West Virginia Football: Finalizing the Week 1 Depth Chart
As the West Virginia University football team gears up for Marshall University next weekend, the depth chart seems to be one of the more impressive ones in years for the Mountaineers.
Everyone knows about the stars in Morgantown, but how about the much-improved offensive line, cornerbacks and defensive units?
WVU's offense will rank among the best in the country, but how do the other units fare in comparison?
Here's a look at the finalized depth chart for the Sept. 1 affair against the Thundering Herd.
What in the world will the Mountaineers do without the likes of Bruce Irvin and Julian Miller combining for 14.5 sacks in 2011?
Well, the D-line must find a solution soon. While the unit is a bit inexperienced and young, first-year defensive line coach Erik Slaughter feels that the group can still make plays and produce.
Well, it's his job to get the guys to that point. The 4-3 scheme will be incorporated into the WVU defense this season.
The recent depth chart has Will Clarke, Jorge Wright and Shaq Rowell as the first three defensive lineman to line up each game.
Clarke has the experience to be productive and a key player on the field. He started 11 games at defensive end for West Virginia, contributing with two sacks and five tackles for loss.
Cornerback will be a key position for the Mountaineers this season. As many know, the Big 12 Conference is a very pass-friendly conference with dangerous receivers such as Terrence Williams and Kenny Stills.
WVU will be led by senior Pat Miller and redshirt junior Brodrick Jenkins. Miller was a huge part in the Mountaineers winning the Big East Conference last season and eventually getting to a BCS game.
Miller had a crucial interception return in the South Florida game at the end of the regular season. Miller did have his set of struggles earlier on the season, however.
Jenkins will have a much larger impact this season after playing in 13 games last year. He started in four of them, but he was second on the team in passes defended.
These two guys can be big surprises for the Big 12 and Mountaineer fans in general.
The experienced offensive line should be a plus for the Mountaineers this season. Seniors Jeff Braun and Joey Madsen have played in many games over the last few seasons, and they have been able to get other guys to feel comfortable before Sept 1.
Last season an injury to guard Josh Jenkins got things off to a shaky start in Morgantown. Jenkins is back, however, and the rest of the offensive line has game experience.
The difference between this line and past lines is this line is more aggressive and physical than the last few seasons. It must be to protect quarterback Geno Smith.
Offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh has expected perfection out of this group. It should be much better this season with a balanced group of guys led by Braun and Madsen.