Edmonds’ goal for WVU spring drills:Domination
Mountaineers begin search for new offensive, defensive lines during today’s workouts
by Joedy McCreary
    West Virginia linebacker Chris Edmonds’ goals for the Mountaineers’ spring drills are anything but modest.
“I just want to pretty much be able to dominate,” Edmonds  said. “I want to get to the point where nobody can block me.”
    Edmonds and the Mountaineers begin spring football practice today in Morgantown. And for Edmonds, it’s a chance to show off 20 additional pounds of muscle added in the months following WVU’s 34-31 Insight.com Bowl loss to Missouri in December.
Edmonds, already known for  his outstanding speed as a strong-side linebacker, wanted to add power to his linebacking resume. He will weigh in at about 240 pounds, up from his 220-pound playing weight last season. “You can only use speed to a certain extent,” Edmonds said. “And I still ran a 4.4 (in the 40-yard dash).”
    For WVU coach Don Nehlen,  priority No. 1 for spring football practice is to begin to assemble entirely new offensive and defensive lines. During his 20-year tenure as the Mountaineers’ coach, Nehlen has produced several All-American offensive linemen: Brian Jozwiak, Mike Compton and Rich Braham, plus academic all-American Eric de Groh.
    Sturdy offensive lines in 1988 and 1993 carried Nehlen’s WVU  teams to undefeated regular seasons. Nehlen said there’s one crucial ingredient to a quality offensive line: Time.
    Quite simply, inexperienced linemen need game experience to acquaint themselves with their teammates. And no practice drill, no chalk talk and no closed-door meeting can make up for that, he said.
    “You can’t get (the young linemen) hurt,” Nehlen said. “You’ve got to have them at every practice. That’s what you pray for. We’ve got an awful lot of young guys on the lines. We’ve got to have them there.”
    Nehlen knows that by the time the Gold-Blue scrimmage rolls around on April 25, his linemen won’t be ready for the Mountaineers’ Sept. 4 season opener at East Carolina.
    What Nehlen would like to see is which of his players can compete. “At the end of spring drills, we’d like to know who our top two players are at every position,” Nehlen said.  “And, we’d like to know at what positions we can win with.”
    The Mountaineers will practice in shorts today and Tuesday.  Beginning Wednesday, they’ll work out in full pads for the rest of spring drills.
    WVU will practice 15 times, including two closed scrimmages and the Gold-Blue game, over a five-week span this spring. The team will take next week off for WVU’s spring break. “We had to take some time before spring break because after spring break, we couldn’t get it all in,” Nehlen said.


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