MORGANTOWN-Don Barclay, meet Jeff Braun.
For the last two years when the 310-pound Barclay lined up at his left tackle slot he would look to his right and there would be Josh Jenkins. That won't be the case, however, when West Virginia University entertains Marshall University in the Friends of Coal Bowl on Sunday, Sept. 4.
A knee injury suffered in the annual Gold/Blue scrimmage sidelined the former Parkersburg Big Red for the upcoming season and moved the 322-pound Braun from the right tackle slot he held down during WVU's 9-4 season in 2010 to the other side of junior center Joe Madsen.
"I wish I could have ended it out with him (Jenkins) this year, but he is going to get better," explained Barclay. "Jeff has played a lot and we are getting more comfortable with each other every day."
Barclay has played in every game the Mountaineers have played since his redshirt freshman year in 2008. He took over as the team's starting left tackle as a sophomore and did not miss a beat until shoulder surgery following last season forced him to miss spring drills.
"I don't think it (missing the spring) hurt me too bad. The experience I gained from playing the last two years have helped. To be honest, I wasn't sure two months ago that I would be in the position that I am right now."
Or having to learn from a new position coach-and head coach- for the third time in his five years in Morgantown.
"It (the offense) has been what I expected. I like the intensity that coach (Bill Bedenbaugh) brings out there. He expects us to get better every day and when we don't then he lets us know it."
Which happened on Tuesday when the Mountaineers' second unit failed to perform as expected.
"Those guys have got to know that they are one play away from being a starter," said the former Seneca Valley High School standout. "They have got to come out and want to win our job. But, that comes from within. They have got to want to play."
As for Braun, the Marylan-native still is adjusting to the move from one side of the offensive line to the other.
"I am trying to adjust to the new side and the blocking schemes as quickly as I can," he said. "I am working with Donnie right not trying to get on his level."
As well as deal with much of the criticism the unit received during last year's campaign.
"As offensive linemen, we are used to getting too much blame. Our whole lives growing up if there is a good play you hear people say what a great move that running back made. Blocking isn't really paid attention to by the fans."
That isn't the case, however, when it comes to the coaching staff.
"Coach (Bedenbaugh) is going to let you know when you make a mistake and if you continue to make mistakes then you are going to be standing beside him on the sidelines during games and you don't want to be standing there," said, who also missed the spring while recovering from surgery.
The move of Braun to the left side of the offensive line gives the Mountaineers a pair of players that combined for 26 starts last year while the right side of the line will feature two players-Tyler Rader and Quinton Spain-who saw limited action (Rader) or was redshirted (Spain) in 2010.
Which explains why Barclay and Braun expect the battles to heat up as the Mountaineers get closer to their 2011 opener.
Looking to break into that starting unit are senior Chad Snodgrass, junior John Bassler and sophomores Nick Kindler, Cole Bowers, Pat Eger and Curtis Feigt-who was moved over from the defense during spring drills. Also look for newcomers Russell Haughton-James, Marquis Lucas and George Washington's Cody Clay to get a few looks over the next couple of weeks.