Last season was not a horrible season for the Mountaineers running game. However, I would like to see how it would have turned out if Devine would not have had hurt his foot during the LSU game last season. The fact of the matter is that he did, and he never really fully recovered throughout the rest of the season.
Noel had 209 carries for 936 yards, with an average of 4.5 yards per carry. This is not typical Noel Devine, and you could tell throughout the season that there was something not quite right with Devine. You can even look at his highlight videos from other seasons and compare to highlights from 2010 and see that there was something wrong. To be honest with you, I could not even find a video that covered only Devine in 2010 past game three last year. However, he did get those carries and to be honest with you, he did not do half bad even being hurt—that shows you the kind of athlete he is.
Imagine if some of those 209 rushes had gone to someone like Tavon Austin.
Austin had only 15 carries last year, and he was able to gain 159 yards and average 10.6 yards per carry. You give Austin one quarter of the carries that Devine received last year, and we could have seen more yards, more touchdowns and maybe even one or two more wins.
Austin won't be that guy this year. He is a receiver and in Holgorsen's offense a receiver is a receiver, not a running back. So it will be up to Trey Johnson, Shawne Alston, Andrew Buie, Ryan Clark and Matt Lindamood to carry the torch for the West Virginia running game. All of which are talented athletes, and any one of them could end up being the next great WVU running back. The good thing about this new offense is its depth at running back. If one goes down there are plenty of talented backups to step in and run it.
By the way, could you imagine a healthy Devine in Holgorsen's offense? The defense would not know what to do, cover Devine or cover the receivers? I for one will miss Devine, and hope he finds a home in the NFL.