We've come to the portion of the unit previews that I think are the most important on the team, the offensive line. Without a serviceable offensive line, there's no room to run, there's no time to throw and you can basically kiss points goodbye. A good offensive line is what separates good offenses from great offenses.
Ron Crook has a veteran unit with starting experience to work with in the middle three positions, led by Quinton Spain (r-Sr) at left guard, Tyler Orlosky (r-So) at center and Mark Glowinski (r-Sr) at right guard. They will be flanked by new starters Adam Pankey (r-So) at left tackle and Marquis Lucas (r-Jr) at the right tackle.
Spain is the obvious leader of the group, narrowly missing out on a pre-season All Big 12 selection and he likely has the best chance on the team (among the players finishing up their eligibility this season) to make it to the NFL. The redshirt senior has been a constant starter on the line ever since the end of his sophomore season and looks to anchor the unit this year.
Orlosky began last season as a starter, splitting time with Pat Eger, before eventually losing his starting spot to the senior. That wasn't due to a lack of performance, though, just that Eger was playing a bit better. Now back as the starter, Orlosky looks to solidify the position for the next few years.
Glowinski came to WVU as a JUCO transfer, but red-shirted his first year before establishing himself as a starter at guard last season. He's had a monster of a camp and is now garnering more attention as an NFL prospect himself.
Just because the tackles are new starters doesn't mean they don't have experience. Pankey and Lucas are both 300+ lb road graders who played in 8 and 9 games respectively last season (Lucas started four at guard last year). There is potential, but this is the biggest unknown factor of the unit, whether or not these two can handle protecting the outside of the line from pass rushers eager to make Trickett a wet spot on the field.
Coach Crook has confidence in his left tackle and had this to say about Pankey:
"He’s extremely quick, he’s got great footwork, his body position is rarely in a bad position on the football field that helps you stay healthy, that helps you stay in position to finish plays and finish blocks."
The starters are fairly established but the backups are still fighting for time in the playing rotation. Among those looking for playing time are feel-good story and former walk-on Michael Calicchio, Stone Underwood, Marcell Lazard, Grant Lingafelter, and Tony Matteo.
Even as recent as Wednesday, Crook hadn't decided who'll be in the PT mix:
Crook said typically he’s identified his backups and determined a rotation by now, but isn’t discouraged by what’s happening.
"I think it’s a good thing," he said. "It means we have more guys fighting to get those reps."
The starting experience on the interior and potential on the edge has this unit looking to be a much more consistent unit than the one on the field last year. If our offense is to get back on track, they'll have to be.