'Big Uglies' get clean look

West Virginia's offensive line went from 80s rock to clean jocks courtesy of Dan Mozes and Jeremy Sheffey.

The two upperclass linemen had the entire offensive front shave their heads, leaving Mozes' formerly-lengthy locks in a trash can in the basement of the Puskar Center and Sheffey's even longer do littered on the floor just outside the equipment room. They even managed a bit of lighthearted hazing, making tackle Jake Figner leave his sideburns on.

"We left Jake's on there so he would look stupid for a bit," Mozes said. It worked. The sophomore looks like he should be leading a Union charge up Gettysburg Pike. And when the team assembled for skeleton drills, it looked like a training scene from Full Metal Jacket.

"It's a more aerodynamic look anyway," the center said. "The only person who was upset was Dan (Nehlen, the equipment manager). He had to refit our helmets. Dan doesn't like to do any more work than he has to. The worst looking one is (reserve center) Tim Reed. I like it, though. It shows unity."

The line, anchored by Mozes, a Rimington Awrd candidate and a first-team preseason selection for eight publications, and Sheffey, an Outland Trophy watch list nominee and a first-team All-Big East pick for four magazines, returns three starters. The third, Ryan Stanchek, gives West Virginia three solid interior linemen. Tackles Figner and Damien Crissey are battling John Bradshaw for the starting spot. They all agreed the less-than-crew cuts were a sign that the line is a unit, just like some members of WVU's team wear SWAT shirts to indicate third-down defensive expertise.

"I like it. Some of those guys were getting a little too long, anyway," head coach Rich Rodriguez said. "It was probably nice and cool out there, too."

Though quarterback and Yellowhammer State native Patrick White noted that it "wasn't Alabama heat," the 82-degree temperatures were enough that Mozes noticed the difference during the 24-period practice, even thought it was held in just shirts, shorts and helmets. West Virginia won't put on shells (shoulder pads) until Monday, and won't go full-contact until Wednesday.

"It was cooler out there," Mozes said. "You want to keep flipping it back. Not exactly playing with it, you know, but just keep it out of your eyes. I reach up there now and it's gone. I wasn't sure at first if I wanted to do it. Sheffey, man, he said he would not do it unless everybody else did. When I felt it start to be cut (by Sheffey) and reached up there, I didn't know if I wanted to puke or cry. But I'll get used to it."

Sheffey, a two-year starter with 20 knockdowns who was limited in the spring because of a strep throat, quickly answered Mozes' claim of being the last to shave it with a shot of his own.

"Dan had to call home and check with his mom first," Sheffey said. "He couldn't do it unless mom said yes. And Tim Reed looks like Jack Nicholson or something. But I like it. I had really long hair, but I'll get used to it. You can never have enough team unity."

Note: Place kicker Pat McAfee also had a new 'do, having bleached his hair to a surfer-style blond that resembles, in one person's words, Duran Duran. It's not a bad look for the sophomore, who had a very solid day kicking. "Strut on a line, it's discord and rhyme...and I'm hungry like a wolf."


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