"Pipped" From The Lineup

While the WVU football team managed to get through fall camp largely injury-free, a nagging hamstring issue continued to hamper one veteran defensive player. The practice time it cost him forced him out of the starting lineup for the season opener.

Safety Sidney Glover has been dealing with recurring hamstring issues since spring practice. He wouldn't go as far as to call it an "injury" at this point, saying instead that the muscle in his left leg was "tight" and "tired."

"I did all I could this summer and it just got worn down over a period of time through camp, so it held me out," Glover said.

Mountaineer head coach Bill Stewart reminded Glover about the story of Wally Pipp (the New York Yankee who went down with an injury in 1925 and never regained his job at first base when Lou Gehrig took over) in spring practice. Those stories may have become a bit more realistic to Glover this week.

While the junior may not have lost his spot on the field entirely, he will not start this Saturday's season-opener against Liberty. Nate Sowers and Boogie Allen will instead start at the spur and bandit positions, respectively.

The decision didn't entirely surprise Glover.

"(The coaches) feel confident in me, Boogie or Nate," he said. "Of course Boogie and Nate have been out there practicing and getting better daily while I've pretty much stayed the same."

"We all work hard and support each other and keep each other up. Whatever (safeties coach Steve Dunlap) does, we'll all be positive about it and make sure each other keeps working. There's only two positions and three of us there. Any one of us would be a hell of a backup at either position."

At least for West Virginia's opening week, it appears as though Glover will be the one backing up Sowers and Allen at both positions.

Having players capable of working at both the spur and bandit positions has been a point of emphasis for the aforementioned Dunlap since he returned to Morgantown, and Glover has taken steps to improve his play at both spots.

"They're both pretty much exactly the same," said the Warren, Ohio native. "It's just you're doing different things at different times and on different sides of the ball. You see the same thing on different plays, though."

"The exact same things the spur does, depending on situations in the game and what the offense does, the bandit might do the exact same thing."

The multidisciplinary studies major may not be pleased to spend his time as the backup at both positions for the first game of the season, but he said he recognizes the importance of having several players capable of playing at multiple spots.

"It's going to be a big factor for us, because coach plans on rotating us and stuff," Glover said. "It's important that we all get a feeling of exactly what we're doing at both spur and bandit, so whenever he does feel the need to rotate us, we don't skip a beat out there."

But it's the number of "beats" (in the form of practice reps) that Glover has missed since the start of fall camp that is the reason for his removal from the starting lineup. During his weekly press conference, Stewart said simply that the safety "has not played enough football to start."

That means that the 5-foot-11, 204-pounder has had to spend extra time trying to ensure that his hamstring is in the best possible shape to allow him to get as much time in practice as possible.

"Really, I thought I did everything I could during camp," Glover said. "I really did -- cold-tubbing it after (practice), icing it and rehabbing it. But we'll see how it is. Now, I feel better than I did before, going into camp."

"I feel like I'm going to be healthy in time for the (Liberty) game. It just depends on what kind of damage the game is going to do to my leg afterwards. Going into the following week is what I'm more worried about."

"I've been getting treatments, so hopefully it will last longer than it did through camp."

Despite being unable to start the season-opener, a game which serves as a sort of culmination of the fall practice period for many players and justifies a long offseason of workouts, Glover is trying to keep a good attitude about his situation.

"I'm going to stay positive about it," he said. "I worked hard this offseason. It's just unfortunate I'm hurt. I'm just going to keep my head to the sky and try not to be down about it."


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