West Virginia Football: Wh"Y" Receiver Tavon Austin Will Torch Defenses in 2012

Alex SimsCorrespondent IIIAugust 23, 2012

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 04:  Tavon Austin #1 of the West Virginia Mountaineers celebrates West Virginia's 70-33 win against the Clemson Tigers during the Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on January 4, 2012 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Earlier this month, Mike Casazza of the Charleston Daily Mail reported that Tavon Austin will be making a transition from the "H" slot to the "Y" slot—essentially moving him from the left to the right side of the spread.

This may sound like a fairly insignificant switch, but it may actually be the move that puts Austin over the 1,500-yard mark in 2012.

The always mum Holgorsen even revealed the significance of the switch in the piece:

"We got him closer to the ball now," Holgorsen said. "The guys that are closest to the ball touch the ball the most."

Obviously, more touches for Austin will be the best possible thing for this offense.

Casazza went on to explain that, with the move, Austin will be on the field more, as he will stay on in sets where he was sent to the sideline last year.

This, of course, will instantly equate to even more touches; something Austin is very excited about and something fans should be very excited about too.

"I noticed that I definitely didn't catch as many passes last spring as I did this past spring," Austin told Casazza. "It seems like there are some better plays, too."

Casazza continued by bringing WVU's top outside receiver Stedman Bailey into the equation, who will be holding down the "X" position on the left side of the offense.

Moving Austin to the opposite side will make life harder for opposing defenses, which will now have to defend both sides of the field against the 1,000-yard Mountaineer receiving tandem.

However, the most significant part of the switch in my mind goes back to what Holgorsen said about moving Austin closer to the ball.

Now, the Baltimore, Md. native will literally be quarterback Geno Smith's right-hand man.

When Smith drops back into the throwing position, Austin will be in his immediate line of sight, and he'll be the first receiver Smith sees when he surveys the field. Plus, Geno won't have to throw back across his body to find Austin to the left.

So, when No. 1 beats a defender off the line, the ball will be in his hands before the defense can even diagnose the play.


All of this will play right into Austin's strength, which is taking the ball in space and making plays.

"The 'Y' had Tyler (Urban) and Devon (Brown) lined up against one person at different times and they'd have just that one person, but couldn't make him miss," Austin told Casazza. "I feel like, putting me in that position, I can catch the ball and make that one person miss."

Last year, West Virginia's versatile star led the team with 101 receptions and led the nation in all-purpose yardage with 2,574 yards.

However, his most impressive stat was that 933 of his 1,186 receiving yards came after the catch.

Austin earned 126 of those yards in the Orange Bowl, after entering the game with 807 YAC on the season (stats via ESPN Stats and Information and ESPN Big East football blogger Andrea Adelson).

Only two returning receivers in the Big 12 Conference—Bailey and Baylor's Terrance Williams—had more total receiving yards than Austin had yards after the catch.

This season, Austin will have the ball in his hands swiftly and frequently, a responsibility he is more than ready for.

As effective as Austin was in the "H," he'll be downright deadly in the "Y." After the snap, it will be just a quick flick, and the ball will be in the hands of one of the most dangerous athletes in college football.