MORGANTOWN - There is an argument to be made that any dramatic - and imperative - improvement in West Virginia's offensive line play won't be accomplished until the fall. At the very least, it's certainly not until that time that the effort can be judged.
That's why guys like Pat Eger can't wait to get started.
"Don't get me wrong, the summer's huge,'' West Virginia's presumed starting right tackle said. "It's huge to come in here to get faster, better footwork, mostly get stronger. But as the summer goes on you want to see how much this work's going to pay off. You get anxious to get into camp.''
For Eger and the rest of West Virginia's offensive linemen, there's a lot to prove.
Statistically, at least, WVU's offensive line has done a credible job in protecting Mountaineer quarterbacks for years now. As far as opening holes for the running game are concerned, well, it's not been that good.
Granted, style of play has a huge impact on the numbers (more on those in a moment). But the perception is that the offensive line has not played well for several years now.
WVU's linemen share in that perception, at least to a degree.
Take those sacks, for instance.
"We just want to be way more dominant,'' Eger said. "Consistency is the main thing we want to find, especially myself.''
There were games that provided ups and downs in 2011.
"As a unit, we played so well against LSU and Clemson and gave up no sacks,'' Eger said. "But then we come out in a game like Syracuse and give up I don't know how many sacks. Just way too many. We shouldn't have that. We should be playing at the highest level every game.''
For the record, Eger was right about the LSU and Clemson games. In neither did the Mountaineers surrender a sack. Those were the only two clean games, though.
In four other games, the Mountaineers gave up only one sack and in three they surrendered just two. Given the amount of pass plays called, those are still respectable numbers.