MORGANTOWN – When the preseason All-Big 12 team was released, WVU quarterback Will Grier was honored as the league’s Newcomer of the Year.
Mountaineer running back Justin Crawford was named a first-team running back.
But then the WVU honors ended there.
Which meant Mountaineer redshirt senior Kyle Bosch was among those snubbed.
On the list were offensive linemen like Oklahoma’s Orlando Brown, Texas’ Connor Williams, Kansas State’s Dalton Risner, TCU’s Austin Schlottman and Oklahoma State’s Zach Crabtree.
Yet no Bosch, a 2015 transfer from Michigan who is now on his third season with WVU.
“I’m very blessed to be on the Outland watch list,” Bosch said in response. “I’m blessed that last year the AP and ESPN picked me as first team All-Big 12. If the coaches don’t want me there, I don’t really care. It’s none of my business. I’m not going to lose any sleep over it.”
Actually, the players were selected by the media covering the league. But whatever the case, Bosch, a 6-foot-5, 301-pound guard, and company are busy trying to get right for the Sept. 3 opener against Virginia Tech.
Among the challenges has been putting the right linemen in the right spot.
“It’s kind of like a carousel,” Bosch said. “It’s trying to find the right fit for each position. Some guys play right better than left and vice versa. Some people are more geared toward center. It’s really Coach [Joe] Wickline and his staff’s job to home in on what our strengths and weaknesses are at each position. For instance all spring I played left [guard] and now I’m playing right. It’s just a juggling act.”
Bosch was asked what makes a player more effective on a particular side.
“It’s just one of those things that has to do with comfort,” he said. “Some people have played left tackle their whole careers in high school and feel better at left guard or left tackle. Some have played on the right side in high school and feel better there. It’s really just a preference. It’s all mental in my opinion though.”
Bosch said he’s more comfortable on the right side.
“I think I play right guard better because I had a good season there last season,” he said. “But I started as a true freshman at Michigan playing left. It’s preference and, quite honestly, I don’t care on which side I play.”
One might think being left- or right-handed would come into play.
“You would think that, but it really doesn’t,” Bosch said. “It’s just where you’re comfortable as you cross-train, which I think is helpful. We don’t have the numbers a lot of teams do at o-line. We have 13 or 14 guys in the room. Having versatility is going to help us in the long run.”
WVU will need help along the offensive line with losses like center Tyler Orlosky, now trying to make the Philadelphia Eagles.
“It’s funny,” Bosch said. “Tyler was texting me as I was getting out of the shower today. You lose a good friend and a hell of a player. It’s hard to replace a guy like that, but I think Matt Jones is filling in really well.”
Jones, though, saw limited action last season, making but an appearance at Iowa State.
“Our biggest fear for Matt was immaturity,” Bosch said. “I mean, when I was submerged as a sophomore two years ago it was really difficult. And playing center is even more difficult. Not only do you have to worry about the calls, but the snap. We’re very, very happy with his progress though.”
Bosch expounded on why Jones’ position is important.
“He’s like the conductor,” Bosch said. “We’re the orchestra. He’ll make the initial call and then we’ll call ours off that. The guys that have been here know what to look for and what to expect. So we don’t necessarily need him to make the calls, but it’s his job by default.”
Overall, Bosch seems pleased with the projected starters.
“I think we’re all pleasantly surprised with the progress of Yodny [Cajuste], me, Grant [Lingafelter], Matt and Colton [McKivitz],” said the guard. “I mean, coming in with a new O-line coach… Maybe at first it was like old dogs can’t learn new tricks, but we all are starting to buy in and really understand the offense and Coach Wickline’s vision. It’s pleasantly surprising along the front.”
And, yes, Bosch knows protecting Grier will be a key to 2017.
“We’re going to protect him as well as we did Skyler [Howard] last year,” he said. “I mean, I think we were the best in the Big 12 in least amount of sacks. Hopefully we’ll carry that over for Will’s sake.”
As well as for that of the team.