Noel Devine is gone, and for the first time in quite a few years, WVU will be without a proven starter at tailback.
When you add in new offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen and his system designed for big plays through the air, you have one big, fat question mark hanging over the Mountaineers' running game.
Mountaineer fans may have to prepare themselves for a new type of WVU team. Over the past decade or so, the ground game has been the team's weapon of choice. With talented backs and a proven system, WVU won many a game by riding its prolific run offense.
All that is about to change—especially since WVU doesn't have a true weapon at tailback.
WVU's 2011 run game will be divided into two parts, creatively called A and B. A-backs are responsible for carrying the football. B-backs are responsible for blocking but don't get many carries. While that's a decent system to have, the Mountaineers do not have a single returning starter for either role.
Trey Johnson, a sophomore, is the leading candidate—thus far—for the top A-back position, but junior Shawne Alston is hot on his heels, so to speak.
The B-backs are comprised of a pair of 240-pound behemoths, linebackers really disguised as running backs. Don't count on Ryan Clarke and Matt Lindemood to get many carries, but when they're on the field, expect to see some poor unsuspecting corner get knocked flat.