Friday, June 29, 2012

64 Don Barclay

Hometown: Cranberry, PA
Career: 2008-2011
Record: 37-15, Bowl Record: 2-2 including a BCS win
Today we are honoring the Donald. No, I am not talking about Donald Trump, but Donnie Barclay. He came to WVU as a recruit in 2007 to play for Coach Rich Rodriguez and would redshirt that year. Unfortunately for Barclay and the Mountaineers, Rich Rod bolted town in favor of going to Michigan. Barclay would be forced to learn a new blocking scheme under Coach Bill Stewart and new Offensive Coordinator Jeff Mullen. Barclay would pick up the scheme quickly, earning the starting left tackle job his sophomore season. He would anchor the left side of the offensive line for three seasons, keeping rushers off of passers Jarrett Brown and Geno Smith. His grit and determination to becoming a great pass blocker really paid off the Mountaineers this past season, helping WVU win the Orange Bowl in blow-out fashion. He was honored with All-Big East honors this past season.

Memorable Game: Barclay’s efforts were critical to a pivotal win for the Mountaineers this past season in Cincinnati. The Mountaineers came into the contest versus the Bearcats with doubts lingering about whether this team could win a Big East Championship. They had just come off a shocking loss to upstart Louisville, leaving the team dazed and confused. Cincinnati was still very much alive for the Big East crown and needed a win over the Mountaineers to give them a shot at a BCS berth. The Mountaineers banded together for a gritty road win. The offense put up big yardage totals in the passing game thanks to superb pass blocking, giving the Mountaineers a three point lead late in the game. The defense would keep the Bearcats away from the endzone late, forcing a long field goal attempt to send the game into overtime. WVU’s special teams would come up with a blocked kick to preserve the 24-21 win. This was the turning point in the season. Had WVU lost for a second week in a row, the Big East title hopes would have evaporated and the team would have ended up with a sub-par bowl game and a much different set of expectations for this season.

Competition: There was a decent bit of competition for the #64 slot. Many solid WVU blockers have worn this number, but in the end, I went with the more current player due to the major recent success of the program. Others considered included: Dale Wolfley, Donnie Young, and Mike Enich.

Teaser: Tomorrow we change up the countdown with a non-lineman. This player was a stud linebacker during his era and was the field marshal of his defense. Opposing offenses knew that they had to neutralize him to move the football. He essentially proclaimed to the offense “YOU SHALL NOT PASS.”

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