The West Virginia Mountaineers may be new to the Big 12 conference, but that doesn't mean this team won't compete from day one.
West Virginia is coming off one of its more successful seasons, winning 10 games, including a BCS bowl game; and return 14 starters, eight of which are on the offensive side of the ball.
The Mountaineers open the season ranked 11th in the USA Today Coaches Poll, but will have many chances this year to slide up those rankings.
Fall camp kicked off earlier this week for West Virginia, and you can keep it here for all the latest updates, injury reports and more involving everyone's new favorite team in the Big 12.
West Virginia has one of the best quarterbacks and wide receiver corps in the country, but the running back position remains a bit of a question mark. With Dustin Garrison recovering from an ACL injury, players such as Shawne Alston have really stepped up in the fall. (Via Dave Hickman of wvgazette.com)
"He's had a great camp and left the camp being the top guy," running backs coach Robert Gillespie said of Alston. "Our main focus now is just to continue to keep him healthy and focused to get him prepared for the first game."
As for Dustin Garrison, there are reports that he may be ready for the regular season opener, but Gillespie is a little more cautious with his current status.
"He's a tough kid and we have to make sure he's being honest with us,'' Gillespie said. "He's shown a lot of toughness, but as a staff we have to sit down with the medical staff and see what's the best thing for him.''
Offense extremely confident
West Virginia has the type of offense that can produce tons of points this season in the Big 12. We saw what they were capable of last season and with everyone returning, the sky is really the limit for this West Virginia team in 2012. (Via The Charleston Gazette)
I think we're excited, but I think we're going about business as usual. Quarterback Geno Smith said. We're going to make sure we focus in and don't leave any stones unturned this season because we believe we have a shot at the national title.
If this offense is going to produce the type of numbers we all believe it is capable of doing, it is all going to start with quarterback Smith. He had a great season last year, but says he has been working on his game during the offseason and has improved as a player.
I made poor decisions in a lot of situations. Smith said. That's really where I've improved the most, my decision making and being able to get us in and out of good plays, taking care of the ball a little bit more and just overall being a better quarterback.
Head coach Dana Holgorsen recently said that he believes all of his players have passed their classes to where they should be eligible to play this season. Even the ones that may have been on the fence, he believes that there should be no problems, as the season is ready to kickoff in just two weeks. (Via Dave Hickman of the Charleston Gazette)
"I think we're in the clear. It's a miracle,'' Holgorsen said. "It's the first miracle of the season. A couple of guys, I had some very serious reservations about and they got cleared.''
Quarterback Geno Smith proved to be one of the best quarterbacks in the country last season. But as he enters his senior season, there are still things he must improve on to take his game to the next level. The main concern right now is becoming more familiar with the offense and learn how to audible into the correct play at the right time.
It’s just part of becoming more familiar with the scheme. Quarterbacks coach Jake Spavital said. Last year, we were focused on where the receivers were going to be and the protections and how to get the ball out of your hand quick. (Via Patrick Southern of Scout.com)
So in order to make Smith a better quarterback, the coaching staff is throwing everything at him during the fall camp, seeing just how he reacts to certain situations.
They’re making it extremely hard on me. This is one of the camps I’ve had to think on every down, because you never know what’s coming. Smith, a senior, said. They’ve sent corner blitzes. Sometimes they send a dog to the field. Sometimes they send it weak-side. It’s different things coming every single practice. It makes us better because it makes us think a lot as quarterbacks. That’s what you want.
If Smith can grow from the practices this month, the Mountaineers may have the best quarterback in the country leading their offense.
Dana Holgorsen gets paid
Holgorsen has only been the head coach of the West Virginia Mountaineers for one season, but 10 wins—including a BCS bowl victory—were enough to lock him up for a while.
The Associated Press reports that the head coach received a new contract on Wednesday that will keep him in Morgantown through the 2017 season (via ESPN).
The new deal will give him an annual salary of $2.3 million, which is a lot more than the $1.49 million he made last season.
By the time fall camp finally takes place, players are anxiously waiting for the season to begin.
They haven't played football in several months, haven't been able to hit anybody, the practices are hot and sometimes the frustration can get out of hand.
That is why some of the West Virginia players are taking it out on one another during fall camp, according to Holgorsen (via Mike Casazza of the Charleston Daily Mail):
We're not fighting because we hate each other, we're fighting because that's the aggressive nature of these kids. We had more fights than I would like, but there are some people across the country that would trade places with me because they can't get their kids to fight.
The college football season can't start soon enough for everybody.
This article will be updated throughout fall camp to provide you with the latest news, injuries and everything else that involves your West Virginia Mountaineers.