Fellow Mountaineer fans, I hope you are excited about the future of the WVU football program as I am?
There are many things to be excited about:
- WVU is heading into another season with the same coaching staff
- WVU is returning many talented players on all 3-sides of the ball
- A change at quarterback is coming
WVU will struggle in the Cactus Bowl against Arizona State. The Wildcats will try to shut down the WVU running game and force Skyler Howard to rely on the pass. If they succeed, WVU will likely lose another bowl game.
The passing game is and has been one of WVU’s biggest weaknesses all season. While many of the miscues have been blamed on the young receivers, the real problem has been the lack of accuracy and the late throws of Skyler Howard. The offensive line also shares part of the blame with inadequate pass protection.
But don’t get discouraged, we will see a much improved offense in 2016 & 2017. Both the passing and running games will be much improved. The improvement in running will come via letters from the NFL. When RB Rushel Shell III discovers that the NFL is not yet interested in him, he’ll have to step-up his play in 2016. If RB Donte Thomas-Williams wants more playing time, he too must step-up his play. I also expect TE/FB Eli Wellman to play a more significant role in the running game including more carries. With a season under their belt, we should also see an improved offensive line.
The number one reason I’m excited about 2016 & 2017 is we’ll see the redshirt freshman Chris Chugunov at quarterback. No, I don’t have a genie in my pocket, and I haven’t looked into any crystal ball. I have repeatedly watched the high school highlights of all the quarterbacks on the roster. Chugunov came in the most underrated of them all.
All season long we have heard the coaches praise Chugunov. We’ve heard things like:
- “he can sling it with the best of them”
- “he is a gun slinger”
- “no matter what happens, he doesn’t get rattled”
- Holgorsen stated: “He is the smartest quarterback I’ve ever coached”
- Holgorsen also stated: “he is much more athletic than I first suspected”
- “he follows Holgorsen every where”
- And if you saw the WVU games, you saw him beside Holgorsen wearing a yellow vest and carrying a clipboard
- More recently Coach Seider was singing Chug’s praises and stated he would compete against Howard for the starting quarterback position
Chugunov came to WVU very underrated. This kid has all the tools to potentially be one of the best quarterbacks ever to play at WVU. He can make all the throws. He has a quick release. He can extend plays, and he’ll run with the ball. The most important thing is his accuracy.
While the coaches nor anyone else at WVU will tell you at this time that Chugs will be the starter in 2016, he will be the starting QB. Chug’s received nearly as many reps as Howard did this season, for if Howard had been too injured to play, Chugs would have been the replacement instead of William Crest. Holgorsen even stated this in a press conference. This should tell you who Holgorsen has the most faith in at playing quarterback.
Holgorsen used this season to get Chugs familiar with his offense, and to get him ready for 2016 and the three years following. If you saw Holgorsen on the sideline, he often talked to Chugs during the games. The other coaches even stated that Holg took Chugs everywhere with him. He attended meetings with Holgorsen, and helped breakdown defenses.
The evidence is there, and I for one can’t wait to see Chug’s operating the WVU offense. This to me is exciting.
As far as the Cactus Bowl goes, I hope WVU wins and I’m sure the seniors will be fired up. This game will come down to WVU running the ball. If WVU can have a successful running game against Arizona State, then the Mountaineers have a very good shot at winning.