MORGANTOWN - Under the category of What a Difference a Week Makes, we bring you West Virginia's offensive line.
Nearly as equally as it was praised for its play in the opening game against Marshall, WVU's 1,562 pounds of up-front muscle was roundly criticized for lapses in Game 2 against James Madison.
So which is it? Are these guys something akin to the Seven Blocks of Granite - a Fordham reference from the 1930s for the youngsters - or as porous as the Seven Seas?
Well, in truth probably something in between.
"No, we didn't do a lot of good things,'' left guard Josh Jenkins admitted. "We got some things [from James Madison] that we weren't ready for. They blitzed a lot more than we thought they'd blitz and sometimes that's hard to pick up on the run.
"But we just try not to let it bother us. We're not going to be able to please him all the time and we know that. It's not going to be perfect every week, but we just have to keep getting better.''
The "he'' in that sentence, of course, is offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh, from whom much of the criticism of his own offensive line flowed. That's the same Bedenbaugh who tempered his praise of the O-linemen after the Marshall game only in the sense that he left them room to improve.
And, in truth, Bedenbaugh didn't exactly lambast his linemen in the wake of the James Madison game. He merely pointed out some obvious deficiencies. It's only in comparison to that first-game praise that it seems harsh.
"I don't think they took plays off or gave bad effort or anything like that,'' Bedenbaugh said. "I think they got complacent and felt, 'Well, this is going to be easy.' And James Madison wasn't going to let it be easy.''
Indeed, James Madison, which is not to be confused with many - or even any - of the teams West Virginia will face from here on out, gave West Virginia's offensive line fits at times. The Dukes blitzed far more than expected, managed to hit quarterback Geno Smith a couple of times (although not for a sack) and for the most part bottled up the running game, including a rather embarrassing safety.
And while it is easy to rationalize the play of the offensive line through statistics, that's not what Bedenbaugh saw.
"We don't care how many yards we had, how many points,'' Bedenbaugh said. "If you look at the stat sheet from an offensive line standpoint, that's crazy. We gave up no sacks, we rushed for about five or six yards a carry [actually it was 4.7] and you think, 'That's pretty good.' No, it wasn't. It wasn't good enough. That stuff doesn't matter. You've got to compete with yourself and play the best that you can every snap.''
Again, that's a far cry from the praise Bedenbaugh and just about everyone else heaped upon the crew of Jenkins, Joe Madsen, Jeff Braun, Quinton Spain and Pat Eger in the two weeks between the Marshall and JMU games. After several years of perceived mediocrity from the offensive line, it appeared this season would be different.