OL Rimac embraces opportunity at left guard

West Virginia entered the season hoping freshman Tomas Rimac could be a low point on the offensive line.

With two games to go, he is much more than that.

A native of Brunswick, Ohio, Rimac saw action in just two games as a true freshman, but started the past three after James Gmiter went down with an injury. And he’s about to finish the season as a starter for the program, as Gmiter is not expected to return.

“We felt like he would be the eighth, ninth guy and now he’s starting. He’s done really well and I think the future looks very bright for him and he’s getting better too,” said head coach Neal Brown. “He’s not just plateauing. He’s getting better.”

Rimac, whose first name is pronounced toe-mas, arrived in Morgantown with potential. He was a two-way starter in high school, but was mostly on offense on offensive tackles. The athletic lineman also competed in both discus and shot put on the track.

He arrived on campus weighing approximately six feet, and through his work with both the strength and conditioning staff and nutritionists, he has been able to add strength to his body while reducing his total body fat.

“They just wanted me to get a little bit stronger,” he said.

Rimac didn’t expect to make a start so early in his career, but first got the call against TCU and, although he was nervous at first, quickly got used to the role. After conceding that first goal in a match, the nerves quickly disappear.

Footwork was a strong point of Rimac because of his time, not only as an offensive tackle, but also because of his experience with discus and shot put. Those are two activities that he enjoyed, but when it came time to choose between the two, football was on the run.

That was made even easier by the fact that Rimac was given the opportunity to play for West Virginia after offensive line coach Matt Moore provided him with a college scholarship. It was where he wanted to play all along and attended both a summer camp and a high school game.

But once the offer came through, it was practically a foregone conclusion.

“West Virginia was my number one choice. I loved everything: the atmosphere, the fans, everything,” he said.

While the left guard has been a transition, it hasn’t been one that’s been too challenging for Rimac given the coaching he’s been receiving. And he’s excited to see where the next steps in his career take him after getting off to such a fast start when you consider where he was a few years ago.

I had a conversation with Coach Moore and he said you’re going to be a good player and he had a plan for me. I just kept working hard even though I was second or third string,” Rimac said. “And I finally got a chance to play.”

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