There has been a lot of chatter this week about WVU being ranked No. 7 in the Big 12. Believe it or not, I understand this one.
Since WVU joined the conference they have sometimes been ranked in the Top 25. They have beaten a Top 10 team only to go through a losing streak, then falling out of the polls. Inconsistent play has been their downfall since entering the Big 12.
In 2016, WVU has a defensive secondary that is unproven and a starting quarterback who has also been inconsistent with passing form and occasional his decisions.
There is also the inconsistent play of running back Rushel Shell III. The 4-star RB coming out of high school and has yet to prove him self in the college ranks.
There are a lot of questions about this WVU team going into the 2016 season.
Looking at the offensive and defensive lines you see a group of veteran players with game experience. The defensive line is lead by veterans DE Noble Nwachukwu and NT Darrien Howard. The offensive line is lead by veteran center Tyler Orlosky.
The offensive skill positions have a mix of proven and unproven talent. The proven talent starts with WR Shelton Gibson, WR Ka’Raun White, WR Daikiel Shorts, WR Jovon Durante, WR Gary Jennings and TE/FB Elijah Wellman.
The unproven talent that we will most likely see in 2016 is RB Kennedy McKoy, RB Justin Crawford, RB Martell Pettway, WR Steven Smothers, and WR Marcus Simms.
The other part of this equation is WVU really doesn’t have a back-up QB with any real game experience. QB William Crest has done some clean-up duty and replaced Howard for a few plays when he had to come off the field, but he hasn’t started a game or even played a full quarter at the position. Chris Chugunov has now been named the backup QB and not not played in a real game.
As a WVU fan I’m not going to get upset that WVU isn’t ranked/rated higher than 7th in the Big 12, it makes sense. What WVU has to do is prove itself on the field. This means both QB Skyler Howard and RB Rushel Shell III have to show they are no longer inconsistent.
Howard’s QBR in the red-zone has to improve. The new WRs and RBs need to prove they are worth all the hype of the coaches and their teammates, and the CBs and safeties have to prove themselves.
Can this be done? Yes!
Whether WVU can go a season without a major let down is probably the bigger question and one for which I don’t have an answer.
This team does have more going for it then past WVU teams since joining the Big XII.
As always, WVU has to prove itself each week. I understand the skepticism of analysts when ranking and rating this team. There is no doubt this team has talent, but can it play together as a unified unit?……………Only the season will tell……………