Matt Timmerman, who has seen spot duty at several different positions during his career, got the chance for extended playing time when he subbed in for Jeff Braun at right tackle during West Virginia's 37-10 win. Timmerman, who has mostly seen action in short yardage situations this year, filled in nicely for the injured sophomore.
"Jeff Braun has been playing very hard and kind of got banged up, nothing major, but Matt Timmerman came in and gave great relief in the backup role," said head coach Bill Stewart. "He did a really nice job and played really hard. He is a senior veteran and it was neat to see him play like that at home."
While he has seen limited time during his first four years at West Virginia, Timmerman has been used as a blocking element on short yardage situations this year. Those have been a problem in past seasons, so Timmerman's presence has been a help.
He's also been a substitute at both guard and tackle, but this year has found a spot on the field that has helped WVU improve its third down conversion rate. He's lined up as a tight end, and has several different sets and tasks.
"They have me as an extra tight end for short yardage and short yardage gain play," said Timmerman. "Sometimes they will shift me in motion and other times they will maybe get a heavy set on one side and double team on a linebacker. Sometimes I'm by myself on a defensive end."
During his four years with the Mountaineers, Timmerman has been moved all around the offensive line before finding his niche as left tackle. Despite being recruited at and working as a guard during high school and his first three years in Morgantown, Timmerman got a new position as a tackle on the line. He shifted there when Stewart took over the head coaching job to help address depth issues at the position.
"I was a guard throughout high school and my first couple of years here," explained Timmerman. "Then, out of the blue, we were practicing for the Fiesta Bowl, I got a tackle rep and felt comfortable there. Once the coaching staff changed, during spring practice, I wound up at tackle and I've been there ever since. Coach Johnson knows that I can play tackle so he throws me in every now and then when he needs it."
Timmerman embraced taking over a bigger role in Saturday's victory against Cincinnati and didn't have a problem with the extra duty.
"I thought I did pretty well," admitted Timmerman. "I stepped up for Jeff. He's playing through pain with a shoulder injury. I thought I played fairly decent. There are always little things that I could work on. The coaches did a good job of preparing us for what we would see [against Cincinnati]."
Although he impressed both coaches and fans with his performance against the Bearcats, it looks as though Braun will regain his starting position for Saturday's game against Louisville. Timmerman will step back into his role with short yardage plays, but will be ready if called upon.
"Now it's back to regular short yardage [plays]," said Timmerman. "We will see how Jeff's shoulder pans out. If it still hurts then maybe there's potential [for me to start.]"
The Little Falls, N.J. native has seen the offensive line improvem over the course of the season. He believes that the offensive line is headed in the right direction.
"I think we're starting to click," said Timmerman. "Obviously, there's little things that we need to work on and the little things and obviously the little things will get you beat but I think we've gotten better as the year has went on."