NEW YORK — Every game needs a story line, right?
It’s early — actually hours before the first WVU practice here — but what we have right now is a team looking for a center. Joe Madsen is out for Saturday’s Pinstripe Bowl and a Daily Mail source said the senior is academically ineligible for a second bowl game.
Coach Dana Holgorsen, who will discuss this, and other items, at his press conference this afternoon, referred before to Syracuse’s defense as a “dial-a-blitz” defense, meaning the Orange blitz a good bit and mix it up a good bit, too.
Needless to say, you need a center who knows what he’s doing to identify and communicate all that, and that was said to be Madsen’s great skill.
And that’s why I suspect Jeff Braun slides over to his left and snaps the ball for a game. Bill Bedenbaugh, the offensive line coach, said earlier this season Braun’s best position in the pros could be center.
Pat Eger would then start in Braun’s place. Eger, who lost his starting job at right tackle to Nick Kindler, who lost it to Curtis Feigt, who’s started the past five games, has spelled Braun at times this season and, I thought, played OK. He’s started 18 games in his career, but all at right tackle.
Braun, of course, has never started at center. That’s been Madsen’s gig the past four years. He had started all 50 games he played in during his career and only missed one game — the 2010 Champs Sports Bowl, when he was academically ineligible. The school record for starts is 52, set by former center Dan Mozes.
It’s also possible Madsen’s backup, John Bassler, who snapped it but a few times this season, gets the call in the final game of his career.