MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- If Ron Crook is like a lot of other offensive line coaches, he will talk about the need to establish depth so that the five starting linemen he settles on won't have to carry the entire load.
He will say it's necessary so that the starters can be rested on occasion and still be fresh late in games.
Crook does say that.
On the other hand, if he's like a lot of other coaches, when the games begin and push comes to shove - literally, in the case of offensive linemen - the five he puts on the field to start the game will, save for the occasional injury, finish it and play almost every down in between.
Crook just smiles. He knows that's the norm a lot of times.
But he'd like to break that where this year's West Virginia's offensive line is concerned.
"I try to [rest them],'' Crook said. "I think my history has been trying to get guys on the field that deserve to be on the field. Not just to put them out there, but I think if a guy deserves to be on the field, we're going to give him that chance.''
Thus, Crook is looking for just a few more good men. He seems to have settled not necessarily on his starting five, but at least a core of seven or eight.
For now, just over two weeks before the opener against William & Mary, the starters are 6-foot-5, 335-pound junior tackle Quinton Spain and 6-4, 312-pound sophomore guard Marquis Lucas on the left side, 6-7, 314-pound senior tackle Curtis Feigt and 6-5, 305-pound junior guard Mark Glowinski on the right side and 6-4, 296-pound redshirt freshman center Tyler Orlosky in the middle.
The top two backups [and potentially still in the mix to start] are 6-6, 302-pound Pat Eger at virtually any position across the line and 6-6, 298-pound Nick Kindler, primarily at tackle. Both are fifth-year seniors, Eger having started 19 games during his career at tackle, guard and in last year's bowl game at center.
That's seven linemen in the pool and Crook would like to add at least one more. Tony Matteo is a 6-4, 296-pound redshirt freshman who is playing behind Orlosky at center, although Eger is a potential backup there, too. Crook also mentions 6-5, 312-pound redshirt freshman Russell Haughton-James. And he can't help but throw in injured Adam Pankey, if the 6-5, 323-pound redshirt freshman can recover from knee surgery in the spring.