The Mountaineers, like most teams, are looking to play seven to eight players. That’s always the case, though it seems like many teams get comfortable with just five, and stay with that number barring injury. But this year, it would appear West Virginia has enough depth to reach the seven mark, and both Crook and graduate assistant Zac Hueter say that eight is not just the goal, but a legit possibility.
Right now, the initially listed starters, from left to right, include Yodny Cajuste, Adam Pankey, Tyler Orlosky at center, Tony Matteo and Marquis Lucas. But the addition of talented Michigan transfer Kyle Bosch has forced the coaches to look at inserting him into the line-up. Bosch started three games for the Wolverines as a freshman, and projects as a surefire guard at WVU. Right now, the staff is trying to find the fit for Bosch, having shuffled the line-up and even, for a couple series, slid Pankey back to his original position of tackle, displacing Lucas.
Pankey, now a junior, started all 13 games last season at left tackle after recovering from knee surgery during his freshman season. He moved to guard during the spring, and the interior position best fits his mentality and physical ability and frame at 6-5, 312 pounds. But Bosch must be accounted for on the interior, at least as a second-teamer if not starter, and right now the search is ongoing for the best over unit, and how it meshes and plays together.
That will be a prime focus over the next week, as contact drills continue and the staff begins to narrow selections going into the start of the academic year on Aug. 16. Hueter said it won’t take more than four days to begin to gleam greater insights into the total group, so there’s no major rush at this point, but the staff would like to have a solid idea of who will play where prior to game week. With the next six days of drills being the last without school demands, it’s the main period to attempt and finalize the line.
The other player to watch is Cajuste on the outside. A redshirt freshman seeing starting time at the blindside tackle spot can be a concern, but that’s not the case for West Virginia at this point, according to Hueter. Hueter, whose comments can be viewed in full below, said he likes Cajuste’s motor, and his intensity, and that his longer arms and frame should fit well. The relative inexperience isn’t a concern, though development, i.e. growing, pains should be expected, even from the 6-5, 293-pounder out of Miami.
WVU OL grad assistant Zac Heuter goes in depth on the Mountaineers’ front
Hueter named Cajuste, Orlosky, Bosch and Lucas as guys with big motors who play hard consistently, and added that, during the initial week of camp, “we can get a feel for athletic ability, for a guy’s motor. But once the pads go on, a different guy should come out. That’s want you’re looking for, guys to finish blocks and go through blocks.” Bosch, he added, brings “a different type of physicality. He is one of those guys who is a mean guy. Guys feed off that. Playing offensive line, you have to have a different person on the field. Kyle takes it to the next level.”
The second team group will fill in behind, and right now that’s penciled as Sylvester Townes at left tackle, Bosch behind Pankey at guard in the main ongoing battle that could affect other positions as noted above, Stone Underwood as the reserve center, Grant Lingafelter at right guard and Marcell Lazard, the biggest lineman at 6-6, 310 pounds, at tackle.