Continuing in our far look ahead to the West Virginia football season and the HailWV Way Too Early Depth Chart analysis, we take a look at how the big men up front will sort themselves out come this Fall.
Departures: C Joe Madsen, C John Bassler, LG Josh Jenkins, and RG Jeff Braun
Returning: LT Quinton Spain, LT Nick Kindler, RT Pat Eger, RT Curtis Feigt, RG Russell Haughton-James, LG Brandon Jackson, OL Matt Glowinski, OL Mike Calicchio, OL Tony Matteo, OL Tyler Orlosky, OL Adam Pankey, and OL Marquis Lucas
Recruits: T Marcell Lazard, C/G Tyler Tezeno, T Grant Lingafelter, and C/G Stone Underwood
The interior of the offensive line was devastated by graduation this year. Starters Jenkins, Madsen, and Braun have all left in addition to the back-up center Bassler. This leaves a hug void at center for the Mountaineers without any experienced centers left on the squad.
Incoming JUCO C Stone Underwood will bring the experience West Virginia needs and will battle with fellow recruit Tyler Tezeno for playing time. Coach Holgorsen could also decide to shift some of his reserve lineman from a year ago towards the interior of the offensive line given the stacked depth at both tackle positions.
WVU will return both starting tackles and both primary back-ups at tackle this coming season. While it seems all but set in stone that Quinton Spain will hold down the left tackle position, it will be an interesting battle in camp for the right tackle position between Pat Eger and Curtis Feigt. Both men saw time at right tackle last season. Eger started most of the season at RT, but gave way to Feigt down the stretch due to ineffective play.
Who ever the Mountaineers bring in to coach the offensive line (still to be deteremined) will need to assess whether they prefer to keep Kindler and Eger/Feigt as back-ups or move them inside to compete for a guard position, given the lack of experience amongst the other candidates.
Without a training camp to base this on, here is what the initial expectations are for the offensive line depth chart:
LT: Quinton Spain, r- JR, 6’5″ 334 lbs; Nick Kindler, r-SR, 6’6″ 296 lbs; Grant Lingafelter, 6’5″ 268 lbs
LG: Brandon Jackson, r-SO, 6’3″ 328 lbs; Tyler Orlosky, SO, 6’4″ 285 lbs;
C: Stone Underwood, JR, 6’3″ 290 lbs; Tyler Tezeno, FR, 6’3″ 290 lbs
RG: Curtis Feigt, r-SR, 6’7″ 317 lbs; Russell Haughton-James, r-SO, 6’5″ 311 lbs;
RT: Pat Eger, r-SR, 6’6″ 304 lbs; Marcel Lazard, FR, 6’5″ 290 lbs; Marquis Lucas, r-SO, 6’4″ 312 lbs
The most difficult position to forecast is center. Both Tezeno and Underwood come into Morgantown with similar scouting reports and ratings (and measurables as it so turns out). We give Underwood the edge based on his JUCO experience and the fact that Tezeno has publicly been displeased with the departure of former offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh to Oklahoma.
At right tackle, we are predicting that Feigt will lose out to Eger but will probably be shifted inward to shore up the guard position. The same could be said about Nick Kindler on the other side, but we felt it prudent to give Jackson the starting nod based on his potential this season (although it could very likely happen that Kindler gets the spot based on seniority).
Needless to say, the offensive line is a bit of a mess, one that needs an offensive line coach to start figuring out. Oliver Luck and Dana Holgorsen better get to work on finding the successor to Bedenbaugh so that the offensive line can be adequately addressed in Spring practices.
For more on the Way Too Early Depth Chart series: