MORGANTOWN - Let's face facts here when it comes to a pair of Tylers on West Virginia's football team: Tyler Rader and Tyler Urban don't share much in common.
Yes, they're both seniors who play on offense. In fact, somewhat surprisingly in the case of both, they are likely to line up with the No. 1 offense Friday night when the Mountaineers finish spring drills with the Gold-Blue game.
Oh, yeah, and they both arrived at WVU as tight ends - Rader from Nitro in 2007 and Urban from suburban Pittsburgh a year later. For the record, the tight end position pretty much no longer exists at West Virginia.
And that, of course, is where Rader and Urban's paths dissect. Urban was a tight end throughout his first three years in Morgantown, and when Dana Holgorsen arrived and eliminated the position, the 6-foot-5, 250-pounder seemed dinosaur-like. But he was turned into a big slot receiver and to say that he has thrived in the position this spring would be an understatement.
Rader, on the other hand, was lucky enough to have blown out his knee two years ago. Lucky because in retrospect had he remained a tight end to this day he would certainly be lost in the Mountaineers' new offense.
"Let's be honest,'' he said with a self-deprecating laugh. "My 260-pound butt wouldn't be running routes and catching balls out here.''
No, that knee injury forced something that has worked out extremely well. Rader put on another 30 pounds - he's now listed at 6-3 and 296 pounds and moved to the offensive line. And after 14 of WVU's 15 spring practices - not to mention countless others since he arrived and essentially became practice fodder - Rader has accomplished something.
Were the season to start today, he would likely be in the starting lineup at right guard.
"It was a fresh start for everybody,'' Rader said of the primary reason for his chance to play this spring, an entirely new offensive coaching staff. "With the old staff, they were great guys and all but they also already had in mind what they wanted going in and they had their notions of what we could do. The new guys didn't have any of that. It was a chance to prove ourselves.''
For Rader, though, this new offense presented even more of an opportunity because, unlike most of his teammates, Rader wasn't entirely unfamiliar with the schemes. It seems ages ago, of course, but remember that Rader played in Scott Tinsley's wide-open attack at Nitro.