Garrison healthy, embracing new role as a leader
Published: Friday, March 22, 2013
Updated: Friday, March 22, 2013 01:03
After spending last offseason rehabilitating and the majority of the 2012 season playing with pain, junior running back Dustin Garrison finally feels completely healthy.
"Things are going good – weight room, class, everything is going good. Knee-wise, I’m completely healthy," Garrison said. "I’m doing everything that everyone else is doing. In the weight room and on the field, I feel good."
Garrison’s role is also expanding in terms of leadership. As a junior, Garrison has the responsibility of teaching the offense to new running backs coach JaJuan Seider.
"It is great to be able to coach a coach. It’s a tough job, but at the same time, it is great I am able to teach him the offense, because I’m able to learn it more," he said.
Rowell Embracing Defensive Changes
West Virginia defensive coordinator Keith Patterson is putting his own twist on the 3-4 defense.
Many of the minor changes involve a heavier lean on senior defensive tackle Shaq Rowell. With that, Rowell is excited to have a more important role.
"They really changed the whole thing for the defensive line," Rowell said. "This year, I have more fun, because I’m going straight ahead. I don’t have to step sideways waiting for the guard to come down. Coach Patterson made it easier for the defensive line."
Last season, if there was anything to take away from an otherwise poor defense, it was the strength of the defensive line. The new changes allow for the defensive line to be more aggressive to help the unit make more plays.
"We’re attacking and not reacting," Rowell said. "We want to be the ones to deliver the blow when the center snaps the ball; I want to be the one to knock him three yards into the backfield."
Center Position Battle Taking Shape
When Joe Madsen missed the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, it was clear not only to Dana Holgorsen, but to the entire program, how much the center position is valued. The Pinstripe Bowl caused many to question what WVU is going to do at the center position going forward.
This spring, Pat Eger has bounced from tackle to center, and redshirt freshman Tyler Orlosky is also getting reps as the anchor of the offensive line.
"Pat (Eger) has played a lot of ball here, but we are going to give him a shot to be a potential center. Pat is a smart guy, but his snaps are all over the place right now," Holgorsen said. "Tyler Orlosky is going to be a guy that can potentially play center. Tyler Orlosky looks good. He can move, he’s smart, he’s confident."
Eger, who hasn’t played center at any level, is now making the adjustment. He is learning the fundamentals to the game.
"It was different; I mean, you have to be able to snap the ball, punch with your off hand – and while Shaq Rowell is drooling in his stance in practice ready to hit you," Eger said. "The steps and snaps were a little iffy the first day, but I’m getting better and better every day."