Can't 'Click' Past Camp

With the first day of fall practice for the 2008 season a little more than one week away, Mountaineer players and coaches are eager to get going for yet another highly-anticipated year in Morgantown.

Among those who can't wait to get out on the field is offensive tackle Selvish Capers. The big blocker is so eager for the season to begin that he (and likely many other players on the roster) would much rather push the fast forward button for a few weeks until kickoff for the August 30 opener against Villanova.

"I'm just really eager to get past camp and jump into the season," Capers said on Thursday afternoon.

Unfortunately for Capers and his teammates, Bill Stewart's first fall camp as WVU head coach isn't likely to bare any resemblance to "Click", a recent Adam Sandler movie in which the lead character uses an other-worldly remote to fast forward past the tough times.

Despite his hopes to move forward in time, the reality of the situation is that preseason practice might be more important for Capers than for any other player up front.

With an injury sidelining him for the Fiesta Bowl win over Oklahoma, Capers watched seldom-used walk-on Stephen Maw perform brilliantly in his absence, receiving praise from Stewart and a host of others following West Virginia's convincing victory.

After seizing the starting spot at right tackle midway through last season, it now looks as though Capers will have to fight off Maw -- a senior -- to reclaim his place on the first string. Having spent all spring learning under new offensive line coach Dave Johnson, Capers has continued to prepare throughout the summer for what is sure to be one of fall camp's most-watched position battles.

"Every day, we've got to compete," he said. "All the guys want to play, and even if you're behind someone, you still want to play. If you don't go out there expecting to compete every day, then it isn't going to work out for you."

The offensive line is perhaps West Virginia's deepest position heading into the fall with no less than seven players who boast starting experience, not to mention promising redshirt freshmen such as Donny Barclay and Gino Gradkowski who will also fight for playing time.

Though the competition for reps will begin next Saturday, the line has spent the summer working both together and individually in hopes of hitting the ground running when fall camp commences.

"We do a couple of drills together that we were told to work on over the summer, and then we do a couple of drills individually that help us at our positions," Capers explained. "Lateral drills, stances, footwork and a lot of stuff like that are all things we try to perfect over the summer so that when camp comes along, it will be easier then and throughout the fall."

And while helmets and pads are nowhere to be found during the summertime, the O-line did find itself in the occasional friendly competition with their worthy defensive adversaries.

"We did some work in a circle, with a big hoop that we get in with the d-linemen and try to wrestle them out, kind of like sumo wrestling," he said with a laugh.

Capers and his teammates will now have a little bit of time off before reporting back to the Puskar Center next Friday evening. As those free days dwindle to hours, the realization that another season is just around the corner is an exciting prospect for the junior tackle.

"For the most part, we've prepared hard all summer to be ready for it," he said. "We're pretty anxious."


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