I don’t care what network or sports media you read, you have seen articles about Dana Holgorsen’s future at WVU, articles on about this being WVU RB Rushel Shell III year to shine, and articles about WVU QB Skyler Howard.
If all holds true to WVU insiders and rumors, Dana Holgorsen has to win 9 regular season games in 2016. Can he do this? I don’t believe he can with Skyler Howard at starting quarterback. The media and Holgorsen always use the Cactus Bowl as a way to promote Howard as the starting QB. One game doesn’t make a starting quarterback.
Holgorsen has stated on more than once that there was a lack of consistency in the passing game last season. The quarterback with the most praise from the coaching staff, including Holgorsen is Chris Chugunov.
If Holgorsen’s future truly relies on him winning 9 games, and if he truly wants consistency in the passing game, maybe, just maybe he should give Chugunov a chance. I am one WVU fan that believes with all the talent WVU has on offense, WVU could win 9 games with Chugunov as the QB.
Howard and Holgorsen both heard the ‘boo-birds’ and chants last season. I doubt if they want to hear them again. Now, this is new season, and Howard could come out hitting all the passes (short, medium & long). The ball may come out of hand on time, he may show he can throw a touch pass, and show he has good ball placement…..I hope he can!
When Shell arrived on WVU’s campus everyone was anxious to see him play. This kid was going to be a star. What happened was he was out played by Wendell Smallwood, and it was Smallwood who went into the NFL draft and was taken by the Philadelphia Eagles leaving Shell behind.
In the spring game we saw Kennedy McKoy, and he looked a lot like Wendell Smallwood, if is this holds true then McKoy instead of Shell will be WVU’s work-horse out of the backfield.
There are other new backs that should out shine Shell, such as: Steven Smothers, Justin Crawford, and Marcus Simms any of which could take playing time away from Shell. And this doesn’t stop here, because there is at least one experience player who could take playing time from Shell, and that being Eli Wellman.
I do think we’ll see Shell this season, but on rare occasions for WVU has much better play makers on its staff. The receiving core is loaded: William Crest, Ka’Raun White, David Sills, Shelton Gibson, Gary Jennings, Jovon Durante, Daikiel Shorts Jr. And lets not forget the TEs: Michael Ferns, Jon Lewis, and Stone Wolfley. Most likely Jon Lewis will be the starting TE.
Defensively, I’m not worried, though the media wants to put doubt in the mind of fans about WVU’s defense after losing talents like Karl Joseph, K.J. Dillon, and Nick KwaitKoski to the NFL. I’m here to tell you that fans should not be worried. I believe the defense will be solid, for there are a lot of players with playing time at every position, plus WVU received some very talented recruits.
The best battle in practice will be watching WR Ka’Raun White go up against his brother Kazir White at safety. I look for this to be a hot and heavy encounter anytime these two get a chance to go at each other. The same could hold true for the brothers TE/FB Michael Ferns and LB Brendan Ferns.
WVU isn’t hurting at safety or cornerback. I look for some shifting around to be done between these two positions. I look for Rasul Douglas and Marcus Fleming to be the starters here, and at Safety, I expect Dravon Askew-Henry, Jarrod Harper, and Kazir White to be the starters.
We should also see Jeremy Tyler, Shane Commodore, and Khairi Sharif with playing time. At corner look for Nana Keyeremeh, Antonio Crawford, Sean Mahone, and Elijah Battle to receive playing time.
This group will be tested in their opener against Missouri, and so will Skyler Howard. If Howard can’t hit the short and intermediate routes, then by the 2nd half, I hope Holgorsen comes to his senses and plays Chugunov. If Chugunov is truly Howard’s back-up, he needs game time experience in case Howard goes down and can’t come back in.
An ineffective play call that Holgorsen is known for is instead of giving the ball to Eli Wellman on short and goal, he gave it to Shell which seldom worked. WVU only scored inside the 5 when they handed the ball to Wellman or had Wellman in to block for another back.
If Holgorsen isn’t around for 2017, he did it to himself. If he hears the “boo-birds” due to Howard’s lack of performance, he did that to himself also. Holgorsen’s future at WVU is in his own hands.
If he fails to pull Howard and loses a game for Howard’s lack of passing ability, then he gets what he has asked for and another head coaching job is doubtful. This is Holgorsen’s make or break year.