NEW YORK - The way Jeff Braun sees is it, moving from guard to center on short notice for the final game of his college football career is really no big deal.
In fact, he seems to rather relish the opportunity.
"I view it as a challenge,'' Braun said Thursday, just before a chilly practice at Fordham. "I'm excited, to be honest with you. It's an opportunity for me to show off another skill set.''
When West Virginia faces Syracuse Saturday afternoon in the Pinstripe Bowl, Braun will be making his 39th career start. He'll be playing in his 50th college game. But he will be making his first start at center and appearing at the position for the first time since some mop-up duty in 2009, when he was a redshirt freshman backup.
The 6-foot-5, 316-pound senior from Westminster, Md., was thrust into the job as the team's center when four-year starter Joey Madsen was declared academically ineligible. It is the second time in the last three WVU bowl games that Madsen has been ineligible because of his classroom work.
Braun and the team have known the change had to be made for more than a week. Braun said he worked at center in four of the five practices the team held in Morgantown last week. Pat Eger has assumed Braun's old position as the right guard.
Braun was a center as a senior in high school and has worked as a backup at the position throughout his five years at West Virginia.
"I played it in high school,'' Braun said. "And I've played it here my whole career kind of silently in practice. For me it's kind of like riding a bicycle. The snaps aren't a problem. I'm not even worried about that.''
So what does he worry about?
"Not much, to be honest with you,'' Braun said. "It's a little different in that you're on the ball now and I have the control to be able to slide the protection and stuff, but I've helped Joey with that all season. It's not like I'm going in here not having a game under my belt. It's just a little different perspective as far as where you're at.''