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Behrndt impressing at center for Mountaineers

MORGANTOWN — So, how does a dude from Wildwood, Missouri, end up in Morgantown, West Virginia, anyway? By threading the needle, of course.

That’s how Mountaineer center Chase Behrndt ended up in Almost Heaven.

Zac Huerter, a former Michigan State player, knew former Mountaineer offensive line coach Ron Crook and introduced Behrndt to him during a random encounter they had at a prospect camp in Detroit.

“(Crook was) like, ‘We would have never found you in a million years if you weren’t there that day,'” Behrndt recalled.

One thing led to another and three years later, Chase Behrndt could very well end up being West Virginia’s starting center when the Mountaineers take the field on Saturday, Aug. 31 in the season opener against James Madison.

That in itself is hard for Behrndt to fathom considering he came here as an offensive guard who has now played for three different coaches – two at one time when Crook was unknowingly getting phased out by Joe Wickline.

His most recent coach, Matt Moore, is probably the most open-minded about Behrndt’s capabilities coming into things with eyes wide open (and they’ve been very WIDE OPEN from the moment the team hit the practice field this spring).

In the meantime, Behrndt also spent three months with former defensive line coach Bruce Tall a couple of years ago, so it’s really difficult to get a true gauge of what he can do because he’s never been in one place long enough to learn what to do.

“The part that was the most insane about it was I had Crook and Wick for maybe three months and then got switched to coach Tall and had to do that the whole time,” Behrndt explained. “Then I got switched back to Wick so really, I’ve had a new coach each year I’ve been here.”

Each new coach means new expectations and new ways of doing things, which can be very unsettling for an 18- or 19-year-old.

Then, Behrndt gets Moore and the first thing Moore tells him is he’s moving him to center. More changes.

“His body type is a center,” Moore explained. “He’s smart. He’s been around long enough where he’s respected, and he’s got great voice control and communication skills. That’s the big thing, being able to communicate with the other guys.”

“Everything is a little different with a new thing,” Behrndt explained. “In general, that’s the way it would be with anything when you’re not used to something. That first scrimmage was the first time we had ever done that with these guys so you are kind of tip-toeing in the water a little bit.”

Which is not a good thing when the guys on the other side are going full-speed ahead.

But since then the offensive line has been slowly but surely improving. The second scrimmage was much better for them and the group continues to develop with Behrndt handling the football.

— John Antonik, wvusports.com