Building Block

When Eric Jobe stepped in at the center position last season following Mike Dent's career-ending neck injury, the Maryland native was able to gain experience that should be a building block for this year's offensive line.

"Now that I know what it's like to play in a game, I am more prepared," said Jobe, who is currently holding down the starting center spot, and could see action at guard as well. "Spring is a great time to get ready for the fall, but now I'm not going into next season not knowing what to expect. I can work more on my game and not be nervous about next year and being a starter."

After losing the majority of their experience due to graduation and the early exit of Greg Isdaner to the NFL draft, the Mountaineers offensive line is spending its spring getting into a groove with one another. There is a lot of work involved, not only individually, but also in synchronizing assignments so that the entire front line works as a seamless unit.

"Being the center, I have to be a leader," Jobe explained. "I have to be the one calling the plays and telling guys what to do. (We need to) get everyone on the same page and get in and watch film. I think everyone will rise to the occasion and we will find the guys we need to play. Coach (Johnson) said he wants the eight best guys up front and I think we're going to get that."

Jobe, who looked to Dent as a mentor during their time together at WVU, realizes the blow that the offensive line took with graduation.

"Obviously, we lost a lot of leadership," said Jobe. "We had a lot of fifth-year guys. A lot of guys had started a lot of games. We're just going to have to work hard and use them as a model of what we need to work towards. If we do that then we'll be alright."

The center has been pleased with the offensive line's first two days of practice, but realizes that the group has a long way to go.

"We've really just worked on getting some soreness out," said Jobe. "It's felt good to get out there with the guys. We didn't really miss a step even with the guys that hadn't started or played a game yet. I'm feeling good about the rest of the spring. (The freshmen) have a lot of willingness to learn. They might make a mistake here and there but they're going 100%."

Another offensive lineman that will be looked to for improvement is sophomore left guard Josh Jenkins. Jenkins played as a freshman until he suffered a knee injury against Rutgers. Jobe is excited to play with the highly regarded sophomore.

"I didn't really get to play with Josh last year and now he's at left guard," said Jobe. "I have Matt Timmerman at the right (guard.) I have two young guys around me but we have Don Barclay and Selvish (Capers) on the ends so they will bring some leadership too."

Spring practice is always an important time for positions like the offensive line, but this year's time is even more critical. With all of the open spots up front, there's competition to earn starting and key reserve roles, and that has to be sorted out while the meshing process is underway. It's a lot to ask, and with just 13 spring practices left, time is certainly a factor. Jobe's experience up front will be a factor in helping the line grow together, but he and his mates will need every snap and repetition during the spring to help build a solid base for fall camp and the 2009 season.

Eric Jobe Profile

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