go in the run game, an area in which they weren't atrocious last year.

  • richard

    in order for WVU to have any success this year....the O-line has to be good and the defense needs to step it up. QB won't be as big a problem as people think as long as the O-line comes through.

    • WVU1

      That is a huge "IF". The OL has been mediocre for so long, that it would be shocking frankly to see them dominate.

  • Ole Sasquatch

    The offensive line was the root of all our problems last year and I hold this group and Offensive Line Coach to step up this year and make up for all the problems they caused last year.

    • WVU1

      It's really been the weak point for many years. Very few of these "start" guys have really panned out to be game changers. Josh Jenkins and Quinton Spain come to mind. To be fair though, the rotating door at OL coach has been a big issue, too.

      • Aaron

        I think the biggest problem they've had was the change in philosophy after Rich Rod left, from a zone scheme to man up blocking. In today's game with multiple fronts and blitz packages, a return to the zone scheme should aid the lineman to a degree. I do agree that continuity has hurt them as well.

  • Jay

    I've always liked this kid as a Mountaineer offensive lineman. I was excited when WVU recruited him, and I'm excited about what he can be now. I just hope he believes he'll be great, works hard, and IS great in the fall.

    Best of luck, young man.

    Go Mountaineers!

  • FNP

    The whole line is important this year. If they gel like i think they can then we'll be in great shape at the end.