Bednarik Looks To Get Head Start

As the plays clicked off during WVU's spring football game, one observer in the stands seemed to be paying a bit more attention than the average Mountaineer fan in attendance. Play after play, the figure in the gray hooded sweatshirt watched the quarterback take the snap and start the action.

Fear not, WVU faithful. It wasn't a Pitt scout that was following the action so closely, but rather incoming quarterback Adam Bednarik, who will arrive at West Virginia this fall with more than the normal scrutiny of the average freshman.

Due to WVU's thin quarterback ranks, Bednarik will have the opportunity to grab the third team slot this fall, much as juco transfer Charles Hales did last season. The difference of course, was that Hales was coming off a year of action at Jones Community College, while Bednarik will be arriving from the high school ranks.

In addition, Bednarik only has about 1 ½ seasons of experience at the spot, so he's going to be coming into something of a pressure situation.

To his credit, however, Bednarik has taken a philosophical approach to the challenge that awaits him.

"The coaches told me to be ready. Going into camp they already had me written in as the number three guy," Bednarik said between plays of WVU's spring game. "I just got the playbook, so I'm going to start looking at it and try to learn the offense as fast as I can. If someone goes down, I have to be ready to get in there. I hope nothing bad happens, but if it does I have to be ready to go. You always have to be ready to get in there and play."

Most freshmen are just thinking about getting acclimated to college football at this point in their careers. Bednarik, however, has been thinking about what it would be like if he were called into action in his first year. While most players might exhibit some nervousness or trepidation in that situation, Bednarik speaks of it calmly, as if he were discussing what he had for breakfast.

"I definitely think about it," Bednarik said of the possibility that he might have to take some snaps against some of the best college teams in the country. "It's in the back of my mind, so I have to do my best to prepare for the season. I know the coaches will be helping me out a lot. If I have to wait my turn, then I will wait, but if I happen to have to step in there, then I'll do my best."

Such a calm approach to a potentially high pressure situation speaks well for Bednarik's skills as a leader, as does his analysis of WVU's offense during the spring contest.

"I'm very impressed. The offense seems to be spreading the ball around really well. They seem to be putting together some pretty good drives. I'm really impressed with what they are doing."

As Bednarik watched the action unfold, he also thought about how he could fit in to the offense, and where his skills might best help the team.

Adam Bednarik
"They seem to be passing a lot more," Bednarik said of the Mountaineer offense, which is working hard to add a passing game threat to their dominant running game. "Rasheed has a year of experience, and it looks like they are more confident throwing the ball. As far as I am concerned, I think I can help get the ball downfield. Throwing the ball, I should be able to help the offense."

Although Bednarik expects to get a lot out of studying the WVU playbook and watching his teammates in action on the field, he, like most other players, says there's no substitute for on the field action.

"There's always room for improvement on the field. The more you practice against live guys on the field, the better you can get. You can watch a lot of film, but it's totally different going out there and doing it. So, the more you get out on the field, and the more reps you get, the better you are going to be. The more reps I get this year, the more I'll get used to the system.

Of course, the Mountaineer coaching staff hopes that they won't have to use their talented freshman this year. Bednarik's career would probably be much better served if he can use the 2003 season to watch and learn, both on the field and in the film room. However, should the need arise, it's good to know that Bednarik is already working and preparing to answer the call if it comes.

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