Dubouse Finally Ready For Action

It's been a long trip for defensive tackle Kelvin Dubouse, but he's finally ready to see the field as the Mountaineers' opener with UTC looms.

Dubouse, who sat out last year as a non-qualifier, struggled to get his academics in order and get eligible this fall.

Once that hurdle was cleared, many people assumed the hard part was over, but the friendly defensive lineman faced more, and perhaps tougher, challenges once he got back on the practice field this fall.

"I was really kind of slow starting out," Dubouse said of his first days back in the trenches. "Once you've sat out for so long, stuff doesn't come back all at once. It comes back a little bit at a time, and you've got to keep working at it.

"It's been hard, but I've worked hard through two a days, and I feel pretty good about my position."

One of the biggest challenges Dubouse faced was improving his technique, which wasn't a big factor in high school.

"In high school, I wasn't as big as I am now. I was a little quicker, so I could run around people. When I came up here, I had a problem keeping my pads low, and the offensive linemen were just pushing me around and doing what they wanted.

"These last few days, I've been keeping my pads down better, and it's harder for them to move me."

Not being moved is task one for the nose tackles in WVU's 3-3 stack defense, and Dubouse seems to have been designed for that system. With strong legs, a wide base, and a low center of gravity, Dubouse is well equipped to handle the doubleteams of opposing linemen.

Another area of concern after coming off a year's inactivity is getting back into game shape -- getting used to being hit and taking the pounding day after day. Dubouse said he is in better shape than most people believe.

"I can play at least forty plays right now," Dubouse said. "I'm not stressed about my shape - I've passed all my conditioning tests. I have had a little hyperventilation problem that caused me to miss a few reps, but I'm ok."

Dubouse has also forged bonds of friendship with his teammates along the defensive line, especially those he shares the defensive tackle position with. It's just another sign of his growing maturation.

"I don't feel it's been a competition thing," Dubouse said of the players he shares time with along the line. "Ernest (Hunter) and I have been friends since out first day up here. (David) Upchurch has been like a big brother to me.

"Upchurch is a technician. He knows all the tricks of the trade. We'll be in the film room, and he'll point out the little things that I really need to learn to play this year. He's really good. I didn't know he was that good until I got out on the field with him.

"Ernest is strong. He's come a long way. He's smaller than Upchurch and me, but he knows what he's doing."

Those bonds weren't just developed on the field or in the film room. Dubouse's linemates were also there to encourage him in the classroom as well.

"When I was having my academic problems, 'Church and Jason Davis were always on me. I was being kind of a hardhead, but they kept at me and kept pushing me," Dubouse said of his spring and summer under the academic gun.

To Dubouse's credit, he eventually took the good advice and encouragement, both on and off the field. As a result, he's in good academic standing and ready to contribute to the Mountaineer defensive effort.

And after a year away from the limelight, Dubouse says he's not the least bit concerned about individual honors.

"I'm not worried about my individual status - I just want to help the team out any way I can."

Spoken like a man who has learned a lot in the last twelve months.

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