MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – One of the worst kept secrets in Morgantown is the strength of WVU’s offensive line.
No matter who wins the competition at right guard between redshirt juniors Brandon Yates and Ja’Quay Hubbard, offensive line coach Matt Moore’s unit will carry over 100 combined starts to the starting lineup this fall.
Using educational terms – something Moore likes to do – the course load has to increase at some point when developing the veteran offensive linemen.
“You don’t start at the level-100 class when [the veterans] first come to class,” Moore said. “We’re now at 300-levels with a lot of these guys…We try to continue to build these guys that are on these 300-level classes and try to continue [to get] them to the master’s level class to help them be as good of a player as they can be.”
Left tackle Wyatt Milum, center Zach Frazier and right tackle Doug Nester have each received some sort of preseason recognition, and those three players alone combine for 95 previous starts at WVU.
They’ve rubbed shoulders quite frequently while in a three-point stance, but they are just as close, figuratively, off the field.
“They’re going to play hard together,” Moore said. “They’re going to hang out together. They’re going to fight together. They’re going to have fun together. They enjoy being around each other, and [if] you mess with one of them you’re fixing to get all of them.”
The preseason hype that’s surrounded the offensive line, and the entirety of the running game, has leaked into the facility, but Moore says it’s for good reason. The Penn State game will either fuel those narratives, or humble the group as a whole.
“You’ve got to go out there against a top-three defense in the nation [for] game one [at Penn State],” Moore said. “I mean there’s no better way to find out if you’re going to be dominant or not. You got to go play those guys, and they’re extremely athletic. they’re extremely fast. They’re extremely strong. I mean, they’re a top-three-or-four defense in the nation, [so] we’re getting tested early.”
A strong showing against one of the best defenses in the country would certainly be the offensive focal point for WVU, and would continue to lift Moore’s front-five into the national spotlight.
“They can be dominant,” Moore said. “I feel like they’ve got that mentality.”