For all the changes that have come during Orlosky's career - including coordinators, position coaches, schemes and the surrounding cast - the senior has remained the centerpiece of arguably the most imperative unit on any team. And now, both seem primed for their best seasons. WVU's line, after all, was ranked second in the conference by ESPN's Big 12 blog, while Orlosky's honors have run the gamut this preseason.
"I'm obviously in a role where I am the oldest guy on the line and the most experienced now," he said. "In year's past I looked at other guys to lead, but I'm that guy now. I've got guys to the left and right of me that I can count on to help me through that, too."
None of whom are more imperative, however. From making checks and calls to relating information to quarterback Skyler Howard, Orlosky is the anchor for the Mountaineer front.
"(Orlosky) has done a great job with that each year and getting better with it," line coach Ron Crook said. "He does a great job helping out with the young guys and explaining things to them. Sometimes at this time of year we don't have enough time to really get in-depth in technique or scheme, and you hear him talking to those young guys all the time. Here's what you have to look for or here's what you have to do here."
Which is among the reasons the Cleveland native has been named to both the Outland and Rimington Award watch lists for the nation's best interior lineman and center, respectively. He earned the distinction of being the top center in the nation heading into this season by USA Today and has landed on various All-American and All-Big 12 Conference teams by preseason publications.
Orlosky started all 13 games last year and saw action on more than 1,000 plays. He anchored an offensive line which helped the Mountaineers average 34 points and 479.7 total yards - 228.2 rushing and 251.5 passing - per game. The offense ranked No. 17 nationally in rushing offense, No. 18 in first downs and No. 23 in total yardage.
He also graded out at 90 percent or better in all 13 games while the WVU rushing attack produced 200 or more yards in six games, 300 or more yards in three games and a season-high 426 yards at Kansas. In the last six games of 2015, the rushing offense averaged 251 yards per game and 499.3 yards of total offense.
"You have to look at our team goals before you can start looking at individual goals," said Orlosky, selected to the All-Big 12 preseason team by media members. "Our team goals are to win the Big 12, get to a good bowl game and get a possibility to play in the playoffs. That’s our goal for now."
The line returns five players with multiple starts and three players who have played more than 750 snaps in Orlosky, Kyle Bosch and Adam Pankey. Combined with promising tackles Yodny Cajuste and Marcell Lazard, and solid reserves like Tony Matteo, Grant Lingafelter and others, West Virginia appears to finally have both the talent and numbers to elevate the position into the upper echelon in the Big 12.
"Going on my fifth year here, I think I have earned the respect of our players and I think they respond when I tell them to do something," Orlosky said.null