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WVU lineman Eger rolls with changes

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MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 04: Pat Eger #76 of the West Virginia Mountaineers reacts against the Clemson Tigers during the Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on January 4, 2012 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Pat Eger

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Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013, 11:09 p.m.
 

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — As team-oriented and thick-skinned as he is experienced and versatile, offensive lineman Pat Eger isn't one to cause trouble in West Virginia's locker room.

Even after being demoted from a starting job last season, undergoing multiple position switches and spending most of the first two weeks of camp practices running with the backups. Perhaps Mountaineers offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson said it best.

“His give-a-you-know-what meter's really high,” the folksy Louisiana native said of Eger, a Thomas Jefferson graduate. “His buy-in level is really high, and his effort right now and leadership has been really, really good.”

As the player who has appeared in 28 games — and started 19 more games for West Virginia then any offensive player on the Mountaineers' roster — Eger is being counted on for his intangibles as much as he is for his skills in helping to protect whomever is chosen as starting quarterback.

Good thing, too, because the example Eger is setting has been a positive one for a team that has battles for starting spots and playing time at a variety of positions.

“He can communicate very well and takes an active leadership role and helps get the whole group on the same page — the entire offense on the same page — and working together,” offensive line coach Ron Crook said.

“He's exciting to watch from a coaching standpoint right now. He's fun to watch because he can go out and communicate. Just the way he directs the offense is pretty cool.”

Eger understands so much of the offense, in part, because he's spent time viewing it from every available angle along the offensive line.

Eger started all but one of West Virginia's games at right tackle as a sophomore, was moved to right guard by the middle of last season, spent spring practice at center, was seen at left tackle during practice drills last week and has been mentioned by coaches as a candidate to start at left guard.

“He literally plays every position up front,” Dawson said. “And he's been one of our most solid guys. He's probably playing right now as good as any offensive player we've got out there as far as effort and attitude and everything. We've been extremely pleased with him.”

Eger's pleasing the coaches and leading his teammates, but he's still not nailed down a starting job. Dawson said Tuesday that Eger's current role is as the No. 6 lineman.

But Dawson also said that when the Mountaineers open the season against William & Mary on Aug. 31, Eger figures to be with the first-team offense.

“No matter if you're the first or fourth string, you've got to prove yourself everyday and there's a competition everyday,” Eger said.

Chris Adamski is a freelance writer.

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