West Virginia’s rushing attack nearly doubled from 2019-20, going from 73.3 yards per game to 135.1. Although running back Leddie Brown improved, setting up his blocks and running through arm tackles, the offensive line made a big jump from year one to year two under head coach Neal Brown and his staff.
Offensive line coach Matt Moore has made it known since arriving in Morgantown that he wants the best five out there but first identifying if their strength lies along the left or right side. Neal Brown echoed those same sentiments on Saturday following the second practice of the spring period.
“We’re going to try to find our best five out there, and in the process of doing this… we're going to move guys to try to create some versatility during spring ball,” said Brown.
West Virginia will need to replace two starters along the offensive line in center Chase Behrndt and right guard Mike Brown. They will also need to replace Briason Mays, who provided depth and played a big role as a freshman in 2019, taking over at center for an injured Behrndt and three starts at the end of last season for an injured Hughes, transferred out of the program.
Doug Nester transferred in after spending his first two years at right guard for Virginia Tech and is expected to step in at right guard. As a freshman last year, Zach Frazier started nine games; eight were at left guard following James Gmiter missing action early in the season due to COVID 19 and started at center in the season opener for a suspended Behrndt. James Gmiter is expected to regain the starting role at left guard, and Brandon Yates will remain at left tackle while Parker Moorer is competing for playing time on the right side after appearing in all 10 games last season.
“At center, Zach Frazier, James Gmiter, George White (redshirt freshman) are all going to get snaps there. Doug Nestor, he’s going to get snaps at guard and tackle, the same with Hughes and Parker Moore. Brandon Yates probably won't move around as much, but all those guys that are in the mix there are going play multiple spots.”
The annual Gold and Blue Game is scheduled to kickoff Saturday, April 24, at 1:00 pm.
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