MORGANTOWN, W. Va. - Each position on a football field is unique. While a singular position requires specific training, the main theme for any spot is practice and dedication. When practice makes perfect, athletes tend to shine at what they’re good at.
Some may say Tyler Anderson
stands out in more areas than one.
The 6-foot-2, 244-pound junior has proven that he can excel in different places. Anderson has played linebacker in the past at West Virginia University and while at Morgantown High School, he was a two-way performer at linebacker/tight end, earning two-time all-state honors including first-team accolades as a senior. As college grew closer, Anderson thought more about one day growing into the defensive end position.
This off-season, the Mountaineer coaching staff has been hard at work implanting new plays and structures on both offense and defense. Coaches see a void to fill in their new scheme for the outside linebacker/defensive end spot, and they think Anderson might just be the one who could fill that void.
Anderson has been working hard this summer to prove to his coaches that he is the man for the job. He says that summer training gets harder every year, but it’s worth it.
“This year, they really stepped it up a bit,” Anderson said about this year’s summer conditioning program. “I guess they’re just expecting a lot more of us so we’re going through a lot more that we weren’t expecting. It’s a bit surprising and it’s going to be tough.”
A lot more is expected, indeed.
Starting off the Big 12 season this fall, the Mountaineers must get used to playing all new teams and away games at completely different venues. According to most analysts, West Virginia is expected to perform well in its inaugural season, but the schedule will still be a tough one. Because of that, the team is working hard in all areas.
“For the Big 12, we’re trying to get our stamina up because we’re going to have to play more people this year. We’re not just playing 13 or 14 on defense,” Anderson explained.
While Anderson is preparing himself for a very exciting season, he’s also ready to help the incoming freshmen adjust to playing football at WVU. He recalls walking on to the team three years ago after originally committing to Bowling Green, and also receiving offers from other colleges. But he grew up in Morgantown, and West Virginia just seemed to be the best fit for him – even if he had to pay his own way, initially.
Anderson finished his senior year of high school with 58 tackles, five sacks and two fumble recoveries. Former defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel saw something in the young prospect, and now Anderson said that he expects the new kids to be prepared as well. He said since they are his new teammates, everyone must treat them the same and expect them to be ready to play.
“On the defensive side, the main thing they’re looking for is numbers,” Anderson said of what the coaches are expecting this year from some of the newcomers. “They expect some of the freshmen to come in and play because we’re not going to be able to play all of the downs on offense. We’re going to need some people to come in and play.”
Currently, Anderson is listed No. 1 on WVU’s depth chart at defensive end. The coaching staff is expecting a lot from him and as fall camp nears, he is feeling more and more comfortable with completing his task at hand.
When asked about the depth heading into this fall, Anderson had this to say: “In the spring, you can kind of tell, but fall is when you’re really going to find out who’s going to be ready.”
And Anderson fully expects to be one of those guys this fall when camp begins.Be sure to follow WVU football on Facebook by clicking the "like" button on the team's official Facebook page.