Well the summer breaks are over and while many are reluctant to return to school we as football fans are excited. We know that the sport known as "America's Game" is about to start. And the college version of the sport is the purest form of the sport. I am ready for the view points and also for the debates. Here we go!
The Defensive line. This years Team boasts some pretty impressive athletes on the defenseive line, many say it could be the best defense since 1988 when WVU played for the national title against Lou Holtz Notre Dame Fighting Irish. WVU has a 5* DE in Bruce Irvin. He is a JUCO transfer. He boasts 4.5 speed in a 6'6 frame. He needs to continue to bulk up, but there does not apear to be a downside to this highly touted recruit. With a great group of players returning to the defensive line such as Scooter Berry,Chris Neild, and Juillian Miller WVU can expect plenty of pressure on opposing QBs.
The Secondary. The secondary will also be a great group of players. with 4 of our starting 5 DBs back this group is complete. With the addition of Ishmael Banks a highly touted CB out of Hargrave military academy in VA. The Player to watch in my mind is 6'5 Jr FS Robert sands who led the team with 5 interceptions last year. Sydney Glover and Brandon Hogan will be the leaders of this DB core and both are very consistant performers and have made big plays in the past for the Mountaineers.
The Offensive line. The Offensive line has been the key weakness in my mind for WVU the past 2 years. Even though it seems like each year they are expected to be great they have fallen short of the high expectations. This year they are extrememly experienced and have been playing together now their whole careers. This could be a great O-line, or it could be the thing that costs the Mountaineers a big game. Like I said they have planty of experience 4 of the 5 starters are returning from last years starting O-line. The season will show if this line can hold itself together.
The Offensive playmakers. The Offense is filled with potential stars and a few that have already achieved that status. Senior RB noel devine leads this team to what could be the best all around offense in WVU history. Noel Devine led the tam with just under 1500 rushing yards last season. He also led the team in TDs scored on offense with 14. Devine is in a possition that if he has a breakout year he could break Avon Coubourne's schoo rushing record. The record is 5,164 yds and stands as the 10th most all time for the NCAA Division 1/BCS. 1,654 yds is what is required of Noel Devine to achieve this goal only less than 150 more than he had the previous year. I believe Noel Devine will achieve this goal and possibly end up with 1800+ yards. If Noel devine ends up with 1800 yds rushing and scores 15 or more touchdowns i believe he will be invited to NYC for the Heisman trophy cerimony.
Jock sander is the other leader on this offense. He is a converted RB playing WR. He is mainly screen ball catcher and does most of his work after the catch. He is capable of catching the long ball and is a very good route runner. I would compare him to the Carolina Panthers Steve Smith. Geno Smith is running th QB spot for WVU and he is expectedd to do great things. We do not know if the great things he is expected to do he does this year. He played some pretty significant minutes for WVU in multiple games last season. His maturity as a QB will be tested early week 4 at LSU. If the O-line has a good year I expect him to be a consistant low risk high reward QB for the Mountaineers.
If geno does not perform well we may see Collie White. The younger brother of WVU great Pat White. He has shown the same big play ability as his older brother. And in a big game there is less pressure on a QB that can run and throw compared to one who can only throw. We may see him in some variation of a wildcat formation, even if its in the shotgun he will mainly be a runner and option man for WVU.
My season predictions. I predict the Moutnaineers will win the Big East Championship this year. They have not finished lower than tied for 2nd since 2003. They are the most experienced team in the conference along with UCONN and they have the best athletes in the conference. With 3 key games all of them being away it is a strong possibilty they end up a 3 loss team. They do have the potential to finish their schedule undefeated however. I predict 11-1 realisticlly. However i will not be surprised to see a 12-0 team!