The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

College Sports

December 28, 2010

Jobe will end his Mountaineer career the way he started

MORGANTOWN — Eric Jobe made a name for himself at West Virginia by being a versatile offensive lineman.

He could play center, he could play guard. And he played at a level high enough to be a starter at either spot.

He has been a starting guard for West Virginia the better part of a season-and-a-half.

But Jobe, a 6-foot-2, 290-pound redshirt senior from LaPlata, Md., started his WVU career as a center.

Today, in the Champs Sports Bowl, Jobe will end his career as a center, a position he hasn’t played much over the last couple seasons with the emergence of Joe Madsen.

However, Madsen was ruled academically ineligible for the game and won’t play.

West Virginia (9-3, 5-2 Big East) will take on North Carolina State (8-4, 5-3 ACC) in the Champs Sports Bowl at 6:30 p.m. in Orlando, Fla. The game will be televised live on ESPN.

“I am excited for the challenge to play center again,” Jobe said. “I started my career at center and played the position in past bowl games. It’s the challenge that is in front of me so it looks like I will play my final game at WVU as the center.”

Nobody seems too concerned with Jobe snapping the ball.

“Eric Jobe is a good center, and it doesn’t change the playbook at all,” quarterback Geno Smith said.

“Jobe has played center here for two years so he has experience to get the job done,” coach Bill Stewart said. “We are going to play just as if someone got hurt on the first series of a game.”

Ironically, the group will be playing their last game under coach Dave Johnson, who is one of several offensive coaches who won’t be retained after athletic director Oliver Luck hired Dana Holgorsen as offensive coordinator and coach-in-waiting under Stewart, who has been given one more year as WVU’s head coach.

The loss of Madsen caused a shakeup on the line.

“Eric Jobe will be our starting center, (John) Bassler and (Jeff) Braun will also play,” Stewart said. “Cole Bowers (a 6-5, 289-pound redshirt freshman from Milton) will be our starting right guard. There will be a chance for Bassler to get some time in there. We will have to pick up the saber and march on. These guys have all played.”

Bowers gained some experience starting against LSU in week four.

I just know that I have to go out there every game and get after it,” Bowers said. “It’s bittersweet. It’s a little different situation than before when I started. Then, Josh (Jenkins) went down, and I stepped up. I proved myself in that game and I’m looking to do the same again. “

Smith has confidence in whoever is blocking for him.

“Cole Bowers has played for us, he started for us at LSU, and I am confident these guys will step up and play the positions,” the sophomore quarterback said. “We have some great players who I know will step up and put the distractions behind them and play hard.”

For Jobe, it’s almost like riding a bike. Plus, he continued to work reps at the position.

“I still take reps in practice at the position from time to time so it’s really not a big deal to me,” Jobe said. “I know Cole is looking forward to the challenge ahead of him and the key will be for the offensive line to come together as a unit, communicate and jell.”

— E-mail: demorrison@

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