Versatile Eger adjusting to another line position
MORGANTOWN – Pat Eger jokes that one day, he may just snap the football to himself and then run downfield to catch the pass.
The senior is learning his fifth position in as many years this spring, switching to center during West Virginia University’s spring practices. He has already seen action during his career at both right and left tackles and right and left guard.
But learning to play center has been anything but a snap.
“It’s been rough,” Eger said. “That first day, my snaps were all over the place. I’ve never really been used to having somebody 2 inches from my face as soon as I come off the ball, but I’m starting to get used to it.”
Eger is hoping to replace the departed Joe Madsen at the middle of the interior line. The Mountaineers are looking to replace the middle three spots along the line and then have them come together as a group.
“We need to be able to look to our right and our left and be able to count on our brother to make the play next to us,” Eger said. “People graduate every year. It’s time for the younger guys to step up. If they were on the scout team last year, it’s time to step up to the first or second string and show what they can do.”
Coach Dana Holgorsen said he wants to put the best five offensive linemen out there to protect a new quarterback this fall. Eger, who is battling back from ankle problems this spring, said he accepted the challenge as a way to improve the Mountaineers.
“The coaches said, ‘We want you to play center,”‘ Eger recalled. “I said OK. You have to do what you can to make the team better.”
That includes coming early to practice and staying a little later to improve the accuracy of that quarterback-center exchange.
“Paul (Millard) and Ford (Childress) have been helping me every day, taking snaps before practice and staying after,” Eger said. “I have to keep working on it every day to develop consistency.”
Eger said he is finding it difficult to believe that this will be his last go-around in a Mountaineer uniform.
“Hearing about the coal miners and the toughness of the people in this state, I’ve tried to adapt that,” he said. “This has been the best decision I’ve ever made in my life, to come to West Virginia.”