It's Springtime and Football Returns to West Virginia
This is spring, when a young man’s fancy turns to...
And no, it isn’t love.
Now that the West Virginia Mountaineers have ended their spectacular Final Four run for an NCAA basketball title, young men, old men, and even some ladies turn their attention to spring football practice.
Throughout the college world, hungry freshmen recruits and returning lettermen are donning helmets, shorts, and shoulder pads to hit the gridiron.
At this time of the year, every team has positions to fill and questions that must be answered.
West Virginia football is no different.
Following the graduation of senior quarterback Jarrett Brown the Mountaineers’ Geno Smith is the heir-apparent to succeed him.
However, Smith’s second foot injury in two years will hinder him in spring practice. Moreover, the starter’s broken foot might be just the break that Pat White’s younger brother, Coley, needs.
It is extremely difficult for any player in Division I football to make the starting roster if he doesn’t get some experience in spring drills.
With Smith somewhat hobbled by his injury, Coley White should be getting plenty of reps under center. I have no doubt that White will try to take full advantage of the situation to earn the top spot on the depth chart for the season opener.
Although Smith got the nod last year to replace Brown, White has been in the program longer than Smith. Geno will have to stay healthy and have a great fall to maintain his status as a starter.
Another question mark for the Mountaineers will be their kickoff coverage.
It appears that Coach Stewart has surrendered the responsibilities for this chronic problem area to other members of the coaching staff. It should be interesting to see if this Mountaineer Achilles' heel will eventually become one of our strengths.
I was greatly disappointed by the decision of Mark Rodgers to transfer to another program. No doubt his decision was influenced by the announcement that Noel Devine and Jock Sanders would return for their senior year.
In my mind, Rodgers was definitely a playmaker, someone you want to have on your offense. In addition, I don’t think any NCAA football team can afford to lose too many players of Rodgers’ skill and talent level.
I certainly wish the kid well, wherever he chooses to go.
The next two seasons for Coach Bill Stewart should either make or break his future with the football program. I think Stewart has done a more than adequate job as head coach. However, the man is certainly not without his critics.
Nothing short of a Big East Championship and a BCS berth would silence many of the doubters.
One bad call, a phantom touchdown, clearly cost us the league title last year to Cincinnati. However, some significant improvements on our kickoff coverage might be all it takes to return the crown to Morgantown.
In the next week, the cream should start rising to the top in spring drills. Questions will be answered and depth charts will become less murky.
It’s a long way to the season opener; but the fall campaign starts in the spring.
This is definitely the time of the year when a young man’s fancy turns to the gridiron.
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