Sure, WVU lost its greatest player ever—all-time college football rushing leader and WVU's only four-time starting quarterback bowl-winner—in Pat White.
Big deal, who'll miss him? Don't let the door hit you in the butt on the way out, Pat.
I am just kidding. We kid because we love.
I think I will miss White more than the team. He's probably the best college football player I'll ever get a chance to see in person. Every down was a privilege to watch. And yes, I'll probably buy the NFL Sunday Ticket to watch White with the Dolphins.
WVU also lost its all-time leading scorer in kicker Pat McAfee. Equally bemoaned with his loss is the loss of the lovable video of SpongeBob displayed on the JumboTron while Mountaineers fans said, "Good one, Patrick!" after each made field goal and PAT.
So, WVU has lost its best player ever and greatest scorer ever. Why should I be optimistic?
A number of reasons, in no particular order:
White's replacement is fifth-year senior Jarrett Brown. By all accounts, Brown is, like White, a solid citizen and a diligent film-watcher. He's taller than White and has a stronger arm, and he is only slightly slower.
Noel Devine is back, and as the coaching staff says, he finally knows how to play running back at WVU, which is very promising considering he gained more than 1,200 yards last year without knowing how to play running back.
The receiving corp is big, tall, fast, and deep: Alric Arnett, Wes Lyons, Bradley Starks, Jock Sanders (back on the team) and freshman Logan Heastie (pronounced "hasty.")
The defense returns most starters from last year, including Chris Neild, Scooter Berry, Pat Lazear, J.T. Thomas, Robert Sands, and Brandon Hogan.
The coaching staff has had a full season to gel.
The recruiting class has been top-drawer, including running back Tavon Austin and quarterback Eugene Smith.
WVU is not laboring under high expectations for the first of many seasons. It has been picked to finish as low as fifth in the Big East and makes almost no preseason Top 25 rankings.
These are my reasons. Did I miss any?
To help get you ready for the season (starting next Friday), I'll begin a weekly analysis of each of the 2009 team's units.
I'll start with the unit that has the most question marks—the offensive line.