Success In The Details for WVU’s Elijah Wellman
By Kevin Kinder
FRISCO, Tex. – In between good-natured jabs from teammate Al-Rasheed Benton, WVU fullback Elijah Wellman reflected on his path to success, both in leadership roles and as a lead blocker as he heads into his senior season. It was something he thought of at times early in his career, but he didn’t predict that it would happen.
“You dream of those things but you never really know how things are going to pan out,” said Wellman as he tried to avoid the distractions provided by Benton, who stood in his line of sight and attempted to make him laugh. “You can’t imagine anything more than being in this situation and being a leader on the team.”
The interplay between the two stalwarts was evidence of their comfort with each other and with their positions on the squad. With very dissimilar backgrounds, both have worked their way atop the Mountaineer depth chart, but also into their spots as role models.
For Wellman, it’s attention to detail and the daily effort that matters. That might not be more evident than in the fact that he’s a two-time winner of an Iron Mountaineer Award, which is presented each spring to the three or four players who showed the greatest work effort in the off-season conditioning program. He takes every opportunity to make himself a better player, and that sort of dedication is the foundation upon which his leadership is built.
On the field, Wellman has a usually unvarying routine which underlies the importance of attention to detail on every play. With just 41 touches in his Mountaineer career, he’s a blocker of the first order, whether in the running or passing game. That seemingly mundane task still has many challenges, not the least of which is the need to attend to details on every snap. Wellman explains that after identifying the front and applying that to the blocking scheme for the play, he must identify the flow and find a hole much like the ballcarrier. From there, it’s a matter of getting to the next defender and getting a hat on him to keep him from getting to the ball.
“Getting through the hole and getting a hat on somebody, there’s different techniques for every play and different ways you want to block. It’s not super hard, but it’s little techniques that make the play work. It’s almost muscle memory. It’s a lot of snaps.”