Jobe's Job

In a testament to just how young WVU's offensive line will be in 2009, a center who has started only five games in his college career will be looked upon to provide guidance and leadership. That is a role that the Mountaineers' starting snapper doesn't shy away from.

"I'm definitely prepared (to lead)," said Eric Jobe. "Last year, Mike Dent helped me a lot when he went down, just kind of being a mentor to me. I've been here for three years now and I know the offense."

"I'm comfortable being the center and not only getting the other line guys on the same page, but educating these young centers, because I'll be gone in two years and they'll have to take over."

While the neck injury that ended the aforementioned Dent's WVU career prematurely was unfortunate, it gave Jobe critical game experience that may pay dividends this year. Further adding to the comfort level of the redshirt junior is the fact that he has spent considerable time snapping the ball to quarterback Jarrett Brown when both were backups.

"There's good chemistry already between us," Jobe said of Brown. "I look forward to working with him more."

Developing a bond between a center and a signal-caller can help with more than the consistent delivery of the shotgun snap. Both the quarterback and the offensive linemen have to work together to recognize potential blitzes by opposing defenses and call out the proper protection scheme.

"I think there's been a lot of emphasis on (communicating protection schemes) with (offensive coordinator) Coach (Jeff) Mullen and Jarrett," said Jobe. "It's a matter of us recognizing blitzes, and he can pick it up too and tell us where to go."

"We're confident in Jarrett's ability. Jarrett has the last say in things. Usually he'll see it because he's got his eyes up, so if he makes a call, we'll go with it. Sometimes, we'll make the call and he trusts us to pick up the blitz or pick up his blind side."

While the center is often referred to as the quarterback of the offensive line, Jobe said some of that is minimized by the fact that so much of the West Virginia offense is run out of the shotgun.

"My head is between my legs half the time, so everything usually starts with the tackles," he explained. "They'll see the safeties rolling or see the blitz come up on the line of scrimmage, and they'll relay it to me."

"It's my job to get it to the other side of the line. If Selvish (Capers) makes the call on the right side, I've got to get it over to Josh (Jenkins) and (Don) Barclay so we're all on the same page."

That doesn't mean that Jobe is without responsibility for such things at the center position. In the end, it's his task to make sure the entire offensive line operates as a unit, with each person knowing their role.

"Everything kind of goes through me," said the La Plata, Md., native. "It's the mental part -- making sure everything is doing the same thing and that we all know what's going on."

"People know what to do -- they just don't know when they're supposed to do it. It's just a lot of watching film and recognizing, ‘This is what we're going to do when this happens.' Seeing it on film is one of the keys."

To that end, the offensive linemen are watching considerable amounts of film this summer -- something which Jobe said was just as important as the players' weightlifting and skill development regimen.

With so little experience along the offensive line (the aforementioned Capers is the only lineman to have started more than five games in his WVU career), many have pointed to it as perhaps the biggest position of concern on the Mountaineer roster heading into the season.

Jobe, the second most experienced starter along the offensive front, said that is simply a by-product of the fact that most fans simply don't know what to expect from players they haven't seen play yet.

"There's no proof yet of what we can do," Jobe said. "I'm confident we've got some smart guys who want to play, and we've just got to be confident in ourselves. Come Sept. 5 (the day of the season opener against Liberty), we'll show what we can do. We know what we have to do. We're preparing like any other year."

"(The doubters) are a little motivator. If we were the No. 1 line in the country, who knows how we'd be thinking? Maybe we'd take off a little bit. But we're working hard and everyone knows we have something to prove."

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