College Football: Don’t Overlook WVU This Season

Over the past few months, I’ve read a lot of articles and listened to several talk shows hosts talk about WVU’s 2014 football season. Everyone points to last year, the year before, and the year before, etc.

While belittling the WVU football team, they do manage a few contradictory positives. I would guess just to cover themselves if the Mountaineers do well.

Look at the WVU football team and what has happened since Holgorsen’s hire. When Holgs arrived at WVU, recruiting was down and he only had one QB on the roster (Geno Smith).

There was talent on the team, but WVU lacked overall depth at many positions. Holgorsen had to immediately find a back-up QB for Smith as well as hire an offensive coaching staff.

The following year, most of the defensive coaching staff left and Holgs had to replace them too. Being a first time head coach, he made some serious mistakes. He ended up firing several coaches and moving others around before the season even ended.

Many of the coaching positions appear to be a revolving door. Hopefully, the rookie head coach has learned from his mistakes.

He has since hired some of the nation’s top position coaches, some who were also stars on previous WVU football teams, or are West Virginian natives. We all know of the caliber of coaches that have come out of WV.

Lou Holtz and Nick Saban have both made their marks in the college football by winning National Championships.

For the first time in the past few years, WVU has a very talented defense with lots of depth. It was primarily the lack of depth on defense that really hurt WVU in 2013.

The WVU coaches were burning red-shirts to get 11 players on the field. They were moving players to different positions, just trying to find a combination of freshmen that could stop another team in the fourth quarter. Freshman cornerback Daryl Worley played 3 different positions.

Offensively, WVU was a complete mess last season. Florida State transfer Clint Trickett was thrown into the starting quarterback mix after not participating in practices until August.

He had to learn Holgorsen’s offense, which is not easy. Just ask Geno Smith, as it took him a year to get it down. Trickett also had to share starting reps with Ford Childress and Paul Millard.

Additionally, Ford Childress was injured in the Maryland game and Trickett was hurt in the Oklahoma State game.

Trickett only played two quarters healthy in all the games he was in. There were issues with the offensive line not blocking, and receivers running the wrong routes or cutting them short.

The offense was mostly new and inexperienced players who were being thrown into games that they weren’t ready to play.

Out of all that happened last year, the WVU football team as a whole gained valuable experience. This is why WVU has solid depth going into the 2014 football season.

Holgorsen was smart to name Clint Trickett the starting quarterback, as it allows him the opportunity to work with the receivers and the offensive line after a year in Holgorsen’s offense.

It allows everyone to get on the same page as Trickett, to see what the QB sees, and allows for Trickett and the receivers to get their timing down.

These are all positives, something that just wasn’t there last season. One big key to the success of the offense this season will be Trickett’s leadership ability.

This season, Holgorsen and his staff have produced the best football team that WVU has had in the past few years. Three WVU players are on national ‘watch lists’ for awards (Quinton Spain, Nick O’Toole and Karl Joseph). Daryl Worley’s goal is to win the ‘Jim Thorpe Trophy’.

My best advice to the other defensive players is to stay out of the way of Karl Joseph, for he knocked some of his defensive teammates out of games last season.

This WVU defense can and will literally hammer opponents. There are many big hitters, and Joseph is the leader of the pack.

I am convinced the biggest reason sports writers and analysts are staying away from making any really positive statements about this year’s football team is the schedule.

WVU is said to have the 14th toughest schedule in the nation. Sports writers acknowledge WVU’s depth on defense, and at running back, but it is the schedule that scares them the most.

Can WVU go into each week prepared both mentally and physically to win? Because of this, we are seeing all sorts of predictions.

Athlon Sports believes WVU will go 3-9. Many analyst believe WVU will lose to Alabama by either 21 or 28 points. Some think Towson will upset the Mountaineers and that Maryland will walk all over them.

Now, could all these things happen? Hey, it’s a sport! It is football and as we all know any team can beat any other team on any given day.

All of this could happen, but so could the flip-side. WVU could win its first four games and move into the national rankings. All things are possible.

My personal belief is that WVU will win those first four games, and then play Baylor tough. I like what I see with this team and the talent.

I truly believe this is best team I’ve seen at WVU in the past few years. I like what I saw during spring practice, and like many fans, I looking forward to Alabama game.

GO EERs!

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