Focused on the Finish

While his name has began to circle in some early mock NFL Draft lists, right tackle Selvish Capers said he is solely focused on ending his career at WVU in the best possible way.

"I'm focused on West Virginia right now," said Capers. "I feel blessed to have (been listed in the mock drafts). Who wouldn't? But at the same time, I feel West Virginia deserves my full attention for all they've done for me, so I'm not going to turn my back on them and focus on what's down the road."

That means that Capers will be spending his last few weeks as a Mountaineer working in practice to get ready for the Konica Minolta Gator Bowl against Florida State.

WVU comes into that match-up riding a bit of momentum and playing perhaps its best football of the season, but Capers said that didn't mean that he and the rest of the offensive line had it all figured out.

"It looks pretty while we're out there, but the Pitt game, we had a lot of mistakes (offensive line) coach (Dave) Johnson wasn't happy with," said the senior. "The Rutgers game, we had a lot of mistakes too. It's like our skill positions make us look real good sometimes. It sounds funny saying that, but it's true."

"Don't get me wrong -- we do a variety of things well. A lot of times, our run blocking has been great together and certain pass sets as well. But there's a lot of things that people don't see are the things we need to worry about, like small technical things. Those are the most important things."

 The Kenner, La., native said that the technical and fundamental side of playing along the offensive line, which is often misunderstood (and sometimes even ignored) by more casual observers, is the focus of what Johnson tries to teach in practice.

"(It's about) staying poised but being more aggressive," Capers said. "(Johnson) teaches a lot of fundamentals and focuses a lot more on technique. My coaches did in the past, but it wasn't a big emphasis like it should have been, I feel."

"He's technical, which makes the game a lot easier if you have it down pat. I've learned a variety of pass sets and a variety of footwork schemes for run blocking. So it's been a big contribution to my game."

While much of the talk before the season began revolved around how an extremely young West Virginia front five would play, it can hardly be said that the offensive line lacks experience now.

After going an entire season without a serious injury issue, younger players now have a full 12-game season under their belts and played essentially every snap in the course of doing so. Capers, the lone senior on the line, has watched the younger players around him grow up this season.

"We're blessed to have that going on with our line right now," he said. "It's real rough. We get injured, but a lot of things, we just have to suck up so we can stay out on the field. We stay together as a unit and help each other out."

"That's great. It makes things a lot easier. We don't lose that rhythm. O-linemen, you play together every game. You can kind of lose the rhythm if somebody takes the place of the best person. We stayed in a groove all season and stayed in sync with each other. Fortunately, we've had no injuries so it's been smooth sailing."

While good fortune played no small part in keeping the WVU front five healthy throughout a long and arduous season, the approach of strength and conditioning coach Mike Joseph may have something to do with it as well.

"We're a lot looser," said Capers. "We're not as stiff. We're more mobile. They're maintaining our weight a lot better. It helps our line move a lot faster than other O-lines would. Our footwork is great. That's contributed a lot to our game."

While the right tackle is still young by any reasonable measure, he has certainly been the veteran presence among the offensive line this season. Capers said he has enjoyed being in that leadership role in his senior season.

"I've got my grey hairs in the back of my head," he joked. "(Having experience) has been real helpful. At the same time, my O-linemen make things a lot easier for me. They're not hard-headed. We're all willing to learn."

"We have camaraderie. We stick together through thick and thin. They've made it a lot easier for me."

And with one game remaining in his career at WVU, Capers said he will remember his senior year fondly.

"Overall, I can't complain about the season," he said. "We're about to go to a bowl game and play Florida State. I can't ask for a better end than that."


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