CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Joe Madsen has seen more changes than a light bulb at West Virginia.
Only two months after Rich Rodriguez left for Michigan, Madsen signed a letter-of-intent to play football for the Mountaineers under newly christened coach Bill Stewart in February 2008.
Recruited as a tackle out of Chardon (Ohio) High School, Madsen moved up through the ranks at center and earned his first career as a redshirt freshman in 2009.
Madsen saw the Mountaineers go from a run-based spread system under Rodriguez and Stewart to second-year coach Dana Holgorsen's pass-happy offense that's thrived under Geno Smith.
In the final home game for 21 West Virginia seniors on Saturday, Madsen will make his school-record 50th career start when the Mountaineers (6-5, 3-5 Big 12) play Kansas (1-10, 0-8).
The emotions began to hit Madsen in practice this week when right guard Jeff Braun, another senior, looked at him and said, "Last Tuesday — ever."
"I kind of just took a breath and thought, 'Wow, almost done,'" Madsen said. "It feels like yesterday that I was going out there and not knowing what I was doing, and just scared to death. But now it's almost over and it's been fun."
For Madsen and many of the other seniors, their careers started with a 33-20 win over Championship Subdivision member Liberty.
"I do remember the first one, because it was definitely the scariest," he said. "I walked out of the tunnel and there were 64,000 fans and you're thinking 'This is amazing.' I don't even remember who we played. But I remember walking out."
Actually, the West Virginia player who's been on the field the longest is Josh Jenkins, a backup guard in five games in 2008. He missed last season with an injured left knee.