Tyler Orlosky admitted just a week into camp that starting on the offensive line as a redshirt freshman was a tough feat.
But it’s becoming more apparent that the Cleveland, Ohio resident might get that chance. And not just at any spot, but the anchor of the line: center.
West Virginia offensive line coach Ron Crook said Saturday that while he wasn’t ready to name the starting five yet, Orlosky has begun to distance himself as the frontrunner to take over at center.
“Tyler has been working really well there. He’s done a great job. He understands the offense,” Crook said. “He’s very quiet and very serious. But with that seriousness, comes an understanding that, ‘Hey, this is my job, and this is what I’ve got to do.’”
In his redshirt season, Orlosky worked at the guard position, but this past spring, after an injury to Pat Eger
, the coaches approached him about switching over to center. It wasn’t new, though. He began his high school career as a center, but then switched to guard before he graduated.
Still, even with a spring and summer under his belt at the position, it’s still a work in progress.
“People don't understand that coming in playing as a offensive lineman in college football is extremely difficult. Not many people can do it,” Orlosky explained. “It’s not about size, it’s about learning the game. It’s much faster than high school football.
“When I first came in, I knew I wasn't going to start. I just took that opportunity to learn from (former offensive lineman Jeff Braun) and take that opportunity to better myself as a backup.”
Even though his time is getting closer, the redshirt freshman still sees many parts of his game that need to improve before the Aug. 31 opener against William & Mary. He said the biggest change, obviously, is snapping the football. And while he prefers to snap from under center, he needs to work on the shotgun snap, since most of the snaps in West Virginia’s offense will come from shotgun.
“In the spring we were doing good with snaps. Lately, we’ve been struggling a little bit, but we’re addressing the problem, and we’re getting it fixed,” he said.
The other is being a leader. He said it’s odd to have a redshirt freshman as a leader, but he’s trying not to shy away from it. He still relies on the tackles – right now it’s Quinton Spain
and Curtis Feigt
– to relay calls to him because they trump him in the experience department.
“It's a learning experience,” Orlosky said. “Every time you go out on the field you have to learn something new. I want to step into that spotlight and become that leader and be that vocal guy across the board.”
Orlosky has now had three different position coaches in three years. His high school coach, former WVU offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh, and now Crook, but with it, he said comes different techniques which can be beneficial.
“Coach Crook listens to us, and lets us do what we are comfortable with,” Orlosky said. “If he’s comfortable with what were doing, he’ll let us do it.”
With just under three weeks until the start of the 2013 campaign, the redshirt freshman said just being in consideration to start is giving him all the motivation he needs.
“I won’t know for sure (if I’m ready) until that first day comes around if have that opportunity to start. As of right now, I think I’m physically and mentally ready.”