Fullback “Embracing the Grind” Before Senior Season Kicks Off
By Brian McCracken
While Justin Crawford, Kennedy McKoy and Martell Pattaway will grab plenty of headlines in the 2017 season, now is Elijah Wellman’s time to shine.
Wellman, a bruising fifth-year senior fullback, is the epitome of the hard work and blue collar attitude that Dana Holgorsen expects his players to display throughout the Mountaineers’ offseason workout program.
Shortly before the start of the annual Gold-Blue game Wellman earned an Iron Mountaineer – the award given to a select few players who demonstrate exceptional work ethic in the West Virginia’s offseason strength and conditioning program. Defensive end Jon Lewis and will linebacker David Long also received the award. For Wellman, it is his second in as many years, and if he attacks his workouts like he attacks playside linebackers on blast plays, it’s no surprise why.
It also comes as no surprise that Wellman has welcomed the demanding workouts that Mike Joseph has dished out over the last several months.
“It’s not going to be a good time if you’re dreading the work,” Wellman said. “It makes it better when you can come in and enjoy yourself and get work done.”
And while the hours of excruciating physical activity are no doubt hard work, the Mountaineers have designed a competitive program to help players enjoy it a little more and develop a sense of comradery. In the program, teams that are randomly selected by coaches compete in various drills and workouts until one eventually wins the championship. Wellman, who normally spends most of his time interacting with other running backs and offensive personnel, has enjoyed the opportunity to branch out and acquaint himself with some of the newer players on the roster.
“We have about 10 teams,” explained Wellman. “They put random people together and we compete in different categories. That’s really how you get to know some guys that you don’t see a lot. Myself, I have made a couple of new friendships just from that.
“It’s been fun getting to know some of the new guys. There are a lot of new guys coming in and team bonding is what summer workouts are all about.”
The Mountaineers will continue summer workouts for another month or so before kicking off fall camp in the first week of August. While everyone is looking forward to start installing packages and plays, developing depth and game planning, Wellman plans to embrace his last month of his final offseason workout program as a Mountaineer.
“You have to embrace the grind. That’s what we say around here,” he said. “You have to embrace it and make it fun.”