West Virginia's Offensive Line Received Boost With Addition of Joe Wickline; Will That Change Mountaineers' Approach?

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The hiring of Joe Wickline drew plenty of hype in the off-season, but it also created an interesting situation in the offensive line meeting room.

When head coach Dana Holgorsen announced the addition of Joe Wickline to the WVU coaching staff this off-season, it provided an immediate boost to the overall experience in the Mountaineer offensive brain trust.

Brought in from the University of Texas to be WVU’s offensive coordinator who will also work with tight ends and fullbacks, Wickline brings over 30 years of coaching experience with him to Morgantown.

The majority of Wickline’s coaching over the years has been along the offensive line, including the time he spent with Dana Holgorsen at Oklahoma State.

As you well know, however, WVU already has an offensive line coach in Ron Crook. But if you think the addition of Wickline might create some confusion along the o-line, according to redshirt senior center Tyler Orlosky, two voices have been better than one so far.

“I think we’re doing really well with what we have. Obviously the addition of Wickline has really helped us out I think. ..At first we weren’t really sure how it was going to work out with having two offensive line coaches working together, but I think it’s worked out so far, and I think it will continue to get better,” Orlosky said.

When it comes to the style Wickline brings to the table, it is nearly at the complete opposite end of the spectrum of that of Ron Crook, who was cut from the Stanford power run cloth. Wickline stems from the same Air Raid tree as Dana Holgorsen, but a clash in styles doesn’t necessarily mean an impasse in progression along the o-line.

“It’s a little bit different. Obviously it’s two different philosophies. Coach Wick was with Dana at Oklahoma State which is an Air Raid offense, so he brings a little bit of that back, and Crook with the Stanford power…It’s two different philosophies, but I think they both bring great additions to the offensive line. We just have to pick through what’s good and what’s not,” Orlosky said.

Over the past few years, personnel strengths have led Holgorsen to shift from his pass-happy offensive schemes of the past into a run-oriented, physically dominant style. Wickline has also made a similar transition in recent years.

During his two years at Texas, Wickline transformed a piecemeal offensive line into a stout group of road graters that helped the Longhorns finish No. 18 nationally in rushing yards. As a result, Orlosky doesn’t see a shift in offensive philosophy forthcoming anytime soon.

“I don’t think we’ll lose our identity,” he said. “I think we’ll continue to be a running team. That’s what we strive to be now. Obviously last year we had Wendell who carried us for a lot of the season. Now I think Rushel will do a good job doing that. I don’t think we’ll lose our identity as a running team. I think we’ll keep that.”


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