While counting down the days to kick off against Marshall I can't help but look at all the things happening with the football program and the university in general.
For the first time since Rich Rodriguez bolted for Michigan, players seem generally happy with the coaching situation and eager to learn the new offense and put up points. Tavon Austin recently said that under the old system he was playing more than one position, and now that he has just one position to play, it makes things much easier not only for him, but for everybody else around him as well.
West Virginia's new offense is very easy to learn from my understanding, but if done right is very effective at putting up huge numbers all around. With Geno Smith back for the Mountaineers I expect some great things to take place. After all, he did land himself No. 2 on the all time passing yards in a season list at WVU last year; and he did it an offense which struggled at times and really made no sense to anybody watching at home.
Then you have athletic director Oliver Luck who has made some major decisions since arriving in Morgantown—be it coaching changes, or lobbying for alcohol sales inside Mountaineer Field. Oliver knows this is a business and that it requires money to make things happen. I'll be the first to admit that I'm not entirely excited about playing James Madison at FedEx field in 2012, but it will generate money for the university, and will give WVU more exposure to other areas.
It's no secret there's a possibility of conference expansions is in the near future, and Oliver wants to make sure West Virginia has its name out there for those talks. When the time comes, WVU does not want to be left behind, because it's likely that the Big East could lose the BCS bid should it occure. Having Oliver calling the shots is a good thing. He's well respected by many and could easily help the team when that time comes; be it going into the ACC and playing Virginia Tech and Miami yearly, or maybe even the SEC.
The changes around Morgantown I believe will create a lot of positive energy and will ultimately help the university and town grow. It's been rumored that country music star Brad Paisley is currently in talks to host a concert at Mountaineer Field later this year, with some friends of his possibly joining in as well. Again, this will generate money for the local economy and hopefully make the university and city more attractive to future concerts and events.
I have not been this excited for a football season in years, even with all of the changes. West Virginia Football is looking pretty good at the moment and we should have some great times ahead.