By BOB REDD
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Josh Jenkins is back and ready to play football.
The West Virginia University offensive tackle suffered a knee injury in last year’s spring game and missed the entire 2011 season. It was his second major knee injury since coming to WVU, the first he suffered after five games in his freshman year of 2008.
Highly recruited out of Parkersburgh High School, Jenkins helped lead the Big Reds to back-to-back state championships in 2006 and 2007 and remains the only West Virginian ever selected to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio. Jenkins, after being away from competition for more than a year is thrilled to get the pads on and do his job.
“You don’t know how excited I was when the game (2012 Gold-Blue) was over,” Jenkins said. “I went to my offensive line coach and said, ‘Man, I can’t believe I get to play,’ I’m happy. I’m really excited to get to work in the summer and hopefully get a Big XII championship.”
Jenkins said that physically he is getting more strength and has seen improvement in his stamina throughout this spring’s practices.
“I feel pretty good, feel pretty healthy. I just want to keep getting my leg stronger and I am going to keep focusing on that,” Jenkins said.
He added, “I wasn’t that bad, the first day of camp, I just had to get back into it and it feels comfortable. As the spring went on I got pretty comfortable, got feeling pretty good. I got better every day and that was the key for me, to keep getting better, keep getting our offensive line better. I think as a whole our offensive line got a lot better through the spring and I stayed healthy.”
This year will be Jenkins’ first under the Dana Holgorsen offense and the senior lineman finds it to his liking.
“I don’t mind the offense at all,” Jenkins said. “I think it’s a very good offense and Coach Holgorsen does a really good job. The good thing is I get to experience this offense, but I already got to experience another offense, so I kind of get to use them both, for the future and everything.”
Asked what he was thinking about in this year’s spring game, Jenkins had a simple answer.
“Don’t get rolled up. That was my only thing. I knew I wasn’t going to play the whole game, so I was worried about just getting out there, playing physical and keeping my feet moving at all times. That’s the key to not getting hurt.
“Of course it (being injured again) was in the back of my mind. This time last year I did get hurt, but you can’t go out there and play, thinking about if it’s going to happen again, because the next thing you know, it might happen again.”
The WVU offensive line has been rated in some early preseason publications as one of the best in the country. Head coach Dana Holgorsen isn’t quite read to put the Mountaineers’ front upon a lofty pedestal, but Jenkins believes the potential is there for greatness.
“I think we’re pretty good as an offensive line. If we are the best, I don’t know,” Jenkins said. “Hopefully we can hit the off season hard and get in this summer, do our best and get stronger, faster, smarter, more mature and we can go into the fall and we can hopefully try to prove that we’re one of the best offensive lines.”
— Contact Bob Redd at email@example.com