Football, Sports, WVU Sports

WVU center Zach Frazier ready for third year under new offense

MORGANTOWN — Zach Frazier admittedly isn’t the type to give negative feedback, especially if it means he raises his voice an octave or two.

The Fairmont native is entering his third season as a starter for the Mountaineers, now the man-in-the-middle at center. In 2020, he was the first true freshman to start along the offensive line at WVU in 50 years, but he’s now a veteran on what may be the most-experienced unit on the team headed into the 2022 season.

Still, Frazier isn’t one for pregame speeches and in-game rallying cries.

“Yeah, I’m not,” Frazier said with a laugh. “Like I’m not going to yell anything in front of the team, but I’ll pull someone off to the side and check on them like that.”

“I don’t give speeches, not at all.”

Despite his lack of rah-rah leadership, Frazier’s voice is one of the first things that caught the ear of new offensive coordinator Graham Harrell. During one of the early spring practices, which culminates Saturday at the annual Gold-Blue Game, Frazier made a check at the line and pinpointed exactly which defender was where and what they were going to do.

Playing alongside four other linemen with plenty of experience — tackles Wyatt Milum and Brandon Yates, and guards James Gmiter and Doug Nester — also helps Frazier’s comfort level.

For the first time since head coach Neal Brown took over in 2019, the Mountaineers likely will not need to rely on freshmen along the offensive line.

“We’d go into a game saying we only need to run these plays in this direction, and if we run it in this direction, we’re putting all the pressure on this guy that we know is struggling,” offensive line coach Moore said. “It’s been like that since I’ve been here. We’re at a point now where we can just call the offense.”

Moore, who was the offensive line coach at Texas Tech while Harrell was the quarterback for the Red Raiders from 2007-08, said the new scheme under Harrell doesn’t change much for the o-line.

All that’s different is the language.

“The protections have not changed much for us at all,” Moore said. “Maybe a word here and there, but they’ve already gotten used to that. We haven’t changed our techniques or eyes. For us, it’s been a really smooth transition and they’ve done a good job of adapting to the new words.”

As for Frazier, he heard a few key words prior to spring practice that got him excited … at least as much as he’s willing to show. Harrell said the goal is to score points every time the offense touched the ball.

“That got me fired up,” Frazier said. “When I heard that, I was excited because, at the end of the day, that’s what you want to do, put points on the board. It makes me want to play harder.”

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