The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

College Sports

December 23, 2011

Barclay says line play will improve

MORGANTOWN — Don Barclay believes West Virginia’s offensive line should continue to show improvement in the Discover Orange Bowl clash with Clemson on Jan. 4 in Miami.

This will be the 6-foot-4, 305- pound tackle’s last of four postseason appearances as a Mountaineer. He graduated with a degree at mid-year.

“I am very excited,” the Cranberry Township, Pa. native said before the squad held its final practice session on campus. The players and coaches are going home to spend Christmas with relatives and friends.

They will reassemble in Miami on Dec. 29 to complete preparations for the BCS bowl.

Like teammates, Barclay said, “Early on in the season, everyone was struggling, trying to get back. Then the last three games we did some good things and a few bad things.

“But, at the same time, we finished pretty strong. Things worked out well for the team.

“We (in the offensive line) helped them score 40-some points in some games. And we certainly expect to score some points in the bowl game.”

Barclay is a three-year starter who made the All-Big East Conference first team this year as a senior.

He said members of the offensive line try not to let public criticism bother them.

“We come out each day trying to do our jobs the best we can,” he said.

“We learned long ago not to expect any credit for what we do in the offensive line. I definitely enjoy playing college football, though.”

Barclay recalled that the Mountaineers celebrated after beating South Florida 30-27 on Tyler Bitancurt’s field goal in the regular-season finale. That assured WVU a share of the Big East championship.

“We were very happy because it kept alive our hopes for the league’s BCS bowl berth,” he explained.

This will be West Virginia’s 10th consecutive post season appearance and 31st all-time.

Clemson defeated Virginia Tech in the ACC championship game. That ended a three-game skid by the Tigers.

“This is my fourth bowl game and it feels really good to be part of this great achievement,” Barclay said.

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