MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West attacking line coach Matt Moore loves his linemen in the same way that cable television likes his politics: divided into right and left with minimal crossover.
In Moore's philosophy, you would rather see a right-wing guard change over to replace an injured right tackle than if you saw the right tackle being turned over to play the blind side. He thinks it is easier for a player to switch places instead of changing his footwork by moving to the other side of the line.
"Especially with younger players and you start moving them from left to right, you change your posture, you change your angle, you change your footwork," Moore said. "It's a lot easier to keep them on one side. You keep your footwork and just sit on your heels."
That said, Moore's first line of attack in West Virginia will include a fairly important right-to-left flip.
With a left tackle, Yodny Cajuste headed for the NFL, two-year starting right tackle Colton McKivitz will open the spring training as the top left tackle of West Virginia. On the other hand, Kelby Wickline will compete for the starting tackle spot. Wickline added to the left tackle when Cajuste was removed from the Texas game and started there when Cajuste was out of the Camping World Bowl.
Redshirt first-year Junior Uzebu is scheduled to be the back-up left tackle, while second-year Tyler Thurmond will open spring as the best tackle of number 2.
Junior Josh Sills, who started in both his right and left career, is on the right to open the spring. He is supported by junior Zach Davis.
Left guard will be one of the positions to view. Junior Michael Brown, who played in four games last season and kept his red shirt, gets a chance to earn a starting place. That also applies to freshman James Gmiter, who is relocated from the line of defense.
Center is the position with the most question marks after Matt Jones & graduate transfer to Youngstown State.
Junior Jacob Buccigrossi made a backup of Jones last season, but is in the spring practice due to a shoulder operation. That leaves junior Chase Behrndt and red-shirt freshmen Briason Mays alternating snaps during the spring.
When Behrndt and Mays do not play a center, Moore will also have them guarded. His theory is that if the backup center is also one of the two best guards, then that player should start.
"I will try to have two centers that are interchangeable," Moore said.