Tackling The Challenge

Former tight end Selvish Capers is still getting used to his surroundings at tackle.

Sometimes in life, you are put into situations that at first may seem too extreme for your liking, but turn out for the best. In the business world, for example, company CEO's will sometimes move an employee out of their comfort zone and into a new role or location in order to maximize production for both the employee and the company as a whole.

In the booming business of Mountaineer football, you can find a similar example in tight end turned offensive tackle Selvish Capers. The junior from Kennar, La. -- who sat out as a prop in 2005 -- spent the first season of his on-field career in Morgantown at tight end, even though his 6-6, 285 pound frame screams "offensive tackle."

Prior to spring drills, with coaches talking about repping senior fullback/manbeast Owen Schmitt at tight end, Capers was pulled into the office of offensive coordinator Calvin Magee and told, in no uncertain terms, that his days at tight end were numbered.

"Coach Magee called me into his office and he told me basically that he thought the best thing for me to do was move to left tackle and play on the offensive line," Capers recalled. "He said they felt that I'd have a bigger impact on the offense at tackle than at tight end."

As you might expect, the move did not sit well with the big guy at first. After all, he had played tight end for most of his life and came to West Virginia hoping to re-invent the position that has become -- for the most part -- non-existent in the passing game under head coach Rich Rodriguez. But after talking with Magee, who recruited Capers out of Louisiana, he knew that those hopes and dreams of having his name alongside the likes of Lovett Purnell and Anthony Becht in Mountaineer tight end lore were all but gone.

"I didn't like it at first, but eventually I agreed with him and I thank him for moving me to this position," Capers said.

Not that the acceptance happened overnight. Despite spending the entire spring repping at tackle, Capers was not fully sold on the move until the start of fall camp.

"It took me from the beginning of spring until the start of the season to actually see that I'm an offensive lineman," admitted the well-spoken blocker. "I had a big problem with it at first, and you'll always think about what if at tight end, but now its set in my mind that I'm an offensive lineman. I'm at the right position."

Now that he's fully accepted the move inward, Capers is going all out to learn his new position inside and out. Without a doubt, progress has been made since he first stepped onto the practice field wearing No. 66 (though he says he asked Rodriguez if he could keep No. 84 to no avail).

"It's improved since the spring," he said. "I made a big transition, and every day I'm just trying to do bigger and better things for the team and trying to accomplish more.

"My blocking is a lot better than it was at tight end," he continued. "At tight end, I was more worried about catching the ball than I was driving through people. I think I've gotten a lot better with my footwork now from where it was at tight end."

Admittedly, it hasn't been a seamless transition. In addition to learning the intricacies of tackle, he's also learned that sometimes a change such as this is best for both himself and the team in the long run.

"I want to improve," Capers said. "I want to play as hard as I can and as well as I can. Hopefully it comes to them calling me to play on the field I can do that and play to the best of my ability."

At first glance, he may have only moved a few inches from tight end to tackle. In reality, Capers has taken a giant leap in his personal maturation, while also sacrificing for the overall good of his team.

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