Lynch 's Double Duty

Mountaineer defensive lineman Ben Lynch is working at both defensive line positions this spring.

Lynch, whose size and speed are more suited to the defensive end position, has also been getting some repetitions at nose guard during spring drills.

Lynch's duty on the inside was sparked by depth concerns - both David Upchurch and Ernest Hunter have missed time at the nose due to class and minor injury concerns. Lynch knows, however, that his immediate future is more likely to be at the end position.

"Right now, defensive end suits me a little bit more because of my size. I can use my quickness more. Next year, I'm going to see how big I will get, so I might play the nose a little bit more.

"I hope I don't have to play a whole lot of nose, because that would mean we'd be having injury problems like we did last year. I think we'll be solid with Upchurch and Hunter in there at nose.

"Coach told me he might need to use me as a utility player this year. He wants me to know both positions. I don't really care where I play. Just put me in there, and I'll play."

Lynch's attitude seems to one that is shared by many of his defensive mates -- they are just looking for a way to get on the field and help the team. Lynch's willingness to learn a new position, and one that isn't particularly suited to his talents, is a great example of 'taking one for the team'.

Having experience at another position isn't all negative, however. Lynch notes that knowing what your linemates are supposed to be doing is an advantage.

"It definitely helps to be able to play more than one position," Lynch said. "If you know what the guy next to you is supposed to be doing and where's he supposed to be, that helps a lot. You can play off of that."

Like most of his teammates, Lynch likes the new defensive scheme, and doesn't see any reason why the base defense can't be installed by the end of the spring. There have been some adjustments, however, that have taken some getting used to.

"Footwork is one of the biggest changes. The first step is very different. Last year it was ‘stride out' and get as much ground as you can. This year, our first step is with the opposite foot. That's sort of awkward. We step out, and then play from a contain spot.

"We have some calls for the defensive end to rush, and some to contain. The ends have the option on going outside or to juke and fake and go back inside. That gives me the chance to use my head fake," Lynch noted with a smile.

"The main thing is to just listen to what coach says. We have to get our steps down, and that's the main thing we are working on right now. Everything else is just playing ball."

Observers of spring drills have noted that the offense has been able to make some consistent gains against the first team defense. Lynch, however, thinks that many of those are attributable to "mental mistakes" that will disappear as the defense grows more comfortable with their assignments. Of course, WVU's 1-2 punch of Avon Cobourne and Quincy Wilson, behind a good offensive line, also has something to do with those gains.

"Right now we're just playing hard, and by the end of the spring I think we should be pretty comfortable with the base defense," Lynch projected. "The coaches are being cautious about putting too much terminology or giving us too much to work with. We're really concentrating on the base during the spring."

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