West Virginia's Offensive Line Moving in Right Direction

WVU's offensive line has been as sturdy as Stonewall Jackson, but Maryland will be its biggest test of the season. A strong Maryland defensive line could give Skyler Howard fits if the offense can't find rhythm -- and it all starts up front.

Through two games the West Virginia offensive line has been pretty solid. Tyler Orlosky and the line have remained sturdy enough for Skyler Howard to do his job. The line has only given up four sacks this season; but even those can be misleading. Maryland ranks among the top in total sacks with 14, but ranks among the bottom in pass defense.

This will be the Mountaineers' first true test up front, though. Maryland has two players who could disrupt the offense. Yannick Ngqkoue and Quinton Jefferson can really get after the quarterback, as the two have combined for nine sacks on the year. Orlosky understands it’s going to be a challenge. 

“Obviously it’s a rival. It’s a big game for them, it’s a big game for us,” said Orlosky. “This will be our first big test, and I think we’ll come out ready to play.” 

The Mountaineers will need a fast start. Giving Wendell SmallwoodRushel Shell and Howard running lanes could launch the offense. 

“We go into every game hoping to establish the run,” said Orlosky. "Hopefully we can do that and open up the pass game where we really excel.”

That is the game plan for West Virginia: attack Maryland’s front and expose big plays down the field. As a unit they are still developing, but even after only two games there is growth.

“We still have a long way to go,” said Orlosky.  “I think our two guards are making good progress. Overall we’re going in the right direction.” 

Kyle Bosch and Tony Matteo are still splitting snaps at right guard. Bosch, a Michigan transfer, won the starting job this summer, but Orlosky said that Matteo tends to communicate better and faster than Bosch. Orlosky has also vocalized that he would rather have just one guy on his right, but hasn't been able to tell a difference between the two yet. 

No, the offensive line is not perfect, but it finally has depth. Stone Underwood wnad Grant Lingafelter have been quality when given playing time. Assistant coach Ron Crook even said it's the best personal group he’s seen since joining the staff in 2013. 

Mountaineers Daily Top Stories