WVU’s Trevon Wesco Brings Physical Presence
MORGANTOWN W.Va. — Sometimes in football it isn’t the fastest team on the field that wins. Sometimes it isn’t the most skilled. Sometimes it isn’t the the team with the most stars or the best schemes or the best coaching.
Sometimes — no matter how much they change the rules and try to turn it into shuffle board with helmets — it comes down to the toughest team that wins.
West Virginia’s showdown with Texas on Fox at 3:30 p.m. in Austin that could leave the Big 12 championship solely in WVU’s hands looks to be one of those sometimes.
This is not a week for the weak of heart or the weak of mind or, maybe most important, the physically weak.
This is a game for the strong.
This is a game for Trevon Wesco.
Wesco is the man who is re-inventing the tight end position at WVU, a massive 270 pounder who can block, can run routes, can catch passes and could probably bulldog down Bevo, the Longhorn mascot, if this were a rodeo.
True, you will notice Will Grier vs. Sam Ehlinger more in the battle of quarterbacks. True, you will wonder how WVU’s undersized corners are going to cover Texas’ 6-foot-6 and 6-4 wide receivers. True, you will notice David Sills and Gary Jennings’ receiving talents far more often than Wesco’s.
But, if at times you jump out of your seat screaming because Wesco leveled a tackler or kept a blitzer from getting to, Grier or simply established an attitude of toughness on the Mountaineer offense, chances are WVU will escape Texas to keep its late-season drive moving forward.
A couple of years back Coach Dana Holgorsen decided to alter his offense, to run more, to throw less and with that he opted to get a fullback or a tight end who could that work.
Last year the fullback was Eli Wellman.
This year it has been Wesco, a West Virginia kid who had to grow both physically and mentally into the role.
It didn’t happen right away after coming out of the aptly named Musselman High. He took a route that is familiar to West Virginia players, through two years of Lackawanna (Pennsylvania) College.
The second season was lost to an injury.
His first year at WVU he played a good bit, although he would admit that he was the only guy in the tight end room for meetings, and he made the most of it, his first catch and only catch of the year being for a touchdown against Iowa State.
He played more in his second WVU season as he learned more about the position, just as Holgorsen was doing.
This season, his senior season, he broke out, something Grier noticed in the spring.
“I think he has a different mindset,” Grier said. “He had a really impressive spring. He busted it in the weight room. Does a good job. A really strong guy. He gets after it, man. I really like where he’s at.
“Really talented guy,” Grier added. “I didn’t realize how talented he was. He had a really, really impressive spring. I think we’re all excited about his potential and what he can do. He’s a great person and close friend of mine. Glad he’s part of this team.”
And grow they did.
“It just developed,” Holgorsen said. “His skills as a tight end are continuously developing. He has really started to do some good things in the pass game. That wasn’t a quality that he possessed a year ago.
“He’s just really starting to come into his own. We felt like Eli (Wellman) was a better blocker than him last year, that’s why Eli played all the time. Wesco, over spring and throughout the course of camp, I thought, really did a nice job with his blocking.
“And the more we want to play him, the more we want to be able to get him involved. And then there’s the pass-game aspect of it that is continuously getting better.”
But it is as a blocker when Wesco makes WVU a different breed of animal.
“His (Wesco) blocking makes the defense move differently and it allows him to get involved in the passing game because they just can’t rush five or six people and leave him alone,” offensive coordinator Jake Spavital said. “And, he has improved tremendously as a receiver.”
“I really had to buy into blocking,” Wesco admitted. “It’s like I tell everybody, nobody wants to block. Everybody wants to catch touchdowns. Since I bought into blocking, it’s been easy for me to block.
“Coach (Dan) Gerberry puts it into my head every day that I need to go out there and be the most physical player that I can be, and that’s just what I try to do.”
If he can make that attitude contagious, WVU will have the edge it lacked on the road at Iowa State and could propel it to victory.