McKivitz, Sills Talk WVU O-Line
Local Duo Will Be In Starting Lineup
MORGANTOWN — For Sarahsville native Josh Sills, camp has become a case of ‘hair today, gone tomorrow’.
“It’s just kind of ‘go with the flow’ I guess,” Sills explained to Blue and Gold News sports writer Kevin Kinder during Friday’s media conference. “I just kind of wanted to do it, I guess. There’s nothing really behind it. I just went with (the retro-mullet). I’m going to let it grow.”
Sills, who played in 13 games and started 10 in last year’s 7-6 campaign, heads into the new season atop the depth chart (yes, the one head coach Dana Holgorsen hates to release) at left guard and is part of a Mountaineers front five that includes preseason All-Big 12 left tackle Yodny Cajuste, and Union Local grad Colton McKivitz at right tackle from a unit which allowed a league-leading 4.1 tackles for loss per game.
“I have more confidence this year,” the former Meadowbrook High School standout said. “Then again, I still have (redshirt junior offensive lineman) Colton and (redshirt senior offensive lineman) Yodny (Cajuste) that I’m still learning from.
“I ask them for advice and help — what can I do differently? This or that? I’m just still learning from them, and they’re two of the best tackles in the country. That’s a huge help and a huge confidence booster to lean on, ask for advice and help.”
The Mountaineers actually have four returning starters on the front line, but redshirt junior Matt Jones, who started all 13 games a year ago at center, found himself listed behind redshirt sophomore Jacob Buccigrossi following the spring.
“We have three people that can snap it. I think we have five people that can snap it; we don’t have three centers that can play,” Holgorsen stated. “I don’t know where you came up with that (WVU were three-deep at center). I saw somebody write that. Believe it or not, I look at some of the stuff that you all write.
“We have two. I feel really good about two. (Redshirt junior offensive lineman) Matt (Jones) started 13 games for us last year. Buccigrossi, right now, is ahead of him. That doesn’t mean he’s going to start, but right now, he’s running with the first team. He was hurt last year, so he couldn’t play. But we have two, we do have three. (Freshman offensive lineman) Briason Mays is going to be a good player for us, but he’s a freshman, and hopefully he doesn’t play.”
Senior Isaiah Hardy rounds out the starting front five following the spring. However, brothers Michael and Joe Brown — who came to WVU from Eastern Arizona Community College — are already making their presence felt on the field and in the team room.
“I hosted them when they came down for their official (visit), so I got to meet them and their family,” McKivitz said. “I got to see how much they eat, and they’re definitely a different breed of big guys, so it’s definitely fun having them next to me and practicing with them.”
And, if WVU is going to make a run at a first Big 12 championship and berth in the College Football Playoff, then depth among the front five will be key.
“There always is; you’re always improving,” McKivitz said. “(Assistant Coach/Offensive Line Joe) Wickline sees it; I’m also seeing it — we are ahead of where we were last year. Having those younger guys, having Wickline for a full year, and the addition of the (redshirt junior offensive linemen Michael and Joe) Brown brothers, that helps.
“Guys are starting to push each other, and I know there’s an emphasis on being more physical. That’s a step we’re taking, and it’s appearing in practice so far.”