The West Virginia Mountaineers offense has suffered another blow with Stedman Bailey throwing his name in the hat for the NFL draft.
According to Mike Casazza of the Charleston Daily Mail, head coach Dana Holgorsen has said the junior will leave school early to become a professional.
Dana Holgorsen says redshirt junior receiver Stedman Bailey will go pro following the Pinstripe Bowl.— Mike Casazza (@mikecasazza) December 17, 2012
This is an offense that will also have to overcome quarterback Geno Smith and speedy wide receiver Tavon Austin graduating. In case you weren't paying any attention to West Virginia football the last couple of years, this is the majority of the offensive production gone in one year.
Two 100-reception receivers and one of the top quarterbacks in the country will have to be replaced during the offseason.
So how does this move impact West Virginia and an offense that averaged more than 40 points per contest this season?
It is a crushing blow, but not one that is all that surprising. Bailey is an impact receiver that could help contribute at the next level as early as next season. He has already made his mark for the Mountaineers and wasn't going to remain on a team losing most of its star power.
While this may look bad right now, we all must remember who the head coach of West Virginia is. The man calling the shots, Dana Holgorsen, is an offensive genius who has had success everywhere he has ended up. His offenses at Texas Tech, Houston, Oklahoma State and now in Morgantown have always lit the scoreboard up and broken records along the way.
Will West Virginia ever repeat the explosive offense we witnessed this year?
With his up-tempo "Air Raid" offense, West Virginia should always have success on the offensive side of the ball. When you spread the defense out, put speedy players in space and combine multiple looks in one play, you have an offense that should always succeed.
Much how Nick Saban at Alabama is able to put together a top defense no matter what, schemes and philosophy are the same reasons West Virginia should be exciting offensively.
Keep in mind, West Virginia is now playing in the Big 12—the same conference where six of the 10 defenses have allowed more than 400 total yards a game this season.
As for the players on the field, the Mountaineers will still have a solid running game with Andrew Buie and Dustin Garrison leading the way. Quarterback-wise, Paul Millard hasn't played much in his first two years but has shown to be accurate with the football and somebody who could lead this team with Smith not around.
Needless to say, there is a lot of unproven talent on this West Virginia offense, and things are going to look different than they did the last couple of years. However, having an offensive-minded coach allows for somewhat of an easy transition.
There will be growing pains that come with any young team, but with Holgorsen's track record speaking for itself, it is hard to imagine this offense becoming inept due to a few players moving on with their lives.