Twice As Painful

One of the more ballyhooed Mountain State recruits in recent years has had little chance to display his skills since arriving on campus two seasons ago due to injury, but he goes into the fall with a chance to compete for playing time.

Nitro High School product Chad Snodgrass made many in his home state quite happy when he chose to come to West Virginia despite offers from many other high-level college programs.

Like most offensive linemen, he redshirted during his true freshman season to give him time to develop both physically and mentally for the grind of being a blocker at the college level.

But he never had a chance to show whether or not the extra time in the weight room helped. Going into the spring of last season, Snodgrass had to have shoulder surgery.

The difficult recovery process meant that the guard had to miss nearly the entirety of the season. Finally, he was cleared to practice in the last week and worked with the team in preparations for the Meineke Car Care Bowl, but did not play.

Finally healthy, Snodgrass practiced for the entirety of this spring. But once more, bad luck struck when the third-year sophomore fractured the fifth metatarsal in his right foot during the Gold-Blue Spring Game, holding him out of parts of the summer conditioning period.

After yet another recovery period, the 6-foot-4, 291-pounder goes into fall camp healthy once more and hoping to earn playing time along the Mountaineer offensive line.

"Playing this game, I don't think anybody's ever 100 percent," Snodgrass said. "From what I've suffered through in my several years here, I feel like right now I'm as close to 100 percent as I can get."

While time away from the game and the lack of a complete summer program focused solely on strength and conditioning may have kept the Cross Lanes, W.Va., native from being farther along in his progression as a player, he has chosen not to dwell on what might have been.

"I try not to really think about (the time off) as hurting me," Snodgrass said. "It's another obstacle that's been thrown in my way, and I'm just trying to overcome it. I'm trying to play the best I can and help the team as much as possible."

"Technique-wise and experience-wise, maybe I would have been a little bit better. I would have been more fundamentally sound. But it can happen to anybody."

For a player as talented and touted as Snodgrass was in high school, the fact that he has yet to play a snap in an actual game going into his third season at WVU has been difficult to deal with.

"It's definitely both disappointing and frustrating, but there's nothing you can really do about it but look forward and keep pushing," he said.

That is the approach the exercise physiology major has taken going into this fall. Under the watchful eye of position coach Dave Johnson, Snodgrass, like most of his teammates, is still trying to "knock off the rust" that comes with time off.

"(Johnson) agrees with me that I'm just a little rusty," he said. "It takes time to get back to everything. I'm working as hard as I can, and I think he knows that too."

"I'll do anything to help the team in any shape, way or form."

And while playing time is hardly guaranteed for someone who has been unable to get on the field during his time in Morgantown thus far, Snodgrass enters the season as the primary backup behind Josh Jenkins at left guard.

Being in the two-deep means that Snodgrass would likely finally get the chance to get some playing time when Johnson rotates his linemen to keep them as fresh as possible.

But despite the excitement that must come with the chance to play after so much time away from the game, he also knows that he must show Johnson and the rest of the WVU coaching staff during fall practice that he is capable of performing at a high level.

"I would hope (that I'll have the chance to play," Snodgrass said. "But right now I'm just going to work as hard as possible to achieve that."

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